Q&A Bronwen Simpson


What is your practice? tell us how you became an artist maker, did you study? self taught? materials you use etc

Making hats is a relatively recent venture for me. I worked in textiles, wood and concrete for my degree in
Contemporary Crafts at MMU. At uni I became fascinated by museum display and how objects and collections are documented. This prompted over 10 years of museum and gallery work; curating exhibitions and public programming in Stockport. The history of this hatting town has inspired me to learn the art of millinery and restart my journey into making. I work in traditional millinery materials such as wool and straw, often using vintage hat blocks to create classic shapes. My aim is to bring the hat back into everyday wear and I believe there is a secret hat-wearer inside everyone just itching to get out!

What 5 words best describe your work?

Reminiscent, stylish, hand-blocked / trimmed, sculptural, mood-elevating


Do you have any art or design heroes?

A couple of years ago (before I started making hats) I had the pleasure of spending time with Sylvia Fletcher of Lock & Co (the oldest hat shop in the world). Sylvia has worked as a milliner for many years and became a head designer at a very young age. She developed the ladies department at Lock & Co and has a very distinguished client list. I admire her talent, determination, energy and general attitude to life!

Where is your studio?

Marketplace Studios, Stockport


What 10 words describe a typical day in your studio?
cleaning, blocking, trimming, planning, experimenting, photography, chatting to my studio mate and fellow milliner Emma Fozard, painting, blogging

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Are you working on anything unusual at the moment? Commissions? New work?
I am working on a very strange headpiece that wraps around the back of the head and overlaps at the front – inspired by turban shapes. I am working on the foundation at the moment and I am just about to start the draping process in silk.

Did you exhibit or visit last years SAT?

No – this is my first time at SAT, in fact this will be my first selling show so I am very excited!

What will you be selling at SAT16? Anything new?

I have started a new collection specially for SAT, its called Berries and Brambles and is inspired by hedgerows and foraging. Expect delicious shades of mulberry, raspberry, blackberry accented by ferny woodland greens.

What venue are you exhibiting at on the trail?

Masonic Hall, Tatton Road Venue A.

Tell us something we don’t know

I can spend hours looking at pictures of dogs especially jack russells on Instagram.



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