03 February 2020

Featured Artist: February 2020

Our next Featured Artist of 2020 is Florida-based artist Sophie Dufort!

Sophie Dufort is a self-described obsessed crafter, art lover, romance novelist, and mom to an entire home zoomostly consisting of reptiles. She moved to the United States from Australia almost six years ago to join the man who has since become her husband. Ever since, she says her life has been a non-stop fairy tale that makes her the happiest woman on earth and fuels her passion for craft, creativity, and desire to improve day after day. 

She is currently in the process of launching her own line of silicone molds. Sophie describes it is a venture that began as a dream!

We wanted to learn more about Sophie and here's what she shared with us:

pcPolyzine: How did you get into polymer clay?
Sophie: About three years ago, my husband Mike urged me to start crafting. So I did. I switched from one craft to another, always craving the challenge of something new. I never could do the same thing over and over again, which accounts for the enormous amounts of craft supplies that I've bought over the years and barely used. Until, one day, I saw a gorgeous journal that displayed a dazzling polymer clay cover. And that's how my love for polymer clay began.

pcPolyzine: How long have you been working with polymer clay?
Sophie: I've been creating polymer clay pieces for over a year now. Every time, I raise the bar. It is a challenge that sometimes makes me want to throw all the clay supplies out the window, but for the most part it is very rewarding.

pcPolyzine: How do you come up with an idea for a projectdo you plan it or just start working?
Sophie: That's a very good question. It depends. Sometimes I plan it ahead, but for the most part it's just the result of a sudden idea. I just drop everything I was doing and I get started on my clay project, without knowing how it will end. Halfway through it, new ideas pop through my head, and in most cases the finished produce looks completely different from how I envisioned it to begin with.

pcPolyzine: What inspires you to create pieces in polymer clay?
Sophie: I love, love being able to create something beautiful from a lifeless lump of clay. My pets are often part of my creations. Since Mike and I have a lot of snakes as pets, I tend to include them in my art pieces. That's how my Medusa head was born, or the snake vase that I made.

pcPolyzine: What's your favorite piece or project you've made in polymer clay?
Sophie: It is so hard to pick one, as I love all of them. They are very different, from wall hangings featuring masks to clocks, to vases. I believe one of my favorites is the Medusa head.

pcPolyzine: Does your work have a theme or message?
Sophie: It does, indeed. I am trying to bring beauty even to the scariest things. The Medusa, for example, has a frightening background story. In mythology, her stare would turn to stone everyone who looked at her. I wanted to show her as a beautiful woman, intimidating, yet feminine and majestic.

pcPolyzine: What are your favorite (or most important) tools you use when working with clay?
Sophie: My rolling pin, pasta machine, and cookie cutters. I also have a vast collection of rubber stamps and texture plates that I use to create impressions on clay, particularly for clock creation.

pcPolyzine: Do you have any advice for new artists to polymer clay?
Sophie: We all started somewhere, and many of our pieces were not the best. My first advice is: do not compare. Your work may not be as complex and polished as that of accomplished artists, but it is the fruit of your efforts and you can do as much or as little as you want to improve it. Do not think that you do not have a rich imagination. If you prefer to replicate designs that you have seen elsewhere, that's perfectly fine; it is not a sign that you lack imagination. Imagination will come with practice. Once you become familiar with the process, you will think more and more about creating unique designs.

pcPolyzine: Any final thoughts?
Sophie: When I first started crafting, I didn't think that someday I would be able to create the pieces that I create. I don't think I have special talents. I just have a huge passion for what I do, and the determination to make it better. Whether you attempt a complicated craft or just something very simple, your creation is a part of you, bearing the print of your love, creativity, and passion.

pcPolyzine: Sophie, your art work is gorgeous! Thank you for taking time to share with us!

To connect with Sophie and see more of her work, visit her new website Zuri,Inc. or Zuri on YouTube! You can also check her out on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter (@designwithzuri), and through her Etsy store.