“By slowing down, going back to basics and making something with our hands like our ancestors did to survive…”
What are you working on during lockdown?
When the lockdown happened, I found myself really stressed listening to the uncertainty of it all in the news, so I decided that for my mental health I would turn them off and started to draw and colour. For me, this is an activity that I have enjoyed since I can remember, and thanks to my studio practice, I have made it a ritual that allows my nervous system to calm myself, self-regulate from a space of hope and joy; now more than ever. But when I started to share these exercises on my social media, I realised my audience responded to these and thought to myself how I could support an international community from my perspective. This is how #StayCreative with Juli was born, fostering community at heart by focusing our energy on what we CAN control and that is our actions and the blank piece of paper in front of us. These are a series of free activities such as illustrations for you to trace, download or print and make 3D sculptures using materials from your recycle bin. I have put together some videos for the audience to join me in staying creative and tapping into this powerful tool. Find out more at www.julibd.com/staycreative
Also, I have been strategizing on how I can use this time to develop a new line under my studio practice umbrella that could give me more flexibility working from home, instead of my usual glass sculptures that need specific specialised machinery, studio space and team-work. Here is where drawing comes into again. I want to continue to push forward my illustration by promoting more pattern making projects, wallpaper design and illustrate short stories for kids focusing on themes of resilience, vulnerability and creativity during uncertain times. Hopefully, this will bring in new projects and clients while indirectly promoting my overall creative practice helping to weather the storm. By focusing my energies on activities that give me hope and not being run over by the fear of it all. But most importantly, fostering more community engagement, the value of non-formal education and how we can use creativity as a vehicle for innovation.
What is inspiring you at the moment?
This pandemic has reinforced my curiosity and methodology to be even more resilient and resourceful, using what we do have around us working from home and having a positive contribution. This is an opportunity that invites us to see things from a different perspective and how we can give a second chance to waste material to become a symbol of revival and authenticity.
Also, watching how the community has come together to support one another and the courageous task the essential workers have taken on. I want to be a part of a caring community and contribute from my perspective for a better system moving forward.
How might craft help us rebuild a better future?
In a world where we can no longer compete with machines, our education systems need to be modified from teaching facts to thinking with our hands. By promoting a persistent spirit of inquiry and resilience, guiding us into adapting to these uncertain times and building a more just world filled with beauty for everyone to appreciate. Craft is one of these tools which must be put at the forefront and invested in.
Every time we make/mend something, it is a poetic act of rebellion, a challenge to our current consumer habits and the status quo; now more poignant than ever. By slowing down, going back to basics and making something with our hands like our ancestors did to survive. By connecting to this visceral bond between the maker/ material and how this playful methodology is a tool to foster joy; a powerful life-force that can only be fostered within ourselves to share and create a better world.
– Juli Bolaños-Durman, May 2020