Truly Handmade Silver and Gemstone Jewelry
Welcome to Lulu Bug Jewelry! I am Sue Urquhart; I have been making jewelry for more than 30 years. I use traditional silversmithing techniques and make everything by hand. I believe that jewelry should be like a tattoo: beautiful, meaningful and something you never want to remove.
Scroll to the bottom to see photos and a video of my studio!
I would love to tell you all "About" me, but I have been struggling with the really big questions: Should I write in the third person? How much do they want to know? Should I start by telling them the color of the first crayon I used?
Thankfully for all of us, my sister has volunteered to fill you in on the details. Her nickname is Bee, and she is a few years younger than me ~ Sue PS: If you want to skip the words, you can scroll to the bottom to see the photos.
Ahoy "About" readers!
So let's clear this up right away: the first crayon Sue picked up was a Violet Purple Crayola - now you know where it all started!
Sue was always drawing, painting or making things. She always knew she wanted to be an artist when she grew up. No one had any doubt she would do precisely that.
You already know how this story turns out, but let's dive into a few of the highlights of how she came to make jewelry that is beautiful, meaningful and something you never want to take off.
Travel and animals of all kinds have always been a big part of Sue's life. Our dad worked for United Airlines, so we had the opportunity to travel more than other kids. Our mom made and sold her crafts to help pay for our travel.
Sue loved Joy Adamson's "Born Free" series about Elsa the Lion. She begged my mom to take us to East Africa. The year was 1975, way before it was fashionable for Americans to travel to Africa. My mom is a photographer, so it didn't take much to convince her to arrange our first of many trips to Kenya and Tanzania.
On our first trip to East Africa, Sue was 9, and I was 7. Sue was captivated by the Maasai, particularly with how both men and women adorned themselves. Some of the jewelry they wore could not be taken off; the women physically grew into some of their pieces.
And so started Sue's love for jewelry that you love so much you never want to take off, even if you could.
A few years later, we were in Egypt. If anyone knows how to do jewelry right, it is the Ancient Egyptians. Sue took in everything she could about ancient adornments while were visiting tombs and in museums. I could have spent all day with the mummies, which Sue also loved, but it was the jewelry really that held her interest.
The metal work fascinated her, and she was also captivated by the fact that thousands of years ago there was a real person who wore the piece of jewelry that was just inches away. She started to feel how jewelry connects us to people in a meaningful way unlike anything else.
And there hatched Sue's desire to make not just beautiful jewelry, but also lasting, meaningful jewelry.
After many travels all over the world, years of drawing, painting and making things, Sue finally landed her in her first post-art college job: Tie-Dye Artist. Though short term, it was a great job. Our dad even came to love his collection of tie-dye shirts.
Sue started working for a silversmith when she was about 22. She advanced to working with gold and gemstones, a job she loved until the owners decided to move away. She is still friends with David and Helen, and they are still in business at Verbena Place Jewelry.
Next, Sue started designing jewelry for a small company in Sonoma County. After a few years there, she finally decided to set out on her own.
In 2008, Sue started Lulu Bug Jewelry. At the time it was a pretty significant risk, but she leaped into it anyhow. Soon she was so busy that she had to stop racing motorcycles and focus on making jewelry.
Sue's style has developed over the years. If you follow her on Instagram or Facebook, you will see she often posts her early pieces. Some of it is quite different, but you can still tell it is her work.
Sue didn't start out making memorial jewelry, but it has become an essential part of her collection. One piece that stands out is a little Easter Island statue infuse with the ashes of her friend from elementary school. It is something that Ellen would have loved.
Sue wears her own as well as other people's jewelry. Some of it she hasn't taken off in years, other things she changes with her outfit or mood. She loves learning about jewelry and what it means to the wearer. Every piece of jewelry has a story as unique as the wearer. What are you wearing today?
I hope that you will find something that Sue has made to be beautiful, meaningful to you and that you will never want to take off.
Thanks for reading! Bee
Visit Lulu Bug Jewelry's Studio!
Here is Sue in New Orleans. She goes there almost every year on an art retreat with Michael de Meng and a bunch of talented, wacky artists. They make some fantastic things and always seem to have a lot of fun. As Sue would say, "Cheers!"