Art and science are not mutually exclusive; if anything, science and art are integrally connected to one another. Artists have long been inspired by nature, by animals and plants, and by the intricate detail that can be seen in the natural world. From painters to writers, poets, woodcarvers, and more, art and nature go hand in hand.
An artist from Portugal named Vanessa Barragão has created a unique map tapestry of the world inspired by nature. Her art has connected the beauty she finds in the world’s ecosystems with traditional tapestry techniques. Her piece, called Botanical Tapestry, is now on display at Terminal 2 of London’s bustling Heathrow Airport. The tapestry was commissioned to celebrate a partnership between Heathrow Airport and London’s Kew Gardens.
Gathering Inspiration from Nature
This tapestry is Barragão’s largest tapestry created in her career so far, at a width of 20 feet. Instead of showcasing just one particular ecosystem, she wove a map of the world showing the diversity and beauty that can be found in every corner. Colored yard and other textiles were used to create depth and movement in the piece, which took 520 hours to complete. Over 18 lbs. of jute and cotton fabric and 93 lbs. of recycled wool were used in the tapestry.
Her weaving techniques included latch hooking yarn, crocheting, as well as felt needle work to create depth and texture. While she used warmer colors and a tighter weave to represent arid environments like Australia or the African Sahara Desert, deeper greens and a looser weave represented the lush rainforests of South America and the temperate rainforests of North America. Crocheted flowers, corals, and other designs shed light on unique plants and environments on land and in the sea. She created vibrant depth in the oceans to bring light to the endangered corals, animals, and ecosystems present in our most valuable natural resource, the world’s seas.
Barragão wanted to create a work of art that showed how connected the world is, as well as its belonging to everyone and everything in it.
Taggart, Emma. Artist Spends 520 Hours Reimagining World Map as a Giant 20-Foot-Wide Tapestry. 6 August, 2019. Retrieved from https://mymodernmet.com/botanical-tapestry-vanessa-barragao/