Monday, July 6, 2009

Olympic Flame Ceremony and Melissinos Art Sandals

The olympic priestesses, Eleni and Theodora, thank Pantelis for the sandals they wear at the Olympic flame Ceremony, at Ancient Olympia.

Celebrities & friends at Melissinos Art

Pantelis and Lily Tomlin at Melissinos Art

Pantelis and Bob Saget. I took Bob Saget for a doctor, visiting Athens for a congress and so when I asked him if he was one, he replied: “Yes I’m a Doctor indeed”. A Greek fun of his though, popped in and exposed him as the famous Bob Saget. So he confessed to his true identity and posed with us for some photos (So, if you are a celebrity, please let me know; I shouldn’t be the last to know).

Ellie and Brenda The US Air girls, who visit me each time they are in Athens. They are very funny and as for Ellie...she's literally orbiting the Earth, she's "Ever on The Go". You can find her on the four corners of the earth!!!

Love Notes

"your shoes are gonna walk on Texas..." George - Paulina

"...your sandals rock..."

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Sandal Samples

Sandals made by me for special people


By Marina Douni/ Ginaika Magazine
Issue 3 - Athens August 2008

Pantelis Melissinos, when combining art with functional daily life objects, operates more or less as an alchemist, and that is what makes his handcrafted sandals unique.

When you visit the store of Pantelis Melissinos, at Aghias Theklas St., in the Psirri area of Athens, you will seat and try sandals in a former coffee-shop chair that has been transformed into an art piece, by the artist. In the mean time, he will either be crafting a new pair of sandals, at his bench –all the sandals go through his hands- or he will be taking the exact measurements of a customer’s feet for a special order.

While studying Art, at Parsons School of Design, in New York, he also wrote theatrical plays, which he put on stage with his fellow students. Upon his return to Greece he started participating in art shows. He has also written the text and music of his comedy ‘Bacchus’, which he staged, using sets and costumes also designed by him. “The play takes a bite at the vile nerds of this life” he says. He path though led him to this trade, in 2004. “It all started in 1920, when my grandfather Gheorghios Melissinos, set up store, on Pandrossou St, selling top-quality shoes and hiking boots for men, which were also purchased by the royal family of Greece. In 1954 my father took over, and a stroke of luck, in the early 60s changed everything. An English lady choreographer order sandals for a performance” .

Stavros Melissinos put on display some of the extra pairs of sandals he had made. That was it. In the midst of Pandrossou St. with all those colorful village rugs, knittings and the Greek traditional red, up-curved shoes with the black pompon, called ‘tsarouchia’ the touristss would stumble upon those ancient looking sandals. It was the footloose era of the easygoing, hippy revolution. The Beatles, Jackie Onassis and numerous other celebrities walked through the doors of the little shop. Today, find the store mentioned as a ‘must visit, while in Athens’ in all the tourist guide books, even the one published by the chic ‘Louis Vuitton’ travel guide to Athens. Pantelis’ father was named ‘The Poet Sandalmaker’, because he used to hand out his poems along with the sandals.
Today Pantelis’ comedy ‘Bacchus’ is available at the store and a group of Pace University students asked him if they could stage it in New York. He and his assistants keep handcrafting sandals out of calf leather, using traditional glue and nails instead of high pressure gluing. “The only difference is that today we add an anti-slippery rubber sole” he comments. Some of the sandals though bear his hand painted motifs and on the sole you might find the phrase: “Steps of Love", a concise travel tip as he says.


Princess Semele, a totally dumb bombshell from Thebes, hooks up with Zeus, gets pregnant and turns the entire Universe upside-down. Hera, the jealous wife of Zeus, takes the whole thing as an insult to her own femininity, turns to the bottle (of ambrosia) to ease her pain and vows revenge. The furious goddess finally “helps” her mortal rival take a “one-way trip” to Hades and thus Semele gets out of the picture for good. But there is also Bacchus -the illegitimate son of Zeus and Semele. Hera, in her attempt to get rid of the baby as well -and despite her feelings for second-class deities- swallows her pride and teams up with Eris -her obese daughter in law. Eris -the hairy goddess of Discord, who’s got a piggish attitude and a Trojan war to her credit - goes out of her way to please Hera but has to compete with the crafty Hermes who’s been sent by Zeus to straighten things out. The two goddesses count on Pentheus (Bacchus’ cousin and king of Thebes) for a satisfactory conclusion of their dirty plans. Pentheus -who acts like a TV evangelist with a touch of an American sheriff from the South- tries to kill the son of Zeus. The whole story is witnessed by three spinsters - three washed up actresses- that Zeus has asked to do their bit by serving as chorus women. The three women do more than their bit and by acting like “MORTALS EX MACHINA” manage to reunite Zeus and Hera; Bacchus rewards the chorus women with the “well-endowed-three-legged” Ion and his two identical brothers, while pentheus learns that there is more to life than greed, false promises, wars, and human pride.

The book is available at Melissinos Art: 2 Aghias Theklas St., Athens, Gr

A new collection of poems by Pantelis Melissinos

Sibylla is a collection of poems (based on Delphic aphorisms ) that could have been the (off the record) thoughts of a Delphic Sibyl; a Sibyl on her day off and in the company of fellow villagers -on Mount Parnassus – away from her official tripod seat amongst the Delphic Sages.

" Wisdom's the tears of daily human pain
That day by day fall likes drops of rain,
Filling up like little by little our celebral pots,
Till we, one day, get knowledge of all sorts"

Illustrated poetry by Pantelis Melissinos. Athens 2009