Sue Ann Dorman: Jewelry As Paradox!

by For the Love of Jewels.... on November 23, 2008

Sue Ann Dorman IN her computer!
Concrete and Car Glass

Concrete and Car Glass

Raw Diamond Ring

Ametrine and Gold Pendant

Lizard God-ABS

Opal and Diamond Necklace

I first met Sue when I signed up for jewelry classes at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. With 30 years experience as a jeweler, Sue devotes much of her time teaching at both LMU and the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) in downtown LA. She’s a wonderful teacher with a great laugh and twinkling sense of humor. And, her original jewelry designs are dazzling and quite unique. I especially love her use of concrete with car glass! Here’s what she has to say about creating that concept:

In 1980 I moved into, rather built, a loft in a warehouse in downtown Los Angeles. It was the beginning of the downtown movement. There were no such things as secure parking or roof gardens. It was wild country. The first night I stayed downtown, my car was broken into and the stereo stolen. I had been doing work with diamonds and gems in concrete. I was intrigued by the beauty of the broken car window. Putting the broken car window in concrete was a natural progression. I even sold the work at a trunk show at Saks Fith Avenue in Beverly Hills. The community was small at that time so whenever anyone’s car was broken into, which was often, they would call me and I would go clean it up and collect the good bits of broken glass. In fact I am still using glass from that time.

How would you describe your style?

There is alot of paradox in my style. I like to push the envelope conceptually but not in an obvious way. I put diamonds in concrete, I make primitive objects with areospace technology and I seek out unusual cut stones. My designs are very classical or basic.

What is the concept behind your concrete line?

Paradox! Putting the most precious in the most common material. My first piece was diamonds in concrete. It was in my Master’s show in 1975. Then, being a poor graduate student, they were fake diamonds. Now they are real and I use rare, natural pink diamonds, and top grade, flawless.

You have written several articles on CAD/CAM. What appeals most to you about designing using computer assistance?

It is a new tool and with new toos come new skills. It is not only the CAD but the CAM is as important…a new way to make a 3D object.

What is your ABS work about?

Again paradox…I use areospace techniques to make primitive forms. I am now working on ‘gauge earrings’.

How did you get started creating jewelry and what has been your career path?

I was living in the Bay Area, Berkley/’69, and was dating a man who wanted a silver ring with a yin/yang symbol on it. He could not find one he liked. Someone at work brought in a Merritt Community College catalog and I saw a jewelry course listed. I took the class, made the ring and was hooked. My career path has always been about what I can make rather than what I can sell.

You now devote much of your time to teaching–what about that appeals to you?

Because I am interested more in what I make than what I can sell, teaching give me two things. 1) it gives me a somewhat stable base to make what I want and 2) it gives me a place and time when I have to clean up, be somewhere and see people. I like teaching people and get a great reward in seeing what wonderful things they do with the skills I show them.

How have you found it most successful to sell your work?

This may sound strange but to wear it!!

What advise do you have for fledgling jewelry designers?

Do the designs you feel passionate about not the ones you think will sell the best.

I felt privileged to be able to take classes from Sue. I learned something during every class and appreciated the atmosphere of creative learning. And her work is just incredible! To view more go to her webiste:

Thanks for stopping by!


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