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An Interior Architect’s Impressive Side Hustle - In Ceramics!

Studio Visit

Alana Crosby seems to have an endless supply of creativity. The interior architect works for award-winning interior design firm YSG, dabbles in painting, and has recently launched a collection of hand-built ceramic lamps.

She spends over 30 hours hand-building each of these individual pieces, which measure up to 50cm in height, from her home studio in North Bondi.

Yet, surrounded by neighbouring tree-tops, and with the sun streaming in, Alana couldn’t be happier to sit and create her time-consuming pieces.

5th July, 2022

Alana Crosby’s home studio in North Bondi is flooded with sun! Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files. Styling – Tess Thyregod

Cleo lamp (dark), Cleo lamp (white) and Ledge lamp. Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files. Styling – Tess Thyregod

Alana in her home studio. Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files. Styling – Tess Thyregod

It takes Alana over 30 hours to hand-build each piece. Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files. Styling – Tess Thyregod

Alana works on designs. Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files. Styling – Tess Thyregod

The artist draws her inspiration from Valentine Schlegel, JB Blunk, Isamu Noguchi, Cy Twombly’s sculptures and Andrea Branzi – to name a few! Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files. Styling – Tess Thyregod

Alana’s first collection of lamps was inspired by her own need for one in her home. Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files. Styling – Tess Thyregod

Her lamps are softly structured, in a variety of neutral, earthy tones. Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files. Styling – Tess Thyregod

Alana builds her lamps through coiling and slab techniques. Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files. Styling – Tess Thyregod

Collection 01 is live now! Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files. Styling – Tess Thyregod

Bea Taylor
Tuesday 5th July 2022

‘I want my work to embody how it feels to make each form – playful imperfection,’ – Alana Crosby.

By day, Alana Crosby is an interior architect for award-winning interior design firm YSG. But by night – and on weekends – she’s creating her own line of ceramic lamps and candlestick holders under her eponymous label. 

‘I have found it quite easy to balance my work with my ceramics,’ she says. ‘In many ways they complement each other creatively. [My work] has definitely influenced me to explore more experimental and eclectic forms within my ceramics, as well as injecting colour – something I plan to implement more into my future work!’

At the moment Alana’s ceramics bask in an array of neutral, earthy colours, which enhance their wonderfully organic, hand-built forms. Each piece takes the artist a painstaking ‘30 plus hours of labour’ to build with a mixture of coil and slab techniques. But working from her sunny North Bondi home studio makes this time-consuming task a pleasure – even when the end result fails in the kiln, or comes out completely different to what was intended. 

It’s not something that gets Alana down though; ‘regardless of how meticulously you’ve calculated everything, it’s all part of the excitement and fun of the practice’, she explains. ‘I want my work to embody how it feels to make each form – playful imperfection.’ 

Collection 01 was born out of a need for a lamp for Alana’s own home, and having ‘a lot more time’ on her hands thanks to various lockdowns. She slowly progressed from pots and large vases to testing out lamp forms, even initially wiring the first group of test lamps herself. 

This hands-on approach means most of the time Alana’s ‘mess’ spreads past her home studio and into the rest of the apartment. ‘Much to my partner, Leif’s dismay’, she says. 

Though she discovered the potential of her work with clay in a time of isolation, what Alana loves most about the craft is its sociability. ‘Being taught certain techniques by my closest friends and family, and learning from each other’s styles and methods has greatly influenced my style and expression with ceramics.’ 

The prolific creative has also been very grateful for the support of her work colleagues and employer; ‘I feel so lucky to be in such an inspiring and supportive industry and workplace at YSG, where creativity is so encouraged,’ Alana explains. ‘I have even been lucky enough to work on ceramic commissions for some of our upcoming projects’.

Watch this space!

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The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net