Photography Shannon Tofts
This month we unveil an evolving curation of Scottish design housed in the personal office of the First Minister
Feature by Stacey Hunter for The Skinny| 26 Jun 2019
We’re delighted to see an exciting project announced this month that has been unavoidably delayed by the B word. There is admittedly more than one B word now, so to be clear, the Brexit one. As we approach two years of this regular design column, it is hugely encouraging to see our endeavours recognised with an invitation to curate a collection of contemporary design and craft at not only the Scottish Parliament, but First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s personal office. The opportunity to see a selection of Scotland’s most interesting, innovative and well-crafted design sharing display space with some of the most important artefacts of our modern political times is a powerful reflection of the strength of Scotland’s vibrant design industry.
The room is smaller than you might expect, but with pale concrete walls, understated furniture upholstered in Bute fabric, and floor-to-ceiling windows, it is a subtle yet elegant setting for receiving important guests and displaying our first collection. The ten pieces of work we have selected represent the best of contemporary Scottish creativity. To be rotated on a rolling six month basis, the pieces will act as talking points for visitors and guests of the First Minister.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “Scotland is home to world class artists and designers and I’m proud to be able to support the sector through the Local Heroes project. I welcome visitors from both home and abroad and across the public and private sectors to my office at Parliament and it’s a privilege to help raise the profile of Scotland’s exceptional design expertise. The initial collection has already been positively received, with well-deserved praise from visitors. I look forward to welcoming further collections in the future.”
From fine ceramics, glass and furniture to high tech jewellery and product design engineering, this initial collection demonstrates that Scotland is at the forefront of innovation and a producer of the highest quality design and craft. Pieces include: the minimal, sleek design of Glasgow based Instrmnt’s A-12 clock, Skye-based Patricia Shone’s raku fired pot, inspired by the landscape around her, and Jonathan Pang’s precision engineered lightweight standing Phloem Lamp in maple and richlite. Colour and painstaking technique come to the fore with handmade pieces by Edinburgh’s Juli Bolaños-Durman’s and Frances Priest. Bolaños-Durman’s trio of delicate glass vessels and Priest’s Gathering Places mosaic-like bowl are jewel-like in their intricacy and craftsmanship.
Andreu Carulla Studio and Jennifer Gray have both designed and made conceptual pieces that employ the use of tactile materials like aluminium and jesmonite. Lynne MacLachlan’s 3D printed nylon neckpiece demonstrates that high-tech design can embody timeless elegance. Gabriella Marcella’s Balancing Act illustrates design’s playful side while Natalie J Wood’s minimalist yet functional Detsu water carafe can be enjoyed by the First Minister’s visitors and guests in a practical way.
The collection provides an opportunity to promote the industry, process, place and people behind Scottish design. As a changing collection it is intended to be an evolving environment that demonstrates Scotland’s diverse, modern and world class design community.
Clive Gillman, Director of Creative Industries, Creative Scotland, said: “This collection not only celebrates the richness of design practice in Scotland today, it also demonstrates the range of ideas and origins that form Scotland’s design community. From technical sophistication to spectacular aesthetics, this work reflects the wealth of ideas and the breadth of influences that exist in Scotland today. Emblematic of Scotland’s desire to be understood as an open, contemporary, creative place.”
Designer Juli Bolaños-Durman said: “This is a great opportunity to not only showcase the level of contemporary craftsmanship and design in Scotland, but more importantly, using this direct platform with decision-makers to highlight the importance of creativity on wellbeing, fostering joyfulness and the future of education; moving forward from the knowledge-based to a more dynamic non-traditional learning, fostering collaboration, empathy, values and problem solving. I believe creating a space for play, thinking with our hands and fostering joy is vital.”
The First Minister’s Local Heroes collection is made possible with the support of the National Lottery through Creative Scotland and will be exhibited within the First Minister’s personal office at The Scottish Parliament.
The collection can be viewed online at localheroes.design
2 April 2019
WHY CRAFTS MATTERS
The intersection of craft and utility at the inaugural Harewood House biennial and the opening of retailer Galeries Lafayette’s latest space in Paris.
