Juli Bolaños-Durman, a Costa Rican artist based in Edinburgh, never truly knows how her sculptures (made using both found and blown glass) will turn out.

“Instead of trying to force myself to be perfect in terms of composition, I prefer the work to challenge and evoke a sense of naivety and that childlike wonder of creating … almost like playing with Lego,” Juli, 38, explains.

“I measure each piece by eye and most finish being a bit crooked with different postures and look almost like figurines.

HeraldScotland: Shannon ToftsShannon Tofts (Image: ShannonTofts)

“With my work you either like it or you don’t, and that’s fine, I’m happy even if just makes someone chuckle and remind them of that childhood curiosity and joy.”

After gaining a degree in Graphic Design in Costa Rica, and studying briefly in New York, Juli located to Edinburgh to complete a Master of Fine Art degree. Working from Edinburgh’s trendy Custom Lane – a co-working centre for designers and artists to collaborate – Juli creates vivid glass pieces that are instantly attention-grabbing.

Her unique and quirky collections cover a variety of themes, from her Wild Flowers series to her Ode to Intuición Series. Juli has been kept busy as of late as she creates commissions for gallery exhibitions from all around the world. She sells her work through exhibitions or via enquires made on her website or Instagram page.

HeraldScotland: Shannon ToftsShannon Tofts (Image: Shannon Tofts)

No matter the project, Juli ensures one core element of her work is maintained.

“The reason I like to use recycled glass is to share a commentary on the current ecological crisis,” she says.

“We do need beauty in our lives, but I don’t want my work to be just pretty and not say anything, so it’s a poetic act of rebellion in the sense that it’s aesthetically pleasing yet it has a strong ethos behind it as it’s more about inviting the audience to see the potential in the waste around them and how this can be reimagined. It’s about viewing waste as having great potential to be precious once again.”

HeraldScotland: Shannon ToftsShannon Tofts (Image: Shannon Tofts)

After Edinburgh College of Art formally merged with The University of Edinburgh, Juli admits she has help sourcing glass offcuts from the art college. She also acquires glass waste from other artists, gin and whisky distilleries, and some recycled bottles even from her part-time job at Aesop.

She also has access to Edinburgh Art College machinery where she preps her work by cutting and engraving the glass, mostly using a lathe.

HeraldScotland: Shannon ToftsShannon Tofts (Image: Shannon Tofts)

“When working on a project, I might choose a theme and then work on that for six months,” she says. “I build myself a timeline otherwise I could go on forever creating pieces. After a collection is complete high-res images are then taken, it’s finalised then I’ll launch a press release to promote the work.”

One recent show that Juli is particularly proud of is titled ‘Our Common Humanity’ which was commissioned by Edinburgh and Lothian’s Health Foundation for The Royal Edinburgh Hospital and is currently showcased within the Scottish Parliament.

HeraldScotland: Shannon ToftsShannon Tofts (Image: Shannon Tofts)

“It’s my largest installations to date,” Juli points out. “For the show I did for parliament there was a lot of blood, sweat and tears. It has an imposing presence in the building and encourages people to appreciate waste from a different stance. The light and shadows look incredible – even an old jam jar made it into one of the sculptures.

“As an international artist based here, I just feel so privileged to be considered for these types of opportunities.

HeraldScotland: Vivian SarkeyVivian Sarkey (Image: Vivian Sarkey)

“People think that being an artist is to be naturally talented, but actually talent is just 10% and the rest is determination … and trusting your gut!”

Juli is exhibiting her pieces as part of the Re.Use, Re.Think, Re.Imagine exhibition at Hauser & Wirth in Somerset and her next installation will be at Harewood House Trust in Leeds.

www.julibd.com