Student Spotlight: Mary Ann Coffey

by Metalwerx on January 6, 2015

Like other Metalwerx students, Mary Ann Coffey has turned to Metalwerx to explore and develop her creative instincts, following that irresistible path that leads to making things. Mary Ann graduated from UMass Amherst, earned an MBA from Babson College, and settled in Colorado, where she started her own computer service business. There she took a class in a jeweler’s private studio in which she learned to make a hand-forged bracelet.  That was the beginning.

Mary Ann Coffey Rectangle Bracelet

Mary Ann returned to Boston to work in marketing for high-tech companies like Wang, Lotus, Ziff Davis, and PictureTel, which was one of the first commercial companies to offer video-conferencing services.  But eventually she found she needed some creative outlet.  She and her friend Kiki Kinney, also a Metalwerx student, discovered the DeCordova Museum’s now-defunct education program in metalsmithing, and found themselves one winter day driving through a New England blizzard from Marblehead to Lincoln to take a weekend workshop there with instructor David Baird, who now teaches at Metalwerx. She felt like she had finally given herself permission to do something for herself, which it seems is often the feeling when one gives in and at last follows those creative urges.

Mary Ann Coffey Keum Boo Earrings

Mary Ann has a small studio at home which, she says, “continues to grow as I ask for equipment and tools as gifts at Christmas and birthdays.”  Up to now, she has enjoyed making jewelry as gifts for family and friends, and for herself.

Mary Ann Coffey Necklace with Amethyst

Mary Ann describes herself as a technique junkie, seldom settling down yet to pursue one aspect of jewelry-making, but always taking courses in new, unexplored techniques, sometimes taking multiple workshops during the course of a weekly class. Last spring, she took a course with Kelly Conroy – Transforming Natural Into Precious – and this fall repeated Jewelry 2 to work with Kelly again and learn flush setting and enameling. She also took workshops in setting sea glass and beach pebbles, pearl knotting, and Adrienne Sloane’s Knitted Bracelets workshop. She volunteers that she appreciates Metalwerx for its supportive environment and student camaraderie, and that the teachers are enthusiastic and encouraging, and themselves seem to enjoy learning from their students.

Mary Ann Coffey Corrugated Bracelet

Mary Ann had taken time off work to raise twin boys, and is now exploring the possibility of working with reacHIRE, an organization which, as described on its website, “prepares exceptional women to return to work and then bridges their career gap with placement in a paid work assignment,” an endeavor she is richly qualified for. But she says she feels at a crossroads in her life.  She knows she would gain satisfaction from that valuable work, but would also like to sell her jewelry and possibly work in the jewelry industry somehow, and make this her life.  There is always that quandary of how — and is it even possible? — to make a living from our passions!

We look forward to seeing Mary Ann many times in our classroom studio in the coming year!

Mary Ann Coffey Silver Bead

By Julia Meyerson

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Kiki January 19, 2015 at 5:14 pm

Great interview Mare! So well deserved!

Kelly January 6, 2015 at 10:13 pm

Hooray Mary Ann! What a wonderful interview for an incredible artist and metalsmith!!

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