Jessica Vellenga is an artist, curator and arts administrator. Her artistic practice is grounded in craft and community collaboration, telling our personal and collective stories with a needle and thread. She has explored several intimate issues in her previous large-scale community engagement work, such as personal diaries (Dear Diary Series), and what we choose to reveal in anonymity (Surface Tension, Emotional Baggage).
Mend & Make Well, she photographs records the personal memories of our clothing and teaches historic traditions of fabric craftsmanship and repair to the public. Setting up her mending station at festivals, parks and other community locations, welcoming the public to bring items in need of simple mending and repair, which she repaired, for free, using traditional machine and hand sewing, knitting and crochet techniques.
Doily Webs is an ongoing collaboration with Whitehorse based artist Nicole Bauberger, an installation in which the public, with the artists, create crochet webs from vintage and antique doilies linking present with past, historic craft to contemporary installation. Doily Webs has been presented at the Riverside Arts Festival, Dawson YT, Whitehorse Nuit Blanche, Whitehorse, YT, Mount Royal, Montreal, QC and Pointe Claire, QC
She coordinated Yarn Bomb Yukon, a fibre arts group that uses yarn bombing to create large-scale community-based art projects, including Canada’s largest yarn bomb with the project Knitting for History: Yarn Bombing the DC-3 airplane.
She has exhibited her artwork and clothing design in Canada (Whitehorse, Dawson, Inuvik, Montreal, Ottawa, Calgary, Hamilton, and Toronto), the United States (Brockton, MA) and the United Kingdom (Leeds). Her artwork has been collected by the Yukon Permanent Art Collection, Klondike Institute of Art and Culture and private collections. She currently resides in Hamilton, ON where she is the Executive Director of the Hamilton Artists Inc. Artist Run Centre.