Some of the earliest polymer work done in the United States was related to the technique of caning, or constructing a pattern that continued intact throughout the length of a cylinder. In honor of the opening of the “Terra Nova: Polymer Art at the Crossroads” show at the Racine Art Museum, it seems fitting to focus on masterful cane work.
Intricate and coordinated cane work is a stylistic hallmark of Sarah Shriver’s art work. She first encountered polymer while working at a fabric and art supply store some twenty five years ago. Her boss wore a necklace made by early polymer artist, Martha Breen. Shriver was initially attracted to the patterning options of caning and quickly became an expert. Her inspiration often comes from traditional textiles such as “older ethnic rugs and fabrics that speak in the incredibly rich language of patterns. “ This relates to Shriver’s belief that the desire for pattern and ornament are part of the human condition. Shriver developed her own variation of the basic caning process through what she calls “kaleidoscope” patterning, which she achieves by mirroring the images into a complex series of related but distinct canes. The end results are engaging compositions of color and pattern that appear on her well designed and beautifully finished jewelry.