Vanessa is an artist and designer based in East Sussex, England. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) and is currently Principal Lecturer at the University of Brighton. Her work is underpinned by visual design-theory and process, yet embraces an intuitive and physical approach that facilitates self-authorship, which she explores predominantly through hand-stitch and creative writing. She is drawn to cloth as a medium that holds the legacy of so-called women’s work and its potential for subversion and quiet activism. She is best known for her hand embroidered dusting cloths, which form part of an ongoing collaborative arts project ‘Women & Domesticity – What’s your Perspective?’ that invites embroidered statements on this theme. Her work has been exhibited and presented widely in academic, community and arts contexts in the UK. Vanessa regularly participates in collaborative, creative and research projects, and never stops learning, making and writing.
"What if it had all been so different?" (2021)
Quilts are synonymous with comfort, warmth and home. When we think of a quilt we think of our personal domestic space, of our beds, our children’s cribs, of cosy nights, of sleep and of intimate union. The time it takes to make a handmade quilt is also an act that holds the care and thought of the maker. It evokes memories, perhaps of those who made it or in the witnessing of favourite fabrics, pieced into a patchwork of colours. The posing of a question within this context of comfort is unsettling. The quilt lulls us into a sense of security, which is immediately upended. The ambiguity of the question unsettles us further too. We wonder what happened, why ‘different’ is asked; did they wish for something else? It suggests a story past, an experience remembered. We wonder if perhaps it was something intimate, based on our knowing of this cloth. Perhaps it was loss, perhaps love, perhaps a child. We are invited to fill in the gaps ourselves, to insert our own uncomfortable memories into the void. To be wrapped in a quilt is to be cosy, to be asked about ‘different’ in that context is uncomfortable.
Lap-sized quilt available for purchase
Make an offer between $430-500
If you'd like to make a purchase during your time at COZY. Please contact Jessica at 0421286669