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Creating her own passion

Creating her own passion

Jeaneen Parsons April 16, 2019

If we’re lucky, we discover our passions early in life. Maureen Hoffman Shankey ’69 did just that her senior year at UD when Brother Louis Weber, S.M., started a jewelry making course.

“Even though I couldn’t afford to take the class, Brother Weber let me come to the studio. My parents sent me jewelry to melt down to save money on supplies. They really sacrificed to send me to UD, and I will always be grateful,” Shankey said.

Shankey used her fine arts degree to teach at the elementary and junior high levels for 20 years, although only four teaching art. Her final 10 years as a full-time educator were spent teaching metalsmithing and jewelry-making at the college level.

Maureen Shankey“It was like getting paid to go to summer camp,” she said. “I would be grinning the whole way from the parking lot to the studio thinking, ‘They are paying me to do this!’”

These days the Florida resident concentrates on creating wearable art. She’s received numerous awards and regularly exhibits her work around the country.

“I only enter shows that are juried as I learn more surrounded by people who amaze and challenge me artistically,” she said. She markets her pieces through Gaskell and Shankey Design, a partnership with a fellow artist.

“Making art comes from an unconscious subliminal place,” Shankey said. “I collect mental images everywhere from the woods to the beach and the hardware store. So, if the design isn’t coming easily, I blank my mind and the muse comes. Being creative means solving problems in new ways.”

A passion for making jewelry wasn’t all Shankey found at UD.

“Besides my wonderful education, I also got a wonderful husband. I had a ring two weeks after our first date the second semester of freshman year. Vince ’69 and I were married in the UD chapel the July after graduation and will soon celebrate our 50th anniversary. I made his wedding ring in Brother Weber’s class.”