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Textile Artist Vanessa Barragão

A Love For The Sea

Vanessa Barragao textiles
Vanessa Barragão is an ecological textile artist based in Portugal. She started her own design studio in 2014, using only recycled or otherwise discarded yarns to create her artwork. She creates artisanal tapestries, rugs and wall hangings made using various hand-crafted textile techniques. Building her pieces by hand, she combines crochet, weaving, knitting, felting and hand-tufting; creating a magical 3D world in textiles. The organic textures, tactile nature and incredible layers of her art resemble the ocean and their coral reefs, perfectly capturing the beauty of marine life.
Growing up in the Portuguese seaside, Vanessa has an immense fascination for the ocean and all its creatures. She describes being both fascinated and terrified of its depths as a kid, imagining a dark and unruly underworld.

Vanessa Barragao textiles
Vanessa Barragao textiles
The textile industry is one of the most polluting in the world.
Through her fashion and textiles studies at Lisbon University, Vanessa began to increasingly become weary of the textile industry and the damage it can cause. She wanted to be part of the solution, not the problem.
Driven by a need to create an awareness to this environmental damage, she decided to venture away from the fashion industry and create art-based textile pieces that are as environmentally friendly as possible. Now based in Porto, Vanessa has created an innovative recycling system for dead-stock yarn. Partnering with the textile factories in her local area, residual fibres left from production are collected and cleaned before being selected by Vanessa to use in her projects.

Vanessa Barragao textiles

It's not just the recycled fibres used in Vanessa’s work that help to raise environmental awareness.  In her latest piece “Coral Garden” (pictured above) she depicts the damage to the coral reefs, such as bleaching and the effects of chemicals released into the oceans, through colour.  Through her yarns are recycled, the installation visually demonstrates the effects of pollution on the reefs.  Starting with vibrant and saturated tones to depict the healthy ocean, the tapestry’s colours slowly fade to muted neutrals to embody the coral’s bleach damage.

Vanessa Barragao textiles

Keeping Craft Alive

Vanessa was always surrounded by creativity as a child as her grandmothers were both knitters. They taught her how to knit and crochet, so she has a deep rooted connection with textiles from a young age. When studying fashion design in Lisbon, Vanessa focused on handmade and artisanal techniques to produce and create her own textiles.
For Vanessa, it is really important to keep these artisanal techniques in use, so they don’t die out and become a forgotten past-time. The slow process of her craft oft en mimics the growth of healthy coral, a similarity she loves to draw to her art. Making the process of her textile pieces visible to her followers on Instagram, she garners a huge following as people love to watch her artwork grow.
Vanessa now splits her time between creating hanging tapestries for exhibitions in her studio and collaborating as a textile designer for local artisanal rug companies. We can’t wait to see what’s next for Vanessa and her studio!

Vanessa Barragao textilesVanessa Barragao textiles
 ***All images are a curated selection from Vanessa’s Website or Instagram:
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