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Raised on a tree farm in East Marlborough Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania, Marne Ryan credits her early life experiences with a profound influence on her later career. "My mother taught me to appreciate the elegance and drape of finely made fabrics, and her mother taught me sewing from three years of age. My father, a test pilot, flew us through the clouds and the land would flow below disclosing the earth's patterns and formations." At an early age, while burning the family refuse, Marne discovered the transforming nature of fire. "The sheer joy of working with fire has never left me. Utilizing flame in a constructive manner is the foundation of all my work." Armed with a BFA in Jewelry and Metalsmithing from Moore in 1976, Marne went immediately into the commercial jewelry world. She worked for Harvey Levinson in Philadelphia, and estimates that during her three years there she repaired and sized several thousand pieces of jewelry. More importantly, while rolling out scrap metal for the shop she chanced upon a technique, and the random textures created with it, that would later come to form a large part of her distinctive style. Other jewelers that Marne credits with contributing to her artistic development include: Jean Stark, Betty Helen Longhi, Charles Lewton-Brain, Heikki Seppa, Elliot Peugeot, Lisa Gralnick, and John Cogswell.