Eye’s Gallery is excited to carry for the first time some of Joyce Fritz’s charming creations from a line of jewelry that she calls “Yipes!” This collection consists of colorful, impeccably detailed and whimsical bug pins made of clay. They are a delight to see.
These pins are created using an ancient Italian technique called millefiori, which translates to “one thousand flowers.” Originally intended for glass, Fritz adapted the technique to clay. First, she mixes the colors in a food processor and kneads each batch by hand. She rolls the clay into sheets with a pasta machine, which allows her to have different thicknesses in the batch. To create the design she layers sheets or coils of the clay into a large loaf. The mass is then manipulated until it is the correct size, and it is during this stage that the design is made more intricate. Thin slices become her bug’s wings and bodies. She then uses metallic powder, glitter or leaf to embellish her creations. The legs are made with recycled telephone wire, while the antennae are made from wire and beads. She uses a sewing machine motor and foot pedal to make these batches.
Fritz began creating her insects in 1993, as a promotional item for a garden-themed museum exhibit. Her works took off when a local distributor took samples of her critters to a gift show in New York. $10,000 in nationwide orders were generated overnight and, in turn, started her “Yipes!” line. While still sold nationwide through stores like ours, she exhibits in person in the Midwest.
Fritz is also a trained naturalist, which helps to inform her work and has been highly influential in the development of her style. For more information about Fritz and her work, check out her website at http://www.joycefritz.com .