An Artisans Desire for Sewing and Sowing

An Artisans Desire for Sewing and Sowing

We’ve peeked into the home and studio of toy designer and plant parent Elena Iliyasova in Oxford, England. Born out of a family of artisans, brought up with crafts, Elena is infatuated with Berg’s handcrafted pots, which she collects in her creative home. Learn how she, in our high-paced world, is maintaining a handicraft business and how she uses garden chores to keep her entrepreneurial wheels spinning.


In a garden and home in Oxford, England, our divine Helena pot has moved in with toy designer and plant parent Elena Iliyasova. Born out of a family of true artisans, Elena is all about craftsmanship and loves to surround herself with things created by hand – and best of all, if they too tell a story.

Ever since she for the first time discovered Bergs Potter, she has been infatuated with the handcrafted pots, which now adorn both her sewing studio as well as her backyard.

‘Plants and clay pots were with us from ancient times, they are natural decorating elements.’
– Elena Iliyasova

Crafting by hand is a natural skill held by Elena’s entire family: Knitting, crocheting, sewing clothes, punch needling rugs and even furniture making were occupying the family. The love of crafting and making things by hand was exactly what gave life to the toy-adventure ‘Efi Litte Things‘, an endearing universe of rabbits, mice, fawns, and fruits all dreamed up and crafted by Elena.

Soft toy mushrooms and pears next to stacks of small Helena pots in Nordic Grey and Rosa terracotta. Photo: Efi Little Things.

It is clear that Elena is fuelled by a huge amount of passion, but how is it even possible to make time for all that handcrafted making, in a world where we’re expected to do more in less time and fast is only getting faster?

Essentially, living slow means allowing yourself the time to enjoy all the little things. TIME. Time is not endless but the slow living idea is for me using time more efficiently, prioritizing and scheduling in time for doing what you love.” Elena explains.

Elena’s home is bursting with creative ideas. Here she made a small Helena pot into an adorable pincushion. For more inspiration on Elena’s cute DIYs, explore her universe ‘Efi Little Things’. Photo: Efi Little Things.

To Elena it is always a question of sewing or sowing, but in her embroidery here, she beautifully unifies her two greatest passions: All types of needlework and her work with pots in her garden. Photo: Efi Little Things.



Elena has two favourite places at her home: Her sewing room and her garden. Sewing and sowing goes hand in hand through the daily life of Elena and the garden chores keeps her entrepreneurial wheels spinning. 

“Slowing down when we’re attempting to get something done isn’t always easy (many of us want to have everything now and burn ourselves with deadlines and targets) but slowing down will allow you to deepen the enjoyment you feel from that activity and reach even more. Same goes for the main job. I could sew for 15 hours a day as I love it so much. But for how long will my love to it last? So I have some garden time, walking in a park, having coffee in a garden scheduled in my daily routine. They are definitely things to do” says Elena.

When the sun shines, she goes out and plants the next green thing in her patio garden; when it rains she goes back to sewing. She loves the changing routines and how the weather determines her chores. 

Elena collects stacks of raw terracotta pots in her cabinet, working as a small potting shed. She has made the shed herself, from an old, used Ikea linen cabinet. Photo: Efi Little Things.

‘It’s in your hands to make the world a better place’
– Elena Iliyasova


Natural materials like cotton and clay are Elena’s favourites. She prefers to use pure fabrics like linen and wool for her playful fabrications of Mother Nature’s own creations. The love of creating things with her own hands has made her fascinated with how the raw clay can be moulded into useful home décor. 

She loves old things with a history and that Berg’s raw terracotta pots naturally patinate with age, gaining history over time, is just what Elena is potty about. Holding on to things that age with beauty is one of the reasons she loves Berg’s quality clay pots.

Discover the Helena collection here.


Some of the sweetest memories from Elena’s childhood are those from summertime at her grandmother’s house, where good old ‘stuff’ was carefully cherished and kept for years. To her, the stories told by the objects we surround ourselves with, add another dimension to the exterior.


A peaceful, potted paradise


Elena uses her garden to unwind and recharge. In her small allotment, she has created a biodiverse potted paradise of flowers that will attract bees. Caring for nature is a way of life for Elena and her Oxford Garden is filled with bee-friendly wildflowers in terracotta pots.

’Even though you do not have a garden or live in the countryside, you can still create a mini meadow on your balcony or even windowsill,’ Elena explains. One of her favourites is purple Phacelia, perfect for attracting bees and butterflies. Elena just loves to sit and watch the tiny busy creatures enjoying the flowers.

Elena’s purple Phacelia in full bloom. Photo: Efi Little Things.


Words: Bergs Potter – Photos: Efi Little Things


We are always curious and eager to learn how and what you grow in your corner of the world – and not at least how you are living with Bergs Potter.
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