Vanessa Barragao is literally the Ocean. She's the wonder of the quirkiest shaped colourful creatures that live in the deepest depths of the ocean seemingly motionless. The perennial structure. The life that surfaces from the waves into the sunlight allowing us to leisurely watch closely and so in awe that we can almost imagine being down there, at the bottom of that blue abyssal that we’re attracted to but also scared of. This is just one of the reasons why Vanessa Barragao caught my eye.
Another of Vanessa’s traits that I really like is her concern for the environment, in particular, the ocean and its inhabitants. Which is why Vanessa uses waste textile material to make her amazing tapestries. Basically, the textile factories in her area, select and wash the residual fibres before delivering them to Vanessa who then turns them into art. Isn’t that awesome? Vanessa used crochet, felt and basketry techniques for her textile works, which we’ll also come across in the piece which was made for DHG.
Vanessa has made a tapestry with warm and captivating colours for us. There's purple, violet, blue and cream tones, with shells and corals and as well as using textile waste she has included our Merino Wool Tops too. Resulting in an excellent mix of shades, shapes and materials.
Read the interview to get to know this outstanding textile artist even better.
Where did your passion for textile art come from?
During my childhood I was deeply in contact with textiles and artisanal techniques due to my grandmothers, who are knitters and do a lot of crochet and this influenced me so much. When I started university in Fashion Design, I decided to focus in handmade and artisanal techniques to produce and create my own textiles.
Why is the coral reef the preferred subject of your masterpieces?
I love the sea and all marine life. Ever since I was kid, the deep ocean has intrigued and fascinated me but also scared me due to its immense darkness. For me the coral reefs are the most impressive and diverse ecosystem in Earth.
What do you do on a daily basis to try to preserve the nature surrounding us?
Upcycle! I always look for wasted materials to create my artworks and try to show my mindset to others when I create a piece, and for me it's super important to create an artwork that transmits the vision of the artist. Each piece I create is indeed a part of me. And it's so rewarding to create something with the waste.. you have to adapt your creations to what you encounter.
What does it mean to be an artist today?
I believe that an artist is indeed a voice so it means that he/she needs to be sensitive about the present hazards of our world, being the environmental one the main issue because if it isn't fixed, a bunch of other problems of social, political and economical nature will arise with immense gravity. One must expose and act in an attempt to raise awareness among an ever-growing crowd so that hopefully that same issue is properly tackled continuously to achieve the balance that our planet demands. In the end, I truly think that an artist needs to be capable of uniting people towards a common goal.
A book that’s changed your life?
I love reading about astrology. I am super interested about the wonders of life, and how the cosmos influences us depending on their place they are. I read a lot about this matter and all the books are unique for me, so I think all of them have improved me somehow.
Vanessa’s piece has now been added to our private collection and we couldn’t be more thrilled!