In conversation with ceramicist Alana Wilson


Alana Wilson’s work as a ceramicist explores aesthetics that have a raw, natural edge. She embraces light tones and deconstructed textures to create works that are as contemporary as they are timeless.

An interest in design eventuated in Wilson studying Fine Arts at Sydney’s National Art School where her love of ceramics began. She has worked hard to be able to do what she loves and everything is sculpted by hand in her Tamarama beach studio.

Welcome to the world of Alana Wilson and her perfectly, imperfect ceramics.

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This interview is based off The Proust Questionnaire, 1922. Its origins in a parlor game popularised (though not devised) by Marcel Proust, the French essayist and novelist, who believed that, in answering these questions, an individual reveals his or her true nature.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Family, water, peace, & good health.

What is your greatest fear?

Pain or suffering for my loved ones.

Where do you live?

Tamarama, Sydney, Australia.

What is your occupation?

Ceramicist & swimming teacher.

Which living person do you most admire?

I admire various people - mostly those that follow their dreams, stay true to what they believe in and connect with their community and people around them with integrity.

What is your greatest extravagance?

Time spent with family and loved ones.

What is your current state of mind?

Nostalgic & forward thinking, simultaneously.

What values do you live by?

I believe the human connection is the most important thing in life, so I try to contribute to my community and practice compassion & understanding as much as possible. Also to be true to yourself and what you believe in, whilst sharing this with others.

What are you most passionate about?

The future. And bringing ideas into reality.

What products make you happy?

I don't relate happiness to products, but I love books. And anything that can be shared and enjoyed with others.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

A lack of empathy, & dishonesty.

What is the quality you most like in a man?

Integrity and kindness.

What is the quality you most like in a woman?

Integrity and kindness.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

"Wow" & "nice".

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

Still yet to be discovered...

When and where were you happiest?

Hindsight is always in 20/20, so even in moments you may recognise as the happiest you may not have felt it at the time. I aim to have some thread of happiness in the consistent present - even in moments it may feel absent, we could not recognise happiness without experiencing the opposite.

Which talent would you most like to have?

I wish I could play the piano!

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I would lengthen my fuse on things that irritate or cause stress.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Being able to do what I love every day.

If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?

A person, in 500 years - to see where it all leads.

Where would you most like to live?

I love where I live now, I'm sure that will change in time.

What is your most treasured possession?

Family photo albums & videos.

Where is your favourite place to escape to?

The water, anywhere - pool, beach, ocean.

What is your most marked characteristic?

My family would probably say my belly laugh! when I laugh too hard.

What do you most value in your friends?

Humour and kindness.

What is your favourite book?

I have too many to pick just one! However I love reading Rumi's work and will often return to re-read his books

Which historical figure do you most identify with?

Barbara Hepworth.

Who are your heroes in real life?

My loved ones - living & passed - for the way in which they live their lives.

What do you do to stay balanced?

Swim often, spend time with others of all different ages, travel, and allow time and space for thoughts and ideas to grow in solitude.

What is your favourite memory?

There are so many, mainly the funny ones or ones that recall true character of the people I love.

What is your greatest regret?

Taking certain moments for granted that cannot be relived. But again, hindsight is in 20/20 and regrets can only exist in hindsight.

What is your favourite way to spend a Sunday?

I'm always teaching swimming on a Sunday, so my favourite version of this would be when the water is warm and the kids are happy.

What is your motto?

Nothing lasts forever.

Interview by Anna White