Rich with color and historical references, glass artist Juli Bolaños-Durman’s work is infused with light and life. Juli Bolaños-Durman (b. 1984) is a Costa Rican artist and designer who established her Edinburgh-based studio in 2014. She trained in Graphic Design in Costa Rica before completing her M.F.A. in Glass at the Edinburgh College of Art. Her work demonstrates a passion for the inherent beauty and plasticity of her chosen material, showcasing her talent for color composition and form making, developed through her mixed-media practice. She repurposes found objects, transforming them into artworks that tell a story.
Musings, created for the Jerwood Makers Open biennial in 2017, is a large-scale lighting installation that incorporates a canopy of intricate glass flowers. There is a beautiful richness to the display, which simultaneously emphasizes the illustrative capabilities of glass while interrogating the process that turn ordinary objects into art. In fact, much of her oeuvre demonstrates an interest in the ways in which different artifacts and materials are interpreted by culture; her Made-Up Museum Of Artefacts (2016) series playfully depicts the headdresses of fictional historical civilizations, while her Ode to Intuicion (2013) is a series of non-functional vessels, both lovely and bewildering.
Bolaños-Durman’s Solace series, while conceptually rooted in antiquity, offers a thoughtful meditation on objects, personal association, and memory. Her inspiration came while researching an idea for “vessels of remembrance,” when she started to look into “lachrymatories”—tiny glass or terracotta receptacles found in Roman and late Greek tombs. It is believed that these vessels were used to collect tears when grieving for a loved one. Bolaños-Durman found the concept moving, and the resulting vessels are beautifully rendered in rich, graduating hues and feature delicate engravings and intricately cut stoppers. Each piece is made of hand-blown glass and is one-of-a-kind. Bolaños-Durman also works in more abstract forms on paper, producing hand-drawn sketches using mixed-media—such as acrylic paints, china ink, colored pencils, and pen—before completing them with details of hand-cut glass.
Bolaños-Durman’s work has received many accolades, including the Special Prize from the Basu Foundation in 2018, selection for the Jerwood Makers Open 2017, and the Inches Carr Scottish Crafts Award 2017. She was also the winner of the ELLE Decoration British Design Awards 2015 in the Eco Design category. Her work was included in the collection of the Museum of Contemporary Design and Applied Arts (MUDAC), Lausanne, Switzerland in 2014, and in 2013 she was the recipient of the University of Edinburgh Chancellor’s Fellowship Award Commission. She is currently in the process of developing several collaborations, including commercial lighting products, moving image, art direction and mixed media projects.