Art Group Wanstead member Blandine Martin explains why doodling on empty food packets became an additional artistic outlet for her during the pandemic
I’m Blandine Martin, a French artist based in east London. In my practice, I like to experiment with a multitude of materials, mixing traditional techniques such as weaving, basketry and woodworking with computer-aided manufacturing technology. Recently, laser cutting has enabled me to cut repeated patterns on fabric to create dream-like installations along with semi-sculptural textile work.
I’m fascinated by the fragility of memories, family themed work and the traces we leave behind. Sadly, I recently inherited some old family objects from my late mother. Some were found broken and rotting in the cellar, which made them easier to transform by giving them another purpose and narrative. It became very clear by working on the objects that I was also healing my own grief, which prompted me to include them in my textile show entitled 3am, the exact time my mother passed away. The exhibition – which will take place in July – will include the work of a new textile group called Material Difference, made up of seven artists who came together while doing the same textile course at City Lit.
Doodling has been a very important part of my practice for exploring patterns as well as ‘the running line’, which subsequently informed my textile work by means of digitally printed designs, including machine-stitched threads imitating those lines.
I started using doodling techniques on empty food packaging at the beginning of the first lockdown. It was a way to be creative at home without the need for studio space or tons of art materials. The packaging structure turned out to be the perfect base for drawing. The shape of the packaging also gives the drawing a sculptural dimension, which I really like. As an art technician in a secondary school, I have used doodling techniques with students as a mindful exercise tool and to explore abstracted forms without conscious effort. The students created some really fabulous, colourful, bold and dynamic landscapes.
I joined Art Group Wanstead a few years ago to meet others, share ideas and projects and to be inspired by like-minded people. Since the pandemic started, it became clear just how important it is to be able to join discussions in my local area. I must admit, I was blown away by how big the creative community is around here. Making art can be a lonely task, so to be part of a group can be beneficial in many ways.
Last year, I exhibited at The Stone Space in Leytonstone, displaying sculptures in their window. It was such a positive experience that I am currently looking for more exhibition space in and around Wanstead.
To view more of Blandine’s work, visit wnstd.com/blandine
For more information on Art Group Wanstead, visit wnstd.com/art