Friday, September 17, 2010

Member Interview

Halloween is a high holiday for this Etsy seller...sometimes I even dress myself up! :-)

Hi there, Polkadot Magpie! Please tell us about yourself.
My name is Suz and I live in New Mexico facing the beautiful Sandia Mountains (watermelon in Spanish).

You can call me “Grandma Fun Fun.”

Valentine baking!
I am originally from the Chicago area. My shop is “Polkadot Magpie.” I am a corvid lover and long time polkadot wearer. When trying to name my shop I found many corvid shop names already taken. I make jewelry out of recycled exotic materials. I hand stamp shapes that I design.

Beads made from knife scraps
I am married to a custom knifemaker, and have been saving his scraps: mastodon ivory, carbon fiber, G-10, titanium, superconductor, meteorite, MOP, horn, and vairous micartas.

Bob and I were married in 2008 in Roma!
I am a retired tv/movie costumer.
Genevieve Cortese, from "Wildfire" and me, with Jared Padleki "Supernatural"
Ross McCall, Arlene Tur, Suz, and Jocko Sims all "Crash" cast members. Ross was in "Band of Brothers" and Jocko in "Jar Head".
In 2009, I started my company in my husband's knife workshop. I always felt “for better or for worse, but never in the shop.” I have lived to eat those words! I love working in “our” shop together.
My workbench
We both love working with our hands, and are inspirational in each other's process. That is a gift I have never shared in any other love relationship. I now have my own bench and work area. Every evening after supper, we usually have a show and tell time where we share with each other what we are working on. We problem solve together ... he is a fantastic machinist. He's made many jigs for me to use in my work. Recently we have collaborated on a skull knife together.

How did you learn about EPE?

Treasuries. I kept seeing FP treasuries that I really liked. I read on LoveArtWorks page about TeamEPE.
Dennis Hopper and Suz on "Crash"
Shortly after, an actor I had worked with on the TV show “Crash” told me his cancer had spread to his bones. I was broken hearted, and then I logged on to Etsy and saw a treasury with EPE members. So I went to their forum. Lurked. Then contacted Kristin. I looooove this team. I look forward to checking in and seeing all their beautiful treasuries, and they always have a warm message for all the members.

I wanted to do something meaningful for Dennis, and created an item for him. My nickname for him was “The Bunny.” Every Bunny sold from my shop has the profits donated to ACS, and now American Hospice Foundation.
I'm the team contact for AHF. I hope to raise lots of funds for this honorable organization. They have made a difference in so many people's final days with their loved ones.
Of your creations what is your favorite?

Hmmm... I love my “dodo type bird.” He is made from titanium scrap, and real airplane steel! This bird has flown before. 

Dodo                  Raven
My ravens are made from a material that has never been made into something beautiful. I'm crazy about turning garbage into something beautiful. So I would say those two items. I just designed a fall leaf bracelet with 6 new leaves.
Autumn Harvest Leaf Bracelet
What is your favorite posession?
My printing press. Most people in the Etsy community don't know I'm a master printmaker. My friends and family are wondering when I'm going to go back to printmaking! I bought my press used in Chicago. It is one of 3 prototypes Graphic Chemical in Chicago made for Conrad. Graphic Chemical is a printmaking supply company that supplies about 90% of the inks and materials for professional prinmakers. I can share how I mustered up the cash to buy it, as my parents aren't around to read this. They gave me a gold heart with 21 diamonds for my 21st birthday. I'm not the diamond gold kinda gal. So when the press became available for sale I went to my first pawn shop. The amount I sold the necklace for was exactly the price of the press. :-)

What do you collect?

Beach glass from every body of water I have traveled to. And beach rocks when I couldn't find glass. They are in clear jars next to my bath tub. 

Skulls and skeletons. Tin canape trays that I lay out work in on my bench. Recently I have been purchasing items from vintage sellers on Etsy that my Mom carried in her gift shop. I worked there as a kid, which really prepared me for having an Etsy shop. They are mostly mid-century items (Catherine Holm, Couroc, Minerva Russell)

Do you have a blog or other online venue?

