“I’m keenly curious about the natural world; particularly in how the smallest elements relate to the big picture. Insects are a perfect example of that. There are over one million species of insects on this planet, more than all other species combined. We humans often tend to see insects as annoyances, forgetting the great importance they have in the web of life. They pollinate flowers, fertilize the soil, and provide food for other animals. They can also be very beautiful! “
“The endless variety of color and pattern found in insects and elsewhere is an inspiration to me. I work with polymer clay, attracted by the endless possibilities for mixing color and the ability of the medium to support intricate designs. Polymer clay is actually PVC plastic, a quite durable and practical material.”
“I make designs in the clay using the millefiori process. Millefiori is an Italian word, meaning “one thousand flowers.” I’ve adapted this ancient technique, primarily used in working with glass, to polymer clay. Working with sheets and coils of colored clay (sometimes hundreds of pieces), I build a loaf, in which the design can be seen in cross section. The loaf is made larger than it needs to be, then squeezed and stretched out to its final size. As the cane is reduced in size, the color relationships change and patterns become smaller, more intricate. Thin slices of these canes become the wings and patterned parts on my insects. I also use metallic leaf, metallic powders, glitter and sand to embellish the surfaces.”
Above: Joyce Fritz, Three Leaf Brooches, 2011. Polymer clay, recycled wire, glass beads, glitter, metallic leaf. Photo by Ralph Gabriner.