Biography


Picture of Joyce FritzJoyce Fritz fell in love with clay in college. During that time, she experimented with putting colorants directly into porcelain clay. She created slab-built sculptural vessels and multi-section wall pieces. Upon graduation, she created, exhibited and sold her work regionally and nationally. During that time, she also made jewelry, mainly pins from leftover scraps of clay from the sculptures. In time, the reality of needing to make a living set in. Joyce found that she was selling more jewelry from the scraps of her sculpture. By 1986, Joyce was making porcelain jewelry full time. Her work soon outgrew her home, facilitating the construction of the studio behind the house.

In 1988, attracted by the range of color possibilities and convenience of polymer clay, she began to experiment with it. Her first "bugs" appeared in 1993 as a unique promotional item for a local museum's garden-themed exhibit. When a local distributor took samples of the bugs to a New York gift show, it immediately generated $10,000 in nationwide orders.

The critters were an instant hit, and the Yipes! line was born. Since then, Joyce has continued to design new species of insects and other creatures each year. Some are based on real insects, while others are her own invented species. Besides creating and marketing her work, Joyce occasionally teaches workshops. In 1996, she traveled to Iceland to teach workshops for adults and children. Joyce is ably assisted by Joan Berkopec, who helps with fabrication and assembly. Joan also happens to be a trained naturalist, and has contributed much valuable information and feedback about real insects. Joyce has principally marketed her work on a wholesale basis, selling to galleries, shops, and museum stores nationwide. While her children were young, this enabled her to work and still be at home. She also exhibits at a few regional art fairs in the Midwest.