Useful/Beautiful exhibition at Yorkshire stately home asks if craft is still relevant today
by Ali Morris
Photography Jonty Wilde
'El modelo actual de consumismo no es sostenible. Yo quiero usar materiales de deshecho y transformarlos en algo precioso que cuente una historia nueva'.
Por: Ana Eugenia Rodríguez
We speak to Glass Artist and Hothouse17 Maker Juli Bolaños-Durman
Juli is an emerging Latin American Designer with a background in Graphic Design, she pairs this with mixed media and a recent immersion into glass to create vibrant, characterful vessels.
Juli has been selected for Hothouse, the Crafts Council's Talent Development Programme for emerging makers. Find out more about Hothouse
Jun 26, 2017
Marcin Rusak, Juli Bolaños-Durman, Laura Youngson Coll, Jessica Harrison and Sam Bakewell unveil new work made with support from the Jerwood Makers Open.
With a background in graphic design and mixed media, designer Juli Bolanos-Durman’s approach to research and the creative process of design is multifaceted. Her practice includes repurposing found objects and transforming them into precious artefacts that tell a story.
The intent of this workshop is to tackle ideas and development rather than construction of a final piece. A different approach to the creation of new ideas will be taken by using the ‘Quick Project’ method further developed by Juli after taking a masterclass in 2012 with mixed media artist Michiko Miyake. By allowing the mind to access the creative process without judgment, pressure reduces and the idea of play provokes the creation of new ideas.
Pictured: 'Animalitos' Collection 2009
Photo: Agustín Fallas 2010
Five new commissions by early-career applied artists Sam Bakewell, Marcin Rusak, Laura Youngson Coll, Juli Bolaños-Durman and Jessica Harrison brought about through the biennial Jerwood Makers Open. Each combines a high level of technical skill with imagination and intellectual adventure, constituting a fresh and exciting direction of each artist’s work.
Design Miami Dec 2016
‘'…The New Craftsmen and Crafts Council UK co-curated the installation with architect and interior designer Natalia Miyar, who was raised in Miami and runs her transatlantic atelier from there and London. Works were selected to "resonate with the Miami landscape".
Photography: Jessica Glynn
Report London Design Festival 2016
MADE IN LONDON, by Grant Gibson
Craft was hard to avoid at this year's London Design Festival, 17-25 September.
Cog Design created the promotional material for this year’s international art fair Collect, presented by the Crafts Council. The fair sells contemporary craft in 35 galleries across the world, and comes to the Saatchi Gallery, London 8-11 May.
‘Sandia’ from the Solace Collection
Juli Bolanos-Durman, 2014.
Photo by Shannon Tofts.
Represented at Collect 2015 by Joanna Bird.
'The former Graphic Designer, who studied a Masters in Fine Art Glass at Edinburgh College of Art, has gained a reputation for giving a precious quality to discarded glass...'
PRECIOUS & PLAYFUL
'How do we, as designers and artists, repurpose found materials that people are about to discard?'
Photogrpahy: Shannon Tofts
Words: Katie Treggiden
Photography: Suki Dhanda
'Blurring the line between art and ecological design, Bolaños-Durman's recycled glass vessels really caught our eye. .."I enjoy reusing materials. It is a personal challenge to see the potential in ordinary objects"...'
BRITISH GLASS BIENNALE 2015
A V&A and Crafts Council exhibition, 25 April – 27 September, 2015
By: Keith Cummings
THIS exhibition is the sixth British Glass Biennale to be held in Stourbridge at the Ruskin Mill Glass centre. During its 10-year existence it has established itself as the premier show- case for individual studio glass, produced by artists who are currently resident in the British Isles. All the exhibits are jury selected from an open application, and organised into artist and student categories, both of whom compete for a range of different awards and prizes, of which there is a total of eight, all of them in the gift of a variety of donors, including the Worshipful Company of Glass sellers award, the London Glass- blowers award for emerging talent, and the National Glass Centre’s emerging artist residency. This is in addition to the Biennale Best in Show Award. 1
An analysis of the exhibitors shows some interesting trends: the 74 exhibitors, 45 female to 19 male, are divided into 61 established makers and 13 students, 19 of whom list their country of origin from outside the British Isles, from a total of 17 different countries. This reflects two things; firstly, despite recent cuts, the importance of Britain as a continuing centre of glass making and education, and secondly the global nature of the studio glass movement. In the European Coburg Glaspreis exhibition in 2014, of the 150 exhibitors 40 were from Britain, by far the largest contingent.
