Elodie Blanchard’s textile-based artworks operate at the intersection of design, craft and installation. However, Blanchard’s first love was fashion, which led her to forge a deep knowledge of textiles: from obtaining to sewing to displaying. Her education, first at Duperré School of Applied Arts and then at Paris’ Ecole des Beaux-Art, enabled her to pursue a career in fashion. Later, her time at CalArts in the United States opened up a more experimental side to her practice in relation to sound and performance. Now based in New York City, Blanchard developed her textile-based work doing drapery and designing fabric. If the functional aspect still interests her, she wanted to explore another creative and artistic path.
A few years ago, Blanchard started reusing fabric offcuts, collecting scraps, and reusing bits. Her curiosity lies in the manipulation of discarded materials – giving them new forms and purpose. For each project or commission, Blanchard applies new techniques, making each piece unique. With her Scraps Forest, each repurposed fragment of fabric is moulded into “tree-like” individual sculptures. Once assembled, they appear like a multicoloured and vibrant jungle. Fabrics thrown away by their original owner, Blanchard holds dear the fact that her offcuts enclose their stories; so much so that each tree is named after her family members and friends.
Sometimes, such as with the series Goddesses and Masked Feelings, Blanchard gives anthropomorphic shapes to fabric, such as felt, playing with the drawing quality of stitches and colourful threads. With her Melting Clowns she used cords to shape faces, which expressed a spectrum of emotions.
Society, humour and family are the foundation of most of her pieces. Playing with the idea of value, Blanchard turns unappreciated things into precious three-dimensional art objects. Her work reactivates material and stories, creating personal and emotional connection to fabrics. Blanchard is a maker of shape, a provider of hues, and an enabler of emotion.
Follow Elodie Blanchard on Instagram@elodieblanchardstudio