Toots Zynsky was born Mary Ann, but was called Toots almost from birth. She earned her BFA at the Rhode Island School of Design then went to Seattle to study with Dale Chihuly at the Pilchuck Glass School. Since then, she has returned to Pilchuck as a teacher. In the mid-1980s, she spent six months in Ghana, on a special research project, recording Ghanaian music. In 1995, her work was shown at special exhibitions in Tokyo, Zurich, Italy, Philadelphia, and Chicago.