Vanessa Barragão’s work materialises the subject of sustainability through textile art. Significantly, her large-scale works and tapestries are deeply inspired by nature and are rooted in a fully-sustainable approach. Within her creative, organic, and meditative process, she employs an ecological handmade method, which involves recycling wasted materials from Portuguese factories, and transforming them into marine gardens through various traditional techniques, such as crochet, weaving, embroidery, and macramé, involving local communities.
Having worked as a textile designer in a handmade carpet factory, Vanessa early perfected many of her skills and acquired an in-depth knowledge of the textile industry. Her work is closely linked to the sea and a sense of respect for the underwater world and biodiversity. Having grown by the sea and coral reefs, she became aware of the beauty and importance of the underwater environment and the alarming speed of its degradation due to human impact, particularly through the textile industry (often associated with high levels of pollution). This awareness led Vanessa Barragão to seek an ecological approach to the production of textile art, making her work both a manifest and an awareness tool.