Cynthia Toops

Hula Hoop Girl

Seattle, WA
Polymer clay mosaic inlay, sterling silver

“This work was part of a group of pieces based on memories of childhood games, toys and activities. The setting is a park or playground where the young girl is the center of attention. I wanted to keep the colors bright but not primary. Although I have used polymer clay as well as glass in my micro mosaic works, for a brooch this size, glass would be problematic because of the weight. I am an artist who has been creating jewelry since 1986. While polymer clay is the main material I work with, I also enjoy working with glass, felt and tape. After mixing the colors I need, the clay is pulled into thin “threads.” These “threads” are then fired at 260 degrees for about 15 minutes. Upon cooling, they are cut into small pieces, ready for the mosaic work. The mosaic work I do is mainly figurative, scenes from everyday life, folktales, mythical creatures and some portraiture. I feel very fortunate to be able to do something I love.” Born in Hong Kong, Cynthia Toops spent a great deal of time studying science before getting sidetracked by printmaking. She earned a BA in biology from Drake University and a BFA in printmaking from the University of Washington. Her polymer mosaic work has been shown in numerous museums across the United States, and has been published extensively in books and magazines. Toops received the Artist Trust Fellowship Award for Washington State artists in 2007. Her work is inspired by the ethnic jewelry and ancient beads that she and her husband and collaborator Dan Adams collect.