Syann was born in South Africa, and originally trained as a ceramic designer. The shift from architectural mural works to jewellery came when she moved to the Netherlands in 1971, and her first UK studio was set up in 1979. Syann is an established maker, who has exhibited widely and is currently a visiting lecturer on the BA Jewellery course at Central St. Martin’s, London. She also mentors students from Edinburgh School of Art, Central St. Martin’s and the Bournemouth Institute.

‘My early years were passed in Africa with unmistakable rhythms, textures and hues. I breathed it in deeply winding it freely into my northern birth right. Together these cultures gave me a palette of totems from which to create a comforting philosophy in the solidity and validity of abstract creation. My work draws freely from my environment without being representational. It is the possibilities inherent in the material and the making process that interests me and I like this to be discernible. I consciously keep the methods simple in order to leave room for elements of my subconscious, and the response of the viewer, to take hold. This together with a need to make a piece that sits on and moves comfortably with the body is what I seek to do.’