Vanessa T Cunningham is a third generation textile artist living in beautiful British Columbia. Her mother and both grandmotherʼs passed their vast knowledge of colour, texture, weaving, sewing and design down to her starting at a very young age. Weaving has been a major influence in Vanessaʼs life since the age of seven when her Opa made her a nail loom to create handwoven squares on.
In 2001 her Oma, Klazina van Veenen passed away and left her the prized 1968 Glmakra loom along with a Friederich Traub Spinning Wheel and a vast collection of vintage yarns. In 2005 Vanessa began a two-year Textile Arts Diploma at Capilano College in North Vancouver. There she focused on weaving while learning various dye and surface design techniques from an inspiring faculty. It was at the end of the Program in 2007 that she created ʻGreen Grassʼ wrap for her second year weaving course with Ruth Schueing and there began the line of Serendipity Wraps. In 2008 she graduated and was awarded the Circle Craft end of Program Scholarship.
Vanessaʼs work is an exploration of nature and technology through colour and texture in a weaving format. Each wearable art wrap is approached individually. After gathering feltable and un-feltable yarns in the colour palette she is working for that project she creates a warp. The warp is strung on the 65” wide Glmakra Loom and rolled to the appropriate tension. After hand-weaving and felting the wrap, Vanessa sews each title onto the edge of the wrap using scrabble letters rescued from thrift stores.
All of the thrums or scraps are saved for sewing into scarves and wraps using a free-motion machine embroidery technique. All of the woolen thrums are spun into yarn for future weaving projects and all of the fluff that washes out of the wraps in the felting process is felted into pearls and are part of Vanessaʼs new line of Felted Pearl Accessories.
Vanessa T Cunningham sells and has Thrumming It!! demonstrations at Circle Craft Co-op on Granville Island. She also sells at Favourite Gifts in the Lonsdale Quay and Leslie Jane Clothing in West Vancouver. She exhibited at the Christmas Market in 2008 and 2010, 2011 and 2012 and will be there again this November. She has also had exhibits at the Circle Craft Co-op Gallery and at the Foyer Gallery in Squamish. Online Vanessa has a shop on etsy.com where she has sold internationally.
Each piece is created one at a time and
contains only 10 warps of Vanessa’s
They are then felted so that the wool
shrinks and the non-wool crinkles and
natural collars appear and the whole
As a special signature scrabble tiles
are sewn onto each piece with its name.
Eleganzas are free motion machine
embroidered using all the thrums
(scraps) left over from the weaving
Oma left the loom to Vanessa to start her on
her career and Vanessa is very grateful for
this generous gift and in turn hopes to share
her knowledge with those of all ages.
Short Wrap 230