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.”




4 thoughts on “Su’s superlative earrings

  1. Love your sister’s jewelry. Ask her if she has ever tried smoothing the surface and edges in a rock tumbler full of metal tumbling media. They have yellow colored cones for the first tumbling to get off the burr, then media that looks like green chocolate chips to get it smooth.. You can tumble with walnut shells then if you want it super shiny–although if she is painting it, she won’t want to do this. (I think it was walnut shells… may be wrong about that.) It cuts down tremendously on labor time as you can just set it to tumble for a few hours and leave or even over night. You can get all of the supplies at Rio Grande jewelry supply or Indian Jewelry Supply–both in New Mexico. She probably knows about this, but after the initial investment, things go so much faster. I also wonder if she has investigated selling on Etsy. (I never have, but I keep meeting people who do very well there.) Thanks for showing us her work!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good suggestions, but I think she paints the whole sheet before she cuts them out. I’ll pass this on to her anyway. I have in the past bought things at Rio Grande for her to send them on. When I sent her photos of your shell birds found art, she said “I know this sounds silly but i think your friend is a very sweet person. I have no idea why i say that except i just got a ‘warm vibe’ silly, eh?”
      Not silly!


  2. What treasures! Your sister is wonderfully talented. I hop that tumbling machine can work out for her, even if does mean she might have to change her painting style. I enjoyed the homey aspect of this piece as much as the photographs.

    Liked by 1 person

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