Crystal Hopson is a delightful lady. She’s fun and has worked hard to develop her own voice that comes through in all her pieces. It’s my honor and joy to share her work and her love of working with polymer clay to each of you today.
About Crystal Hopson:
Greetings! What an honor it is to share my story with you! I am a tree-hugging dirt worshipper living on the East coast of Florida, but our farm is in Iowa. My heart belongs to the farm and my soul resides in the mountains.
I love to travel, cook, read books, and walk barefoot. My husband calls me bohemian, but I tell people I’m a little bit farm, a little bit fancy. I’ll drop everything to go on an adventure, and I’ll spend all my free time planning the next one.
What’s the History of Your Art & How You Got Where You Are Today?
Growing up, art was always important to me. I loved to write stories and poems, paint, color, and draw my heart out. Sketchbooks and color pencils were my American Express cards; I never left home without them. I took figure drawing and still life in college, but never pursued art beyond that because I was scared of being “a starving artist”.
Later in life, I found that art careers were vast and eventually settled into a high-end wedding and floral design. What a fast-paced, stress-laden, beautiful, fun career! I was exhausted and ecstatic. After several years in the industry, my former back injury came back to haunt me. I further damaged myself and realized that I could no longer work without serious consequences. I was devastated.
I turned to my art to pass the time but was frustrated that nothing I tried felt like my calling. Acrylics, watercolor, mixed media… Nothing really clicked. So how did I turn to polymer when my idea of art was so traditional? I needed to make a UFO fairy garden. I sculpted a spaceship and some aliens. Not only was the gift a hit, but I also discovered that I really enjoyed the process. So, I started making more stuff for my own fairy gardens. I was quickly addicted! I started absorbing every bit of info, watching every video, joining the polymer groups, buying the books and tools and sculpting whatever came to mind.
About a year into my journey, I made some little dragons to take on a trip for an abandoned art movement and that’s what grabbed people’s attention. People wanted to buy my dragons! I was shocked, but I went with it. I created a Facebook and an Instagram and just kept posting everything I made. I’ve been creating dragons for 4 years and have loved every moment of the journey.
What Makes Your Art Unique?
Sculpting was a hobby that I started in order to keep myself busy as I learned to cope with being unable to work at such a young age. It’s also what has defined me as an artist. It’s become such a healing and meditative process for me. I am delighted to be able to create these delightful creatures from a block of clay and I am filled with childlike glee with every one I finish.
I spent three years working diligently to develop a unique dragon style that I could call my own. There are so many wonderful dragon artists out there and I felt that I needed to stand out. Now, my dragons, and any other creature I sculpt, has a distinct head dent, large, scalloped ears, and fairly large eyes.
Where is Your Art Created?
I call myself a stay at home artist because that is where I create. I have a defined studio space in my home. As a matter of fact, it’s the very first room you see when you walk through the front door! I have the best window in the house, and the room is filled with all my fun, colorful things that don’t fit into my farmhouse style home. I can sit at my workstation, which was built by my husband, and watch all the critters play beneath my old oak trees as I sculpt to my heart’s content.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Look at all the plant life in her room! I love it!
What is Your Favorite Thing To Do with Polymer Clay?
If you haven’t figured it out by now, my favorite thing to sculpt is dragons! I also enjoy sculpting the occasional unicorn, and I’ve created an original dragon/moth hybrid that I call Kaleidepili. Those are super fun to create because I can use faux fur on their tummies and attach beautiful paper wings. But dragons are still my favorite. They can be anything I want them to be; any color, any size, many horns or few. They can have scales or spots or spikes. I can make them with or without wings. My dragons are tiny blank slates that allow me to explore a plethora of themes and design techniques as well as a variety of mixed media. I incorporate wire, beads, chalk pastels, acrylic, alcohol inks, charms, crystals and so much more. I feel like the possibilities are endless!
What’s Your Process Like? Tell Us About It.
All of my dragons start with a color and that’s about it. Sometimes, I have a general idea of a theme I want to work with. Sometimes, I just want to use a specific color palette or a pretty charm or gemstone. I create the dragon head first because it determines the size of the body. By the time I start forming the body, I’m in a trance and the clay takes over. At that point, the pose starts to form and a personality develops. Whatever happens, just happens. I never really know what form they will take!
I always create my head with the ears and horns attached before attaching it to the dragon body. All the extra “bits” come last. Bits are the details, accoutréments, scenery, and extras that bring my little dragon to life.
Tell Us About Your Favorite Piece
I have a tendency to create a favorite piece at least once a month. Inevitably, I create a creature that takes more of my heart than they normally do, and I find it difficult to part with.
Most recently, that occurred with an art trade with another polymer dragon artist I met on Instagram. We chose luna moths as our theme, because who doesn’t love luna months!? They have the most exquisitely shaped wings, outstanding green color and that special moth fluff covering their bodies. This design was such a joy because I developed a new antennae style based on Bianca’s original design, I was able to use tummy fluff and gorgeous paper wings with some wire and beading accents. For this piece, I also created a tiny landscape with a woodland theme on top of a wood slice. It had mushrooms in Bianca’s favorite color, blue. I added textural details and vintage glass beads to finish it off. I thoroughly enjoyed creating the base because it combined two of my favorite things: fantasy and forests. Every time I look at that piece, I want to create another.
I think my woodland themed creatures will always hold a special place in my heart because I’m so drawn to the forests.
Who is Your Polymer Clay Idol?
There are so many polymer artists I admire and look up to. These would include Melissa Terlizzi for her ability to make the most beautifully realistic figures that have just the right amount of whimsy that you know they exist in a wonderland somewhere. I would love to meet Christi Freisen because, based on her books and videos, I just know our personalities would click.
Instagram is an artist’s social media dreamland. I am inspired daily by outstanding artists of all mediums. Yet, the most prized aspect of Instagram is the community. I’ve been accepted into a small community of these artists and have found them to be so supportive and helpful. Becca Golins of Dragons and Beasties was one of the first I admired and was so tickled when she shared some of her tips. Jes, from Mishes Official has been a huge encouraging force behind developing my style. Bianca from Biancas Little Corner has shared so many sculpting tips and ideas, I am thrilled to call her a friend. Bella from Bella Enchanted Studios has divulged wing sculpting tips and guided me through making videos of my sculpting process. Every artist I’ve encountered in the past 4 years has been an integral part of my growth and success.
Where to Find Crystal:
All of my work can be found on Instagram (@farmgirlfolly) and Facebook (Farmgirl Folly, by Crystal Hopson, Polymer Artist) where I share works in progress, daily struggles and successes, fun quotes, and more. There, I also announce my shop updates for purchasing my dragons.
Coupon from Crystal:
Kater’s Acres readers can enjoy 10% off any purchase in March, using the code KATIE. The coupon code will go live with my first March shop update, to be announced.
Do you want to see more Featured Artists? CLICK HERE.
Thanks for joining me today,
Until next time, Happy Claying my friends!
Progress in Your Sculpting Journey & Joining Me Here:
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