Pot­tery barn

Ce­ram­i­cist Alana Wil­son cre­ates per­fectly im­per­fect pieces in her Syd­ney stu­dio.

Belle - - Luxe Files R I Ght Now - Pho­to­graphs NI­CHOLAS WATT

WINTERIORS STYLE? HAS THIS EVOLVED OVER TIME? I feel I have de­vel­oped an in­trin­sic sense of bal­ance and ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the clar­ity of empti­ness, not just in in­te­ri­ors. Thoughts and form dwell in empti­ness so I find a rel­a­tively stream­lined en­vi­ron­ment is con­ducive to work­ing and liv­ing. I’ve also learnt not to be­come at­tached to cer­tain ideas, phys­i­cal ob­jects, and ways of per­ceiv­ing. Es­pe­cially for en­vi­ron­ments that you live and work in ev­ery day, I feel it’s im­por­tant to still have the open-mind­ed­ness and po­ten­tial for evo­lu­tion and change. WHAT INI­TIALLY AP­PEALED TO YOU ABOUT THE SITE OF YOUR STU­DIO? DID IT RE­QUIRE SIG­NIF­I­CANT ALTERATION? Be­ing near the wa­ter and the vast nat­u­ral space is what drew me to set up my stu­dio in Ta­ma­rama. I live nearby too, so it’s a nice bal­ance of be­ing close to the city and close to my pro­fes­sional net­work. My stu­dio is a large garage space, slightly sloped to al­low for run-off, so ev­ery­thing needed lev­el­ling – shelves, work­ing sur­faces, and the kiln. WHAT WERE SOME OF THE RE­QUIRE­MENTS FOR YOUR STU­DIO AND HOW WERE THESE RE­FLECTED IN THE DE­SIGN BRIEF? Pri­mar­ily it had to be func­tional and al­low for a seam­less work flow through­out the en­tire ce­ram­ics process. The space is long and nar­row which helped es­tab­lish a sys­tem­atic ap­proach to the lay­out. One end al­lows more messy work – glaz­ing, fir­ing, pack­ag­ing. In the cen­tre is where I make most works, as well as a cleaner space for ob­serv­ing and re­search. At the back of the stu­dio are shelves of fin­ished work, with plinths and sur­faces through­out so works can be ob­served in dif­fer­ent light and from dif­fer­ent an­gles. HOW WOULD YOU DE­SCRIBE THE COM­PLETED IN­TE­RIOR? Func­tional, white­washed and sandy. The walls are old white­washed sand­stone

and over time they de­te­ri­o­rate – ev­i­dence of time pass­ing and their nat­u­ral char­ac­ter. WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITE DE­SIGN EL­E­MENTS? I love the old sand­stone walls. The house is one of the old­est on the street, built in 1930, with min­i­mal changes since then. Not specif­i­cally a de­sign el­e­ment, but I love the out­look and be­ing able to watch the wa­ter and hori­zon from the stu­dio, look­ing out over South Ta­ma­rama and South Bronte cliffs. I can see the whales and dol­phins go by, and ob­serve the light change through­out the day and the land­scape change through the sea­sons. WHAT IS THE PHI­LOS­O­PHY BE­HIND THE WORK THAT YOU DO AND HOW IS THIS RE­FLECTED IN THE DE­SIGN OF YOUR SPACE? My work seeks to ex­plore and em­brace de­cay, de­struc­tion and tex­ture with ref­er­ence to an­cient util­i­tar­ian forms and ar­chae­o­log­i­cal arte­facts. The ves­sels pre­dom­i­nantly de­pict an unas­sum­ing beauty amidst their func­tion­al­ity, which con­no­tates a con­nec­tion to hu­man life and the hu­man body. I also em­brace these philoso­phies within my­self so it is no won­der they have re­mained ev­i­dent in the stu­dio en­vi­ron­ment – de­te­ri­o­rat­ing sand­stone walls, func­tional work flow through­out the space, and an aware­ness of the his­tory of the area, but also the per­pet­ual cy­cles of change. IS THERE A PAR­TIC­U­LAR DE­SIGN ERA OR STYLE THAT RES­ONATES WITH YOU? I am par­tic­u­larly drawn to and am con­sis­tently re­search­ing Min­i­mal­ist art. The works and writ­ings of James Tur­rell, Robert Ir­win, Don­ald Judd. I dis­cov­ered Judd’s work in art school and had a copy of his writ­ings, one of which I would read re­li­giously ev­ery even­ing. The at­ten­tion to ma­te­rial treat­ment, qual­ity of con­struc­tion and pri­mary em­pha­sis on the ex­pe­ri­en­tial process re­sound strongly with how I re­late to art­works my­self and how I be­lieve art­works should be ex­pe­ri­enced. Robert Ir­win’s Notes To­ward A Con­di­tional Art has been ex­tremely in­flu­en­tial in terms of analysing the per­cep­tual process within the viewer, pres­ence of form, and hu­man phys­i­cal­ity and con­di­tion­ing in re­la­tion to any ex­te­rior en­vi­ron­ment – art­work or oth­er­wise. WHICH AR­CHI­TECTS OR IN­TE­RIOR DE­SIGN­ERS DO YOU AD­MIRE? I greatly ad­mire the work of Katie Lock­hart, Ru­fus Knight and Ge­orge Livis­sia­nis. I also love the work of John Paw­son, and Frank Lloyd Wright’s con­crete block houses. I vis­ited the En­nis House in Los An­ge­les and was blown away by the mono­lithic na­ture of it. IS THERE AN ART OR DE­SIGN PIECE THAT YOU ARE COV­ET­ING FOR THE HOME OR STU­DIO? In re­spect of prac­tis­ing the art of nonat­tach­ment, I don’t covet art­works or de­sign pieces at all. How­ever, I do love liv­ing with pieces that friends or col­leagues have cre­ated. ‘T’ – an ex­hi­bi­tion of tea bowls by Romy Northover and Alana Wil­son, Novem­ber 2–De­cem­ber 31 at Float­ing Moun­tain Tea House, 239 W72nd St, New York. alanaw­il­son.com

Two ‘Ech­e­lon’ ves­sels by Alana Wil­son.

Clock­wise from left A ru­tile tea bowl with shino foot and sea salt in­te­rior, which will be ex­hib­ited as part of ‘T’ in New York. Alana Wil­son in her stu­dio. Work in progress. A cop­per, gold and shino tea bowl. HAT HAS IN­FORMED AND IN­SPIRED YOUR

Clock­wise from left II gold ves­sel. Alana Wil­son glazes one of her pieces. A visual di­ary doc­u­ments works for her up­com­ing ex­hi­bi­tion. The kiln, with works wait­ing to be glazed.

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