The Biennale exhibition continues for four weeks, and shares its first week with the International FeStival of Glass which comprises a variety of activities centred on the Ruskin Mill and Stourbridge locale. These include Master classes in
a range of glass skills, led by truly international practitioners, which this year included Dante Marioni, Cappy Thompson, Penny Rakov and Michael Brennand-Wood. Local venues included Broadfield House Glass Museum, which hosted an exhibition of contemporary Hungarian Glass, and the nearby University of Wolverhampton, that houses one of the Britain’s major undergraduate and postgraduate glass departments.
The curator and individual jury members vary with each Biennale, and clearly its make-up effects the criteria used in the selection pro- cess, and the final make up of the show; in this case perhaps resulting in the selection of a greater number of sculptural pieces than in past Biennale exhibitions.
As an exhibition devoted exclusively to artefacts made from glass this show shares many characteristics with similar evens worldwide. The material unites a range of object types and individual approaches that do not necessarily have much else in common. Decorative and domestic-scale artefacts rub shoulders with large sculptural ones, examples of series production with unique, highly personal statements. This is also true of technique and scale, from tiny pâte-de-verre ves- sels to large-scale assemblages that which fill large areas, and involve light, movement and animation. The catalogue makes no attempt to reflect this, nor to group similar exhibits into categories, preferring the simplicity of alphabetical order. Care has to be taken, when looking at the catalogue images to keep in mind the huge disparities in scale between exhibits.
In his recent book Keeping an Eye Open, Julian Barnes talks of art as ‘a hub airport with multiple destinations’, this, for me, describes this exhibition, which is also typical of others of its kind. This makes it very difficult to apply a coherent set of criteria on the judgement of diverse exhibits, and one has to follow each object to its destination to do this. It’s always dangerous, in my opinion, when the material is allowed to come between the object and its true category. The question arises, for example, of whether a glass sculpture could hold its own in a show of mainline sculpture, or whether it exists in a separate category, protected by the novelty of its material. It can, and is often argued that this is just a matter of semantics and is therefore irrelevant to judgement of quality. I would counter that category does matter because it is this that determines and describes the maker’s intention, and crucially, ultimately indicates the criteria by which it should be judged. Artists were asked, when submitting their entries, to indicate where their works fitted ie. Sculpture, Decorative Art or Design. In this show there are examples of the maker moving from the mate- rial into a different category, often sculpture, and others moving in the other direction.
The Biennale exhibition contains the usual full gamut of expressive glass products. Apart from the mate- rial itself and the characteristics of the main forming methods, a more or less universal characteristic is the individual pursuit of creative expression. This includes works of a personal nature, that often possess a universal characteristic of expressive glass globally. There is sometimes a clash between novelty and true significance, where the fragility of glass paradoxically ensures its survival.
This particular approach has long roots, like the famous Syrian enamelled beaker The Luck of Edenhall, brought back from the crusades and becoming a family talisman; such items surviving because, rather than despite their unique and fragile nature. The theme of the container or vessel featured in many works and
I was reminded of the way in which writers in fascist regimes buried their works in glass containers to ensure their survival. In Katya Izabel Filmus’ piece the quality of glass, and the way it is utilised is entirely appropriate, and the result is a con- vincing and powerful work.
With the artist striving for an easily recognisable visual identity through an original approach to the mate- rial, Ashbee’s famous statement: ‘Art that is one person deep is too thin to survive’ comes to mind. While an ostentatious break with all tradition appears, on the surface, to be a requisite for originality it can finish up at the dead end of Ashbee’s warning; and the best works here don’t turn their backs on the past completely.
The range of forming methods on display varies enormously both in technically terms and it the application of the individual skills. Water- jet cutting and computer generated imagery sit next to the more traditional techniques of blowing, cutting and kiln-forming.
I began my involvement with glass over 50 years ago, and have therefore witnessed the whole development of the studio glass movement. From the naive experiments of the early sixties, glass has greatly expanded in scope and ambition. This exhibition contains some approaches and ideas which are both original and well used, particularly in the work of the recent graduates and students, which clearly indicates that movement is far from running out of creative steam.