Poet and sculptor Miriam Hoffman made her first life-sized ceramic figures over fifty years ago. Hoffman spent 1931 at Columbia University in New York, but when the year was up, so was her scholarship. She continued her education at New York City College (now CUNY), later graduating from the New School in New York with a graduate degree in art and literature. In 1941, Miriam left New York for California and enrolled at San Francisco State University. It was there that she met her husband, Joseph F. Hoffman.

Their marriage only lasted two years, from 1942-1944, after which she left, although they were never divorced. Returning to New York in 1945, she attended the School of Social Sciences for two years and trained to become a teacher. After graduating in 1947, she left for Albuquerque and a teaching position at the University of New Mexico.

She returned to San Francisco in 1949, met Robert Duncan and enrolled in the California School of Fine Arts—now the San Francisco Art Institute—where she functioned more as a teacher than as a student, interacting with many artists of that time, including Ed Corbett, Hassel Smith, Peter Voulkos, Elmer Bischoff, Seymour Locks, Harry Jacobus and David Park.