A Conversation With Master Jeweler Marne Ryan, the Queen of Texture

It has been my extreme honor and pleasure to be able to work with a number of fabulous artists and teachers. Yes, I have had my moments of intimidation, and meeting Marne for the first time was one of them,…but within minutes of Marne Ryan being in my home she was on the floor playing with my kitties. Totally unassuming and accessible, Marne is one of the most delightful, and fabulous artists I have ever met, and I am pleased that we have become very good friends….so here is Marne! You will love her and her jewelry as much as I do.

Playing with Fire in a Constructive Manner

“I grew up in Chester County, PA, with a mother who taught me how to sew from an early age, and a dad who, as a pilot, introduced me to the geographic beauty of the earth from the air. The combining of the fluidity of the fabric with the geographic formations had a great impact on me visually.” A chance burning of the family’s trash led to a discovery of working with fire, so “playing with fire in a constructive manner” became the foundation of her work.

Marne went on to study at Moore College of Art in Philadelphia, and wandered into a jewelry studio one day. “There, under the tutorage of Eleanor Moty, I was reintroduced into the joy of constructive fire. Moty taught me two things”, says Marne. “First, the artist must have a sense of joy for her work, and second, craftsmanship counts.” Those two pieces of advice have stayed with Marne during her entire career.

Try it, you might like it!

Marne’s unique jewelry look, which does indeed encompass the love of fabric and the magnificent look of molten earth forms, starts with thin metal which is rolled through the rolling mill, folded, milled again, and maybe again, which creates a depth of texture. By fusing silver and gold onto the sheet, she manipulates the metals into pleasing sheets. Her philosophy? “If it doesn’t hurt you, someone else or your tools, try it, you might like it!” If the final project doesn’t meet her very high standards, she will toss it in the scrap box and reuse it at a later date. There is very little scrap in her studio, as it all gets used. Combine the artfully sculpted forms with her favorite stone, the elegant boulder opal, or with work from some of the better known stone cutters, and throw in a few small diamonds…and you have the Marne Look.

Teaching to Learn

Though she has won numerous awards (Japanese International Pearl Competition and the Rolex Award for Innovation and Excellence in Metals, (to name just 2 of them) her heart lies in teaching. Like many of us teachers, Marne “teaches to learn”.   I have been lucky to take a class from her, and I learned much more than just technique, as she shares her fabulous philosophies and outlook life with her students. And when I purchased my Marne rings, the special blessing she gave with them will stay with me forever.

We are so blessed to have Marne as one of our Wubbers Instructors, and I encourage all of our readers to learn more about Marne and her work by taking a class whenever possible from this Master Teacher, or learn at home through her DVDs.

You will be enchanted…..just as I am. I highly encourage you to become acquainted with one if the most joyful and creative ladies in the industry.

Lexi Erickson, President of Wubbers University, is an internationally-known artist and teacher based in Denver, CO.

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One comment on “A Conversation With Master Jeweler Marne Ryan, the Queen of Texture
  1. Marne Ryan says:

    Dear Lexi -I’m blushing thank you for your kind and generous words. Marne

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