The Way Su Works – From the one who knows

I sent my sister my blog about her earrings, and she came back rather miffed because I didn’t tell it how it is, so here’s her explanation (and I should not have called her hands ‘old’, thank you!)

I have to cut the piece of anodised aluminum into smaller pieces with my guillotine (Bench sheers) so I  can cut the pieces out with my jewelers saw.  I have to wear gloves because at this point, the aluminum will pick up fingerprints.  The anodising opens the pores and there is a film on the metal.  When the sheet is painted, on both sides, I put it in water with a sealing powder and simmer it for about 1/2 an hour.  That closes up the pores and holds in the colour.  Then I can touch the metal with my hands and I cut out the shapes with my jewelers saw and file the edges with about two grades of files.  Next is drilling the holes for the hook and the jump-rings to hold other parts of the earring.

It was nice to see my pieces like that [the photos].  In one picture you have turned some pieces around so you can see the other side but you don’t mention that the earring can be turned around to make a second pair or that I make my hooks with sterling silver which is important for people who have allergies.  MOST, of the earrings I make are reversible now, not just a few

Cutting things out with my jewelers saw and filing them is certainly not the hardest part.  Thinking of patterns to paint is the hardest part for me!!  I like all the other stuff.

You were right in saying I (and others) am NOT a good business person!  I don’t think I could manage selling on any site.  Booths to shows are not that expensive.  You have to be chosen to get into a show.  I have been rejected many times because “there are too many jewelers”.  Even though mine are different and I send pictures.  You should NEVER say you can’t charge enough to cover the cost of making things!!!!  The first thing you work out is … so much an hour for the time you work on a piece then you add all the other things.  If you can’t cover those costs in your prices, you are doing something wrong!

Silver sounds so much more expensive even though a whole lot of pieces of silver jewelry is cast which means the jeweler just pours the molten silver into a rubber mold and it comes out all done except for a little tiding up.  So each piece takes a few mins where mine takes time for each piece.  You have to be working on several pieces at once so your working cost is not so high.

I have just become lazy.  I have things on my bench that are in process and I really want to get back to them.  It would be hard for me to keep enough stock and travel from venue to venue to the shows, not having a car, etc.  I only have a very small amount of aluminum left and it is not worth me ordering more.  You can’t order just a few pieces.


Daily Prompt – Half-light

sunset 002

Albuquerque evenings, so lovely in the half light, with the bright blue New Mexican sky fading to light blue and Sandia Mountains going pink. I am resending my poem because I now know how to keep the lines together (thank you everyone who gave me advice). See if you can see the rabbit in the moon. (Ears to the top, facing left)

Albuquerque evenings,
Mountains turning pink.
Feast your eyes on sunset skies,
Don’t you even blink.
Clouds of pastel colors,
Turquoise, rose and gold.
Mountains east and mesas west,
Their stories still untold.

Albuquerque evenings,
Everywhere you look
Painted skies enchant your eyes;
It’s nature’s picture book.
Rabbit in the full moon,
Stars so bright above.
Albuquerque evenings,
Spend them with someone you love.


Su’s superlative earrings

Turq earrings

“Where did you get those lovely earrings?” asked the elegant Santa Fe lady in her New Mexican style dress, wearing lots of silver and turquoise jewelry.

“My sister, Su Lawson, in  Vancouver,Canada, made them” I said, proudly.

When I visited my older sister in Fairbanks, Alaska, and she introduced me to her friends, the question was always “Is she the one who makes the earrings?” to which we chant in unison “No, she’s the other one.”

Mary Ann (right) and I(left) wear Su’s earrings with pride.


Here are some balloons she made for the Albuquerque balloon fiesta in October.Balloons

And lots of other shapes and sizes; one of my favorites is a set of sea creatures, necklace and earrings. I call the Question Mark & Exclamation Mark my academic earrings, and wear them when I am with schoolchildren. Many others are jointed and jangle beautifully. They are made of aluminum so very light.

Su's earrings, pins & necklaceSu's earrings

“How do you do it, Su?”

“I paint small sheets of aluminum, sometimes differently on both sides, then anneal or heat them in a little bath to toughen them and make them less brittle.”

“The shapes and designs are so varied! How do you ever think them up?”

“Oh, that’s not the hardest part, I have lots of ideas.”

“What’s the hardest part?”

“Cutting out the shapes, and filing the edges smooth. My poor hands and fingers are not as young as they used to be and it has become a bit hard to do that work.”

“You always give Mary Ann and me lots and lots of your great pieces, but you must sell some.”

“I go to craft fairs when I can afford a booth, and have enough to sell.”

“They are so terrific and unique, you must make a lot of money.”

“Ha! There is no way I could charge enough to cover all the work that goes into making a pair, and there is so much cheaper jewelry around, it’s difficult.”

“And I know the artist is usually the worst business person.”

“You know we couldn’t sell many at your Balloon Fiesta, and when they eventually paid me for those they had sold, the US$ had changed in value to the Canadian$, so I actually lost money. Very disappointing.”

“If only people knew what a lot of work went into making your unique earrings, they might be more willing to pay a proper price, but we have the same problem in New Mexico about high prices for the handmade Indian jewelry and rugs.”

“I’ll never be rich.”

“But you’ll always be famous, as everyone comments on the earrings Mary Ann and I wear.”

“I love you for that.”

“And we love you too.”



