Measure twice, cut once: Sandra McCaw

Measure twice, cut once: Sandra McCaw
Sandra McCaw, Falling Leaves Necklace, 2007, 4"h x 2 1/4"w Polymer, 23 K gold leaf, gold filled wire, glass beads

Some of the earliest polymer work done in the United States was related to the technique of caning, or constructing a pattern that remains intact through the length of a cylinder.  Many polymer artists began with cane work.  While some moved on, others became extremely skilled at creating and combining patterns. Sandra McCaw is one of the experts.  

Sandra McCaw, Earrings, 2006
Sandra McCaw, Earrings, 2006, 3″ H x 5/8″ W
Polymer, 23 K gold leaf, gold filled wire

Precision caning is one of her distinctive stylistic traits.   The density and color of her elegant compositions recall the visual effects of Turkish tiles.   McCaw arranges variations of her complex cane designs into pastiches of pattern that undulate with interior movement.  These component areas are often defined by contrasting metallic borders.

Sandra McCaw, Falling Leaves Necklace
Sandra McCaw, Falling Leaves Necklace, 2007, detail

Subtle color gradations from dark to light and back again add dimension.  McCaw then translates all this visual activity into a highly refined and elegant piece of jewelry.  Simple geometric form and a sense of harmonious balance allows the eye to absorb the whole with ease and focus on the details.

McCaw Floating Leaves, 2009
Sandra McCaw, Floating Leaves, 2009

I cannot remember a time in my life that I wasn't interested in looking at art, talking about art and the making of art. In 1990 I earned a Phd in art history at the University of Maryland. My first experiences with polymer clay were in 1992, but I consider my real work with the medium to date from 1999.