From Magic Kingdom to Mariupol, Ukraine


Cinderella Castle Magic Kingdom Disney World, USA

Visiting the Magic of childhood fantasy, with one foot in the world of adult tragedy.

Here all the staff are smiling and friendly, making you believe that all is right in the world. To quote Thich Nhat Hanh: “In our daily life, we can smile. If we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone will profit from it. This is the most basic kind of peace work.”

Then my mind shifts to Mariupol, Ukraine. Where Russia is exherting its great power against principals of international law and humanity, and rockets kill 30 people. It reminds me of a Jimmy Hendrix quote; “When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.”


In Michigan my Ukrainian friends light candles and stage a protest against University of Michigan Musical Society honoring Putin comrade conductor
Valery Gergiev, who supports the annexation of Crimea and bloody invasion of Ukraine.

Staging a protest, doesn’t change the world, but it helps to keep us from letting the world change us. We all need to do what we can when we can.

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Visiting Italy at Epcot


Eating on the patio of the restaurant Via Napoli gave us an authentic Italian experience. It was less crowded than the noisy indoor dining. When the Medieval Cortona Flag dance began and we couldn’t see the young male performers. Our waiter pointed in their direction “but of course, go”, basically he could wait to take our order.


All the staff were warm, friendly and accommodating. It was so much like being in Italy. We were happy we shared the Chicken Parmesan and the salad. It was just the right portion for the two of us with no leftovers.

Amusingly our visit to France for dinner found the staff very authentically French.

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Good Morning Old Key West resort


Great morning waking up to ibis in the pond below our balcony.

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West Huron Sculptors “PoP- uP” Studio Art Sale.

West Huron Sculptors Flyer FinalA

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Art News

Art News.

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Art, Inspiration and Everyday…



Inspiration can come from unexpected places. Sometimes you need to go looking for it; a museum, a class, a walk in the woods or a vacation. Everyday interactions can also stir creative tangents. I never thought adopting a puppy would lead to any new art. But life is full of happy surprises, if you are open to them.


Come to Dancing Dog Gallery tonight 7-10PM. Featured artist is Susan Lawless.

My work will be there too.

SongLines Poems and Photographs by Susan Lawless

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Lessons; Casting in Detroit


Four days last week I was fortunate to participate in an iron casting workshop by Carbon Arts at 555 Gallery in Detroit. The week was wrought with challenges and memories.

The backdrop was my childhood neighborhood. 555 Gallery operates in the former Detroit Police Department Third Precinct station. Hard to revisit the streets where I experienced hundreds of firsts, and not take time to reflect.

Across Vernor Highway on Standish St. is  Topor’s Pickles, my first factory job. Where I worked a few weeks one summer. Further down the street is Clark Park where I first tried ice skating. The Bowen Branch Biblioteca where I did my first research paper, using the Readers Digest Guide to periodicals. The YMCA where our neighbor Audrey took me and her son Joey for our first swimming lessons.

555 Gallery getting ready for Iron Pour

555 Gallery getting ready for Iron Pour

The workshop is a hands on experience. Some of the first challenges involve figuring out what can be cast. I decide to try 2 driftwood pieces and a glazed clay mask I made a few years ago.

The first steps involve measuring and cutting wood to make flasks (boxes) to hold the mold material. The clay face required making a wax cast first, to avoid any chance damaging the original in the mold making process. Rachel Wolski, Carbon Arts Operations VP, teaches me how to make a quick silicon mold to cast a wax.

This the first time I can remember, needing to shake sand out of my shoes at the end of the day, and not having been to a beach. Two types of sand are used in the are used in the casting process. The first is a “parting”, foundry/greensand which creates a bed for your artwork and a method to establish a dividing line for the mold.

Casey mixing sand

Casey mixing sand

The second is a fine silica sand, which had to carefully mixed with a two-part epoxy that works as a bonding agent to solidify the sand. Once cured the packed sand creates a hard mold.

The two driftwood pieces  were able to be cast together in one flask.

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Casey Westbrook one of the artists leading our workshop, designed the cupolas and iron pour of a sculpture for the Matthew Barney film “KHU”. It was filmed in Detroit in 2010. He helps me with these next steps. Amazing how heavy my mold has become.

The day of the pour is exciting and quite spectacular to watch.

Kat Delph VP Marketing at Carbon Arts

Kat Delph VP Marketing at Carbon Arts

Here’s my piece being poured. Photo credit here goes to my husband David Carson.

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Thank you to Kat Delph, Rachel Wolski, Casey Westbrook and the rest of the Carbon Arts crew for making this all possible. I will be busy working to clean up and patina my pieces. Here’s what they look like now. Love that they were cast from recycle iron bath tubs from Detroit.

Cast from recycled Detroit iron

Cast from recycled Detroit iron

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