Porto-based textile artist Vanessa Barragão is known for her nature-inspired textile art that celebrates the beauty of the world’s ecosystems. Her latest piece, titled Botanical Tapestry, is her largest to date, and represents not just part of the Earth’s landscape, but the entire map of the world.
The 20-foot-wide tapestry was developed to commemorate the partnership between London’s Heathrow Airport and Kew Gardens. Installed in the airport’s Terminal 2 departure area, globe-trotting guests can admire how Barragão has visualized our oceans and lands in colorful yarn. The impressive, handmade piece took 520 hours to weave and comprises 8kg (18 lbs.) of jute and cotton and a colossal 42kg (93 lbs.) of recycled wool. “This was the biggest artwork I ever created,” Barragão tells My Modern Met. “I hope all could understand the message present in this piece, the world belongs to everyone and we have to preserve it.”
Barragão used many traditional techniques to achieve the variation in texture, including latch hook, crochet, and felt needle. The artist reveals, “There are visible all the colors present in our continents and oceans and some threatened species like the coral reefs and some plants around the world.” While the deserts of Australia and Africa are depicted in warm-hued, low-pile weaves, the lush rainforests of South America are rendered in shaggy fringes in varying shades of green. The surrounding textile oceans feature three-dimensional crochet structures, representing coral reefs.
Scroll down to check out images of Barragão’s stunning Botanical Tapestry and find more of her work on her website.