Vanessa Barragão, textile artist from Portugal. Photo © Ruben Guerreiro

1.Tell us what you do and your beginnings.

I realized my passion for handmade textiles during my fashion design course. After finishing it, I decided to focus entirely in textiles instead of garments. I started developing my work at home, while I browsed for work in the area. I eventually started working in a rugs factory up in the north of Portugal, where I learnt more about the textile business and new techniques to apply into my pieces, that I never stopped working on.

Through time, I started receiving a bigger flow of commissions. Space was running short at home, which eventually led me to open my own studio, in Porto. That way, I was also able to source more discarded wool from local factories and store it and to develop big scale artworks!

Nostalgia Series, 2020 © Studio Vanessa Barragão

2.What does your work aim to say?

I intend to pass quite a few messages with my works… the most important and that I’m more passionate about is how urgent is the need to change some of our daily actions and routines, raising awareness to it and to how we should be more thoughtful about the harmful impact some of our habits may cause on our environment have and of course, the importance of preserving local crafts, bringing back ancestral techniques, handmade manufacturing processes, and of course, upcycling for a healthier planet.