Color and patterns are key to Joyce's process. She uses the technique of millefiori, an Italian word meaning "one thousand flowers". This ancient method originally used in glass designs has been adapted by Joyce to create the intricacy and delicacy of a dragonfly's wings.
The clay is prepared and conditioned, using a food processor to mix colors, then kneading every batch by hand. Sheets of clay are rolled out, using a pasta machine to achieve varying thicknesses. Sheets and coils of colored clay are assembled into a cane or loaf, where the design can be seen in cross section. The loaf is made larger than it needs to be, then carefully squeezed and stretched out to its final size, while maintaining the consistency and proportion of the pattern throughout the length of the loaf. As the cane is reduced in size, the color relationships change and patterns become smaller and more intricate. Thin slices of these canes then become the wings of the insects and the colored bodies of other creatures. Metallic leaf, metallic powders, and glitter are also used to embellish the surfaces of the work.
Other parts of the insects are created and stored until needed. Joyce plies several strands of recycled telephone wire together to make long lengths of leg material. She made her own machine to do this, using an old sewing machine motor and foot pedal control. Antennae , made of wire and beads, are also made in batches. When all of the elements of a particular insect are made, they are assembled in the studio in small batches (or hatches!)