Color Your World – Radical Red


phone july 17 2015 017

This was the chair in our room at Stay on Main, the hostel in Los Angeles. Cheap & cheerful, with those fluffy Belgian waffles for breakfast. A row of four waffle irons were replenished with batter and the cooked waffles removed by a helper to be kept hot in a heated cabinet for the constant flow of students (and us). I really prefer my waffles to be crisp, and after four mornings I was ready for something different. But the cost for accommodation including breakfast was very reasonable and, although friends said it was in the least salubrious part of town, we found some interesting places to eat, and a wonderful bookstore; about which I may have written already.

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There were quaint sculptures everywhere, and quirky artists’ workshops on the upper floor. You pass this amazing piece as you go upstairs.

phone july 17 2015 018

And although we were two old ladies, we were never bothered by the street people.

Despite the waffles, I’d Stay On Main again.


BEWARE, the Ides of March – or is it April 1 already?

phone 3.15.16 355

This is an untouched photo of today’s paper (March 15, 2016)

I could have believed they used an old front page, if it were April 1st today, but no; it is Tuesday March 15th. And I know it is the old paper because we recognize the stories and especially the cartoons. Some news might have been the same today – some things never change – but the cartoons do.

So what happened? How did this occur? My PA tried to phone the Journal office; they have a special number to call if you didn’t get your paper, and they’ll deliver it (again?) before long.

But he couldn’t get through. I suspect because everyone else was phoning in this odd problem.

We had to leave, but I dashed off a note with the photo above to a friend on the Journal staff, and he sent it on to the customer service department. When I get home I’ll hope for an explanation.

And a copy of the paper dated March 15, 2016. The Ides of March.

Color Your World – Melon

The Crayola Melon color is more like our sugar watermelons. Most of the Pueblo farmers grow melons and when we go to feast days there are always big bowls of the fruit on the laden tables.

Kathleen Wall, my lovely Jemez Pueblo potter friend makes the most delightful clay figures; they are called Koshares or Clowns, and dance around the lines of dancers at feast days. And they all have her wide, beautiful smile. Sometimes they hold stars, sometimes they are eating watermelon like this bronze.Kat Wall bronze koshare with watermelon

The Sandia Mountain that borders Albuquerque on the east is so named because Sandia is Spanish for watermelon. At sunset, the mountain turns pink for about five minutes. And the clouds are all sorts of soft colors. New Mexico is, of course, The Land of Enchantment!

One evening I was driving east towards the mountains just as they turned pink and it inspired my song, Albuquerque Evenings.

Albuquerque evenings,
Mountains turning pink.
Feast your eyes on sunset skies,
Don’t you even blink.
Clouds of pastel colors,
Turquoise, rose and gold.
Mountains east and mesas west,
Their stories still untold.

Albuquerque evenings,
Everywhere you look
Painted skies enchant your eyes;
It’s nature’s picture book.
Rabbit in the full moon,
Stars so bright above.
Albuquerque evenings,
Spend them with someone you love.

We see a rabbit as well as the man in the moon. If I were clever I would show a full moon and outline the rabbit for you. See if you can find it.


Color Me CalmThis morning I picked up a copy of natural awakenings, a free ‘healthy living’ paper which had an article on Adult Coloring Books. The title of the article was COLOR ME CALM (each letter a different color). According to the article (by Avery Mack) March is Color Therapy Month.

We learn that coloring “uses both sides of the brain and improves organizational and fine motor skills.” Even “30 minutes can constitute a focused meditation that relieves stress.”

So it seems to do you good as well as being fun; there are coloring book clubs and breaks in the workplace just to do coloring.

But my favorite “eco-tip” is about the “Sprout pencils, made with sustainable wood and fruit-and-vegetable-based dyed clay instead of lead.” They are also “topped by non-GMO seeds that can be planted when the pencil becomes short.” Wonderful idea.

Though it doesn’t say what kind of seeds they were, so one wouldn’t know whether it would grow a pencil tree, or what color it would be. I won’t stress out about that; I’ll just start a new picture.

One Word Photo Challenge – Bed

Rental pics 2015 (3)

Our bed is a California King – has to fit my long PA, though I can fit into any size bed.

What a lot of stories this room holds, not only on the bookshelves. There’s another wall of shelves on the left which has even more books in it. (He has weeded out and given away about 500 already. And my study has three full bookcases – we are really book people.)

When we were courting I visited him in NM, and spent an afternoon looking through his books. At first I could see only a University professor’s text-books- Shakespeare, George Eliot, Jane Austen, D H Lawrence, and writers and poets I hadn’t even heard of. Shelves full of each author. In the living room there is a whole floor-to-ceiling of Ezra Pound, for goodness sake.

I’m not sure I can handle Academia, I thought. Intelligent I am, intellectual I’m not.

But eventually I saw others there, novels by Tony Hillerman, Michael McMurtry, a funny book by Bill Cosby, and lots and lots of vinyl records of rock and folk groups, so maybe I could marry the guy and move to New Mexico from London.

And I am so glad I did. I’ve been reading the books, and we’ve traveled together to many parts, bringing back additions to the decor from everywhere.

The quilted bedspread we saw in Savannah, liked, and ordered one for ourselves. The wall hanging is a “Matrimonio” weaving from Lago Titikaka, Peru. The chair and chest came from Florida after Pop Pop Witemeyer died; we drove home the 23′ Uhaul full of furniture and after two days felt like real Truckers. The black micaceous bowl was made by Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo potter, Clarence Cruz, a friend.

And the little white heart was made for our 25th anniversary by an English quilter friend who was at our wedding in London in 1987.

summer bedding

This heart has our initials and the date quilted on it. It’s a good ‘caption’ for The Bed.