To have PISTI is to believe in something.
Coming from a religious background, 23 year old Georgia Xirocostas was always taught to have faith, not only when needed, but in everything she does.
“The Greek Orthodox religion and culture embeds us all to have faith from a young age and to believe with confidence during all stages in our lives,” says Georgia, speaking about the inspiration behind her business name.
“As I make handcrafted crosses, when thinking of a name for my business I decided to use the word ‘Pisti’ as it resembles what I have been taught.”
Currently studying a Bachelor of Education (birth to five years) at The Australian Catholic University, Georgia has also always been artistic and blessed with a good eye for detail.
This, combined with her natural creative flair, has resulted in the creation of some amazing, one-of-a-kind pieces.
Georgia’s Greek heritage is very much a part of her. Her mother’s side of the family is from a town just outside Epidaurus called Lygourio and also from a village in Tripoli called Kandila, whilst her father is half Cretan (Chania) and is also from Agrinio.
Her strong connection to her Greek roots often is often influential in Georgia’s designs and may also help to explain her choices when asked about her personal favourite pieces.
“My favourite piece has to be the ICXC NIKA in navy blue as it is so Greek. Also, the baby blue and pink tasselled design as it reminds me of summer on the Greek islands."
Georgia’s Pisti cultural gift store evolved naturally after making a gift for her mother, Vicky, as a personal and meaningful gesture on Mother’s Day.
“I made my first cross for my mum this year for Mother’s Day. Under the circumstances with COVID-19, everything was closed and deliveries from online stores were not guaranteed to arrive in time.
I looked around the house and thought that some handmade crosses will brighten our wall up and give a personal touch.”
After seeing Georgia’s handiwork, some of her friends asked her to make some crosses for their mothers also. In just 5 short months, Georgia has made over 150 handmade and custom designed pieces.
“My first couple of orders were bought for Mother’s Day. I am fortunate enough to have supporting friends that decided to buy them for their mums,” Georgia says, as she remembers some of the special occasions for which her customers have ordered gifts.
Customers buy the pieces from Pisti as gifts for newborns, christenings, birthdays, name days, housewarming gifts and for own personal home décor, as being made to order, Georgia’s custom designs can be tailored to suit a particular style or colour scheme as desired.
“Most of the pieces are used as wall décor either in bedrooms, lounge rooms or, if there is one, a religious corner in a house. I also have customers that like to lay them flat on their beside of entertainment units or even just leaning up against the wall.”
Being custom made to design, each gift is each work of art behind which lies a story, some deeply meaningful.
Georgia recalls one customer ordering a cross and matching heart of a family member that passed away.
“Making these two pieces left a place in my heart as I felt fortunate enough to be trusted to make gifts with such a deep and special meaning,” says Georgia.
Referring to her creations as ‘handcrafted perfect imperfection made with love’ some of Georgia’s creations can take up to three days to make.
Although she has been told her whole life that she has a good eye for detail and she is a perfectionist, during the early stages of Pisti it was only natural that self-taught Georgia was not initially confident about her clear talent.
“My partner sat me down and said “everyone starts somewhere, don’t be hard on yourself. You’ll see over time you’ll get better. You’re doing great”. His confidence in me has propelled me on to do bigger and better things,’ says Georgia.
“I like that all of my pieces are made to order and unique. I love that they all handmade because it means that even if I make the same style of cross no two will ever be exactly the same.”
Visit the @handcraftedbypisti Instagram page to see more beautiful Pisti creations or to place an order.
Read about more Greek artists on Greek City Times:
Greek artist to exhibit award-winning creations at iconic Bondi Beach's Sculpture by the Sea