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Inspired by the ocean

Vanessa Barragão is sending ripples through the world of design, art and fashion. Her large-scale textile wall hangings and rugs, bursting with colour and texture are having a moment

Vanessa Barragão Artisan - ©Vanessa Barragão Studio

Vanessa Barragão is sending ripples through the world of design, art and fashion. Her large-scale textile wall hangings and rugs, bursting with colour and texture are having a moment. Her nature-inspired tapestries are bringing life to the white walls of gallery spaces, transforming shop windows into works of art, and adding statements to interior spaces. The young Portuguese talent is making a name for herself for both her artistic abilities and sustainable approach.

From her studio in Albufeira, the seaside city in Southern Portugal where she grew up, Vanessa handcrafts her textile creations using ancestral techniques and an ecological artisanal process, which involves recycling wasted yarns and transforming them into artistic marine gardens. To make her textural pieces, Vanessa employs a variety of traditional textile forms such as crochet, latch hook, weaving, embroidery and macramé with materials sourced from the deadstock of Portuguese factories.

Her creative process is both organic and meditative. It requires precise hand gestures, and a dedicated and passionate philosophy. As a graduate fashion designer, Vanessa fostered her early interest in textiles working in Porto as a textile designer in an artisanal rug factory, here she honed her skills and learned a lot about the textile industry. She established her first studio in 2018 to dedicate her time fully to creating pieces, which resonated with her personal philosophy.

“I love design, arts, textiles, sculpture and the ocean! So I started making the tapestries inspired by the sea and the corals.” – Vanessa Barragão

Her ethos is one that is closely linked to the sea and her love and respect for the underwater world and its biodiversity. From her upbringing by the sea and her visits to the coral reefs, she was struck by both the beauty of the marine environment and by the alarming speed of its degradation due to human impact. This consciousness has led her to pursue a sustainable approach to textiles, an industry which is often associated with high pollution. Through her soulful art, Vanessa seeks to raise awareness and encourage a sense of human responsibility in remedying the danger facing oceans and the incredible natural beauty of the earth’s marine life.

Vanessa Barragão Artisan - ©Vanessa Barragão Studio Notes to editors

Michelangelo Foundation for Creativity and Craftsmanship is an international non-profit organisation based in Geneva, Switzerland, which was set up to celebrate and preserve master craftsmanship around the world and strengthen its connection to design. Rooted in a tradition of culture and excellence and in the realities and challenges of today’s global economy, the foundation aims to support those who dedicate themselves to the pursuit of master craftsmanship and to foster a new cultural movement built around the values that are essential for their work. The foundation focuses on Europe as a starting point for its activities, in recognition that craftsmanship has been a vital part of the economic and cultural fabric of the region for centuries, providing both a rich heritage and a competitive advantage in a global world.

#EverydayExcellence - discover more artisans and the special stories behind their unique masterpieces, through a series of digital initiatives, which place the focus on craftspeople. With Instagram takeovers, step into the world of masters artisans, learning about their creative processes, studios, tools and personal journeys of creativity and craftsmanship.

Vanessa Barragão was born in Albufeira, Portugal. She followed an undergraduate and master’s degree in fashion design at University in Lisbon. In 2016, she moved to Porto and worked as a textile designer for an artisanal rug company, creating personal projects from home and in 2018 opened her first studio to dedicate herself full-time to textile art. In 2020, she moved back to her hometown of Albufeira and set up a new studio.

#EverydayExcellence - Vanessa Barragão Vanessa Barragão Artisan©Agnese Morganti Vanessa Barragão Artisan©Agnese Morganti Vanessa Barragão Artisan©Vanessa Barragão Studio Vanessa Barragão Artisan©Vanessa Barragão Studio