Dolores Furtado

Glass, Paper, Resin, Ceramics

Brooklyn, New York

Studio Visit


Dolores Furtado, a Brooklyn based artist originally from Argentina, documents her journey of material experimentation through her work. This long winding journey has taken her through periods of resin, paper pulp, glassblowing, and ceramics; all of which have helped bring her closer to understanding the world and herself. We had the chance to sit down with Dolores recently and speak about her explorations of nature, life, eroticism, and what comes after all this.

You’ve worked with resin, paper, glass, ceramics, etc. and it seems like you’re always looking for a new material to work with. Are you particularly drawn to any of those materials over the others in terms of what it expresses? What do you plan on using next?

In my work I use a wide variety of materials, and I like to have an experimental approach while working, as if it was the first time using it. That’s how I discover interesting things about materials. Materials and processes are connected. While I learned the traditional mold making techniques, I like to create different ways of making molds, and building in general.

I don’t see myself choosing one materials over another. I think I will always be working with many. Using always the same one, you become an expert in that materials, and there’s not so much exploring anymore. I know this is not the case for every artist, but that’s how it works to me. It’s interesting to think about materials and describe what they express. In my world, paper is connected to the earth (erosion); glass is connected to the sky (beyond human); resin in connected to fluids (river); metals to the center of the earth (core). My next works are going to be ceramics. Ceramics are connected to the elemental (survival instinct).

What does your material research look like? For example, when you started with resin how did you first approach it?

Resin was the first material that I worked with. I was drawn to transparency, and the possibility of working on my own (no kiln needed). I learned to make plaster molds first, and then silicone molds. I tried many different ways of using it, both casted and laminated. I prefer glass over resin, although they have different possibilities. I still use both.

Could you describe your experience having a residency at Urban Glass? What sorts of resources and learnings did you gain from your time there?

The Urban Glass residency was an amazing experience. I didn’t have any knowledge of glassmaking when I started, but you have an entire year to learn, which is very uncommon in New York. Some artists use the residency to take classes and gain experience with the material. In my case, I developed a body of work, thanks to the help of their great group of technicians. Having access to their studio and being able to try so many different techniques is a unique opportunity. There are not so many residencies in New York focused on materials. I absolutely loved doing this residency.

Your sculptures are almost like a documentation of the process, how does that journey look different between your different materials? What stays the same?

Even if I work with different materials most of my works are made through mold making. The process creates the piece, which keeps growing and changing until it sets. Depending on the material, that process could be longer, some works have many molds. Everything stays in the piece, I don’t erase or eliminate any part after demolding.

It seems like a vital aspect of your work for it to be hand crafted. What is the significance of that to you?

Material and process are the most important things. All my works are explorations of certain material. I work with organic shapes because I often get inspired by nature, and my language is Imperfection. I’m interested in hand craft because it’s a direct transmission of energy and involving my own body is important to me. Having said that, I don’t rule out using technology in the future if I find the right channel.

For your Lover sculpture, could you describe the start to end process from ideation to finished product?

I was working on a series of erotic works, made by irregular informal pieces of clay. Even when almost all of the pieces in that series were abstract, you could see some traces of body parts imprinted into the works. Lover was the last piece of the series, and the one that got closer to look like a real torso.

I made a model with clay, then I made a mold of the piece, and then the glass gets blown into the mold. It was a pretty big mold for glass. During blowing, the mold cracked (it didn’t break), so you were able to see the air getting inside the mold and expanding, it was like the torso was breathing. The breathing left many marks in the piece, if you look closer they look like veins or rivers.

You’re not afraid of color in your sculptures, as with Lover. What is your philosophy when it comes to color in your sculpture? Do you already have the final color planned out before you start?

I use bright colors and at the same time I have many brown, white, and black works. Some works are extroverted while others are introverted. Some works require a state of inner calmness, that’s when I use silent colors. With the silent colors it’s easier to see subtle changes of porosity and the accidents of the surface. In general, I know the color I will use before the start, but, with certain materials, the color changes a lot in the process, like with ceramics.

You have expressed before that you often work on your own and are not part of a movement, in what ways are you a modern artist?

I’m a contemporary artist because I work in this moment, in this context. I look for clues in the past pretty often though. Life is getting more disconnected from the body, we live in our heads more and more.