Artfully Creating Her Next Chapter

By Katy Macek | Photography by Hillary Schave

Working in the same field for an entire career offers a sense of comfort and stability, and Sue Moberly had that. But, she decided after a long teaching career that it was time to forge her next path.

Moberly was an educator in the Madison Metropolitan School District for more than 30 years, starting as an elementary school art teacher before transitioning to Madison West High School, where she taught in several roles, most recently as a metal and glass art teacher.

In June 2022, Moberly retired, with the intention to become a small business owner and open her own glass and metal studio.

“I absolutely still loved my job [as a teacher] and I was having a blast, so giving that up and walking away to go start something new was a challenge,” she says. But, “putting myself out there and being vulnerable is so important for my personal growth.”

Her studio, Torn Edge Arts, opened last February on Monroe Street. It turns out, she’s still got a lot of room to grow.

Learning how to run a business, keeping accurate records, marketing it on social media and being her own boss have presented a whole new set of challenges, but she’s enjoying them so far.

“Not everyone gets to [love their job] and then move into a second career and love that also,” Moberly says. “I’m so grateful now to be stretching in a new way with my own studio.”

Aside from these trials, she’s also learned that building relationships is vital to her happiness.

She missed the connections she made with students and their families, so she’s building those at her art studio with a six-week metalsmithing class and by offering memberships.

“I just wanted a place where I could make art with friends, sitting around, being creative and having conversations,” she says.

She occasionally still substitutes in the Madison West art department. She also creates metal jewelry that she sells locally, such as at Art Fair Off the Square.

To foster her professional growth and connections, she also became president of the Wisconsin Metalsmithing Association in January. She’s hoping to build new connections in the metalsmithing community.

“After being a teacher for so many years, you realize life is just kind of a long lesson,” Moberly says. “You’ve just gotta keep forging.”

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