Jessica Vellenga’s artistic practice is grounded in community collaboration, which combines art, craft, and activism through textile arts and the community. She has also 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).
Her most community collaborative project Mend & Make Well, a public mending series, in which she set 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. This sustainable practice allows her to teach historic traditions of fabric craftsmanship and repair to the public, while also offering a gift of mending.
Recently she has collaborated with Whitehorse based artist Nicole Bauberger to create the community collaborative artwork Doily Webs at the Riverside Arts Festival and Whitehorse Nuit Blanche. Together the artists, with the community create web like installations from found and inherited lace doilies.
She is the coordinator of 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.
She is currently the Executive Director of the Hamilton Artists Inc. She is an active member in the arts community and facilitates community collaborative textile arts, embroidery, knitting, yarn bombing, and other interactive textile workshops. Her passion for arts education and appreciation can be seen in her art practice, exhibitions and organization of local craft nights. She has experienced a wide variety of art exhibits, conferences, workshops, and public lectures at modern and contemporary art spaces throughout Canada and Europe. She has exhibited her artwork and design in Canada (Whitehorse, Calgary, Hamilton, Montreal and Toronto) and the United Kingdom (Leeds). She currently resides in Hamilton, Ontario