Yes. “The Knife Wife”  And we have a forum on a custom knife site called “Terzuola Tacticals” It's a forum like Etsy has, but none of the cattiness on Etsy. On these forums ... if you are a pain they use weapons! (just kidding ... but no BS)

Where would you like to be in 10 years? 

First ... HERE!

I have had some serious health issues lately that have made me change my life. When one has limited time, perspectives change. When I got the news, at first I thought I wouldn't want to run a jewelry biz in my last years. But later I had an epiphany: why not take this thing to the top as fast as I can? My kids can run it, or they can sell Polkadot Magpie and use the money for something of their dreams. Having said that -- I am spending as much time with my kids and grandson, as I can.

I'd like to see PM be a jewelry brand that continues to sell only on the internet. I love making people's heirlooms. I design all my items for stamping. Birds, bunnies, bears, leaves, and a new cat for the holidays, as well as a new bird shape. Today's generation has tattoos. I never got one because I couldn't decide. So my hand stamped pieces I see as “fickle tattoos.”

Crows on both sides of vegetable garden (from an etsy shop). I took this photo with my iPhone while working in the garden at sunset.


  1. Ciao Suz! Wonderful interview and pix..Thanks for doing this..and to Mollie, too!

  2. Wow!!!!!
    Don't I make a mean looking cop? :-)

  3. PM...what a wonderful interview. Dennis Hopper is one of my favorites and he must have been an interesting person to know. So glad you joined EPE and we are getting to know you.

  4. Hey Suz! Love your story, love your home, love your photos, love your jewelry, and love you!!! :)

    Thanx again, Mollie, for helping us get to know each other better.

  5. Oh WOW you're my new FAVE now Suz! Always a dynamic shop, now to know the stories and person behind it is MINDBLOWING! Love the pics's a pleasure to have been let into your life to see how things tick! Keep up the phenominal work!

  6. Best interview yet! But, I didn't know you were an officer of the law! :D

  7. So nice to know you Suz! Loved your work and high spirits!
    Great interview!
    All the best!

  8. Well, Grandma Fun Fun... that is the most fabulous and telling photo of all! Your knifemaker husband has the same sense of humor as mine!! I so enjoyed reading about your former career and your current career and how you share the shop. And of course I simply LOVE your birds! This is one special interview and I am so glad you shared it!

  9. whoooo hoooo! Love getting to know you and your shop as well! You are just amazing. Thank you so much for joining us and for letting us have a little peek inside your life.

  10. Wonderful interview. Tell the old man to lift those cupcakes higher, you are still in prime form! You sound like fun. Thanks for the smile. Rose

  11. suz, you are a delight. you know i'm a big fan of you and your work. thanks for sharing your story. xo

  12. Suz, you have such an amazing story! You have so much vision and talent. Thank you for inviting us in. The cupcakes keep making me chuckle. :)

  13. Suz, Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful story!!! I enjoyed every word. What an interesting and wonderful Ladeeeee!!

  14. I absolutely love your artwork and I appreciate you sharing your shop and your story about you and your life with us. Thank you for an amazing interview. I love the fact that you collect sea glass. I have always wanted to start a collection, but I don't travel, so I can just dream about it. (hint: if you ever want to get rid of know where I am!) I love being part of team EPE and reading all about everyone. Here is to getting to know you better! Thanks for sharing your amazing talent and I really hope you get better. :)
    oh, p.s.: My husband is a printer and I recognize some of your "lingo"!

  15. Suz, you're amazing and so inspiring! Thanks for sharing your pictures in this wonderful interview.

  16. I soo enjoyed reading your interview Suz!! And LOVED the pictures (especially the cupcake one LOL). :)


  17. Thanks all for your loving posts. Thanks Mollie aka "cookie" for doing such a great job.
    Love this team!!!!!
    And yes my "cupcakes" should be higher! :-D

  18. What a fantastic interview, Suz! It was so great getting to know more about you. And I lust for your beautiful jewelry.

  19. What a great interview. I love learning a little more about people behind the shop.

  20. oh, totally fantastic! You are great and i really enjoyed your interview - what a life you are living......... xxoo laura