"Love Letters," "Something," "From My Heart," "Saphie," "Kuromi"
"From My Heart." Plush Jewelry. by Vanessa Gong. Worn by Lujia.
"Something." Plush Jewelry. by Vanessa Gong.
"From My Heart." Plush Jewelry. by Vanessa Gong. Worn by Samantha.
"Saphie" Plush Jewelry. by Vanessa Gong.
"Kuromi." Plush Jewelry. by Vanessa Gong. Worn by Linh.
I live in a multigenerational household where the lines of tradition and modernization are often blurred. Mending clothes by hand is a practice that my grandmother never let go despite no longer living in an environment that requires prudence. I learned how to repair using a needle and thread through my grandmother's guidance, and eventually, I learned how to create as well. My creation "Saphie" is based on one of my favorite Webtoons: Saphie the One-Eyed Cat by Joho, a Korean artist who has lived in both Korea and the US. The earrings "Kuromi" and "Something" are both recreations of characters from Asian pop culture that have found their way into the outskirts of Western pop culture. "Love Letters" and "From My Heart" showcase heart envelope earrings that were partially inspired by the film To All the Boys I've Loved Before. As a first generation Asian American who grew up with little media representation in the early 2000s, the release and popularization of To All the Boys I've Loved Before was surreal. Seeing an Asian as not only the main character, but also the main love interest challenged the niche of "nerds" and "martial arts masters" that Asian Americans were confined to. I view my sewing as an extension of me and the fluidity of my culture as it combines traditional skills with characters from mainstream media. My work unintentionally demonstrates the nuance of my heritage and how it continues to influence me.
My name is Vanessa Gong, and I am currently a 17 year old living in NJ. I have been casually sewing and creating since elementary school. Aside from making plushies, I enjoy reading, eating, and playing soccer in my free time. You can find more of my work at @stuffyplushies on Instagram.