Sally-Ann Provan is an Edinburgh-based maker who creates modern pieces with subtle vintage echoes.
Sally-Ann has been interested in making since she was a child. “My Gran taught me how to sew, and do tapestry and embroidery at a very young age. Ours was a house where you made what you needed and anything became a material to work with – an ingredient to experiment with. My father is one of a long line of joiners and cabinet makers, and my Gran was a confectioner so the urge to make is in the blood. It wasn’t until I was in fifth year at high school that it finally occurred to me that I could actually use my skills to go to art school and study and maybe be a maker myself.”
She went on to study jewellery at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, and after gaining her honours degree undertook couture millinery training in London with the Rose Cory milliner to the Queen Mother, Jane Smith, and the late Mitzi Lorenz. Further training included working with The Royal Opera House in London, and Angels The Costumiers, on the Robert De Niro film “The Good Shepherd.
Sally-Ann designs and makes her own hat blocks, giving her complete freedom of form. “I strive to create pieces which are well considered, well proportioned and elegant without overwhelming the wearer. I use sculpted forms and contrast this with intricate and witty details. Meshing together jewellery and millinery techniques brings another dimension to my work, as well as enabling me to use my skills working with a wide range of materials.”
“My inspiration comes from diverse sources – from the exquisite hand-made cakes displayed in the windows of patisseries in Europe, to the tranquillity and beauty of Japanese gardens, and the fashions of the 1970s that I myself love to wear.”
Sally-Ann has worked from clients across a variety of fields – from brides to Ascot attendees, theatre companies to television producers. Her work has been seen on BBC’s ‘Gormenghast’, on the stage during ‘La Traviata’, and recently during London Fashion week in February 2010, where she showed a new collection at her first solo catwalk show. She has also collaborated with designer Sara Shimasue to bring a new collection to London Fashion Week this September, which she will follow with an exhibition in Nottingham and a brand new collection.
“2010 has been one of my busiest years – I had my first show at London Fashion Week, I was selected as one of 9 milliners from across the U.K. to exhibit at ‘Head Over Heels’ at New Brewery Arts in Cirencester this Spring and in June I showed at The Contemporary Craft Fair in Bovey Tracey.”
As well as running her millinery business, Sally-Ann teaches part-time as the Millinery and Accessories Tutor at Edinburgh College of Art, and delivers craft and design based projects to schools and communities across Scotland.