“I think the balance of creative aesthetic, technical knowledge and objectivity are what makes ceramics work for me,” says Alana Wilson. The Sydney-based ceramicist had an instant connection with the craft on her first day of ceramics at art school. “I knew this was exactly how I wanted to spend every day for the rest of my life - probably without realising it as a career just yet.” Since graduating from the National Art School with Honours in a Bachelor of Fine Art, Alana has exhibited regularly in both group and solo shows. She was also the recipient of the Australia Council Artstart Grant in 2014 as well as the winner of the Sabbia Gallery Exhibition Award in 2011. Alana was born in Canberra, raised in Wellington, New Zealand, and is currently based in Sydney. She is currently exhibiting at the National Art School Gallery as part of the Turn Turn Turn show until August 8.
Which five words best describe you? Calm, specific, purist, observant, ambitious.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? In life, everything accumulates. I was awarded the Sabbia Award in my graduate year and this allowed me to work towards my first solo show at Sabbia Gallery in Sydney. This opportunity encouraged me to produce work beyond an educational environment and subsequently started my independent studio practice.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Not to over-think things and to trust my instinct and initial responses. Everything in my career contributes to my life work, which will reach far beyond my ceramics and hopefully far beyond my lifetime. Also to slow down and absorb every experience, I struggle with this and probably don't enjoy each opportunity as much as I should - this is still a lesson in progress.
What’s your proudest career achievement? Setting up my own studio close to home in Tamarama has allowed me to do so many amazing things. Every single day something progresses and another opportunity presents itself. Putting in the hard work and seeing it grow and excel is by far the most rewarding.
What’s been your best decision? Trusting my instinct, never fails.
Who inspires you? All the divine people in my day-to-day life. My loved ones, family and friends. Simone Gooch's work [interview] is extremely beautiful and inspiring. I worked at Ellery for a short time and learnt so many amazing lessons there - Kym [interview] and her team are so hard-working and driven, that has stuck with me in the development of my own studio and business.
What are you passionate about? To me, human connection is by far the meaning of life and everything I do is an attempt to achieve that through different avenues.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? My ancestors as well as Lucie Rie.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? So many! More international exhibitions, producing publications as support material for my work, collaborating with other artists - the list grows every day.
What are you reading? Currently lots of Hans Ulrich Obrist conversations. Also, intermittently Immanuel Kant's Critique of Pure Reason, Sarah Thornton's 33 artists in 3 acts, and various James Turrell interviews.