Mary Ann Simmons MA (RCA) uses the box form in simple and complex shapes to design and create a range of silver work. Inspired by the making process itself, her craft has evolved from cubes to an exploration of both symmetric and asymmetric, multifaceted forms. The personal is often featured by the addition of handwriting or patterns linked to her client. “Creating individual commemorative pieces is one of my main objectives, and photo etching helps capture and preserve the character of an image which I apply to the interior and exterior of a commissioned piece.”
Since graduating from the Royal College of Art, box-making has continued to be the launch pad for much of the work Mary Ann creates. In the same way another silversmith might specialise in hammer techniques to form their work, Mary Ann’s focus is creating a three dimensional object from a flat sheet of silver using a scoring tool. She enjoys exploring with perspective, the challenge of building complex polygons, and the technical challenges presented by this approach.
Having spent years concentrating on this exacting practice, she has fed those skills throughout the variety of silverware she produces. Her most recent work is focused on the 'many sided' object. She is using scoring and folding to produce faceted objects that stretch her box making skills.
Along with the formality and precision of the making process the personal has often influenced her ideas. She enjoys working to commission and has made pieces for the actor Kevin Bacon, the King of Greece as well as many private commissions. Her work is held in a number of collections both public and private. A number of Mary Ann’s pieces have been collected for The Goldsmiths’ Company’s ‘Modern Plate Collection’.
At present Mary Ann is working in a studio in Wales fulfilling commissions and designing new work for upcoming exhibitions. She undertakes photo etching for other designers which include complex artwork and applying images to both flat sheet and 3D objects. Mary Ann sits as Treasurer of Contemporary British Silversmiths. She is a 'Liveryman' of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, a 'Brother 'of the Artworkers' Guild and a member of the Past Overseers Society.
Mary Ann Simmons began a career in metal work in Canada studying jewellery design and making at George Brown College, Canada. On graduating she was awarded an Honourable Mention at the Metal Arts Guild annual student show. After working with a gold casting company and a small, private jewellery firm, she joined a team of designers at Burkhardt Jewellers (worldwide suppliers to the retail industry) who were augmenting their traditional collections with contemporary jewellery. Mary Ann’s suite of silver and gold jewellery became a top seller and a tricolour gold bracelet was featured on the cover of Canadian Jeweller magazine.
Work in the film and television industry offered experience in designing and making jewellery for the costume department. After a move to London, England she continued producing private commissions while undertaking study at the London Guildhall University gaining a BA (1st Class Hons). She won awards from both the Jerwood Foundation and the Goldsmith’s Company. An initial interest in jewellery was, by now, eclipsed by an introduction to silversmithing and work was scaled up to include tableware and boxes. An active year followed which included participation in various exhibitions until she gained a place at the Royal College of Art and completed her Masters in 2000. Her show entitled Inside Out featured boxes made in etched germanium silver. Since then she has participated in themed exhibitions in the UK and abroad, selling exhibitions including Goldsmiths Fair and the Chelsea Crafts Fair among many others.
Mary Ann’s commissions have included work for the actor Kevin Bacon and the King of Greece as well work for private commission. Her work is represented in the Goldsmiths’ Company collection, the British Museum’s Coins and Medals collection and the Past Overseers Society of St Margaret and St John the Evangelist Westminster, and St John’s College Cambridge, Sir Joseph Larmor's Plate.
Where to Buy
Work is not available for sale through the SNAG website. Please contact the artist directly to inquire about making a purchase.