A moment with Alana Wilson


The Australian ceramicist first caught our interest after we stumbled across one of her unique metallic-speckled vessels in one of our favourite local haunts, Redfern’s Small Spaces. Fragile yet multi-layered, the vessels look as though they’ve just been excavated out of an ancient shipwreck. We visited Alana in her sandy studio on Sydney’s Tamarama beach and spoke about her journey thus far, the current projects occupying her time, and future plans she's looking forward to.

1. When did you know you wanted to pursue ceramics?
Not specifically [a moment], more an accumulation of certainty through my graduate studies that led me to know that ceramics was a medium I wanted to explore further.

2. Talk us through your journey?
I moved to Sydney from Wellington, New Zealand, initially to study Interior Design. I eventually dropped out of my Design degree and moved into Fine Arts. I studied at the National Art School which was a very hands-on approach to learning each medium. I loved ceramics and stuck with it. In my graduate year I was awarded the Sabbia Award which allowed me to have a solo show with the Sabbia Gallery and that truly pushed me to visualise work beyond an educational environment.

3. Can you recall a career 'pinch-me' moment?
I've had a few... I would say any involvement in projects that encompass an international audience and stretch beyond a specific medium - these have been the most enthralling to get involved with.

4. Where is the most extravagant place your job has taken you?
Everywhere - I don't seperate 'life' and 'work' as such, so I always have a sense of awareness in relation to my practice everywhere I travel to. I would say having the opportunity to travel anywhere necessary for work is a true extravagence - most recently I have exhibited in Los Angeles, London, and explored Paris and New York.

5. Name three artists who have your attention at the moment?
Thomas Houseago, Ricky Swallow, and I've also been reading Marcus Aurelius's 'Meditations' which has been quite clarifying in terms of theoretical and philosophical perspectives.

6. What's on your wish list right now?
More time spent with my family! We all live in different cities/countries so time spent together is rare.

7. Where is your favourite local spot to take meetings?
Tamarama Kiosk. Best beach on earth.

8. Where do you go when you're looking for inspiration?
Internally - more often than not I will look for conceptual drive as opposed to aesthetic or material inspiration.

9. What are you looking forward to?
I'll be exhibiting in New York and London in October, as well as planning photographic collaborative exhibitions in Paris and Sydney which I'm very much looking forward to.

10. Do you have any advice for ceramicists just starting out?
For anyone in any field, trust your instinct and try to do what makes you happy. Also, be persistent in representing what you believe in and never underestimate the importance of your loved ones.