Joana Vasconcelos is a Portuguese artist who creates masterpieces with fiber arts and more – from sewing to crocheting to knitting to weaving, and also sculpting and creating masterpieces with metal and plastic.
All of her work, including her crochet work, weaves together themes of womanhood, femininity, strength, and societal roles. Her art challenges people to look at what defines women and women’s art and to question any assumptions made about those things.
Check out her Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and website for a full look at her body of work.
Crochet Artist: Joana Vasconcelos
Joana Vasconcelos Biography
According to the bio on her website, Joana Vasconcelos was born in Paris in 1971 but moved to Portugal where her studio now is.
She studied visual art at the college level. Her website shows a portfolio of her work dating back as far as 1994, including her more recent work from 2021.
Joana still actively works on her craft today, with her latest and most up-to-date pieces documented via her Instagram.
A Novia [The Bride}
Vasconcelos gained her first big bit of media attention in 2001 when she made a stunning chandelier out of tampons!
This intriguing piece of work was on display from 2001-2005 and is truly a masterpiece and thought-provoker.
Much of the crochet work that Vasconcelos has done is large-scale. Lovely Textiles points out that it has its roots in sculpture art. She has even been called “the sculptress of crochet”.
Crochet Covered Sculptures
One of Joana's signature methods in her earlier work is that she takes sculptures and covers them in crochet.
Not only does Joana cover sculptures and everyday items with crochet, but she also utilizes doilies in her crochet sculptures.
This is intriguing because doilies are such a stereotypical object representing the outdated culture of crochet.
White Doily Art
Crocheted doilies, especially ones in white, are often what we think of as “grandma's crochet”. And yet, Vasconcelos pairs this with objects that aren't old (like computers) or feminine (like bulls) for a really intriguing effect.
Framed Crochet Art
Along with her larger than life crochet sculptures, in more recent years we have seen Joana make beautifully colorful art work from crochet, knitting and felting alike, that get framed and hung on the walls, creating a beautiful 3D type picture.
Inspired by Nature
Joana finds inspiration through so many things - her culture, the complexity of life, woman's rights, and even the elements of nature. After a trip to Mexico, Joana shared that she became increasingly more aware of water as a life-giving resource that not everybody has immediate access to in their daily life.
This inspired many of her pieces as a way to highlight the reality of life under capitalistic consumerism.
Joana does not exclusively work with fiber, but has made a variety of large sculptures and art pieces that each have their own unique statements.
Tree of Life
One of Joana's most recent works of art is titled "The Tree of Life" and resides in Vincennes’ Holy Chapel in Paris.
This stunningly tall tree is made with a mix of materials and symbolizes rebirth and the integrity of the universe.