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WOMEN IN CREATION : Zofia Rostad & Bénédicte de Frondeville

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Between shape and rythm

The tribute to women artists continues in this episode with the portrait of two designers who collaborated respectively with MaisonPierre Frey in the 1970s and 1980s: Zofia Rostad and Bénédicte de Frondeville. Although their artistic worlds and styles are totally different, they share a sense of rhythm and form, essential in textile design. For our greatest pleasure, they agreed to answer our questions. 
Focus on these free and inspiring women, for whom creating is as essential as breathing. 

ZOFIA ROSTAD

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1/ What is your artistic vision? Do you have any specific themes?
My artistic environment is eclectic. I am particularly interested in the rhythm of forms and colors. I work this theme in two directions: one figurative and naive, the other one abstract and geometric.

2/ What is your favorite medium?
Most of the time, in my professional projects, I work with gouache on paper, cutting, collage or Indian ink. As a personal pleasure, I prefer oil on canvas.

3/ What are your inspirations?
It's often in periods of rest that ideas come: while traveling, in the street, at the seaside, in the subway or in a waiting room. I write down my ideas in a small notebook and one idea leads to another.

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4/ In what way do the patterns you imagine influence your artistic process? 
An upholstery fabric requires a design that is repeated in height and sometimes in width. So I always compose it full size directly on the tracing paper and immediately at the join without any prior sketch.

5/ What is your background?
I studied at the National Superior School of Plastic Arts ("plastic" meaning "Decorative Arts") in Łodz, Poland and arrived in France in 1959. At that time, the Berlin Wall separated Eastern Europe from Western Europe. So I was forced to report to the Police every three months. In order to stay in France, I enrolled at the Ecole Supérieure Nationale des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. I then started my professional career with Paule Marrot who was my teacher at the Arts Décoratifs.

6/ An amusing anecdote, a memory about your collaboration with Pierre Frey? 
One day, with Mr. Pierre Frey, we exchanged various opinions on the graphic design of the drawings and I remember that we had an argument, because Mr. Frey defended classical designs while I defended modern designs. 

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Is there a design you are dreaming to paint?
I've produced so many designs for textiles that I've never thought about this question. But give me some time to think about it!

Bénédicte de Frondeville

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1/ What is your artistic vision? Do you have any specific themes?
My artistic environment is inspired by the chromatic richness of nature, in the center of which I live and work.  Aware of never being able to equal it, I try nevertheless to remain faithful to the emotion it inspires me...

2/ What is your favorite medium?
Pencils, charcoal, oil pastels or dry pastels, inks, acrylic, lacquer or gouache, but also any medium that reacts to these many different mediums allow me to experiment constantly. I literally need to discover, to be surprised by results sometimes unexpected well beyond my initial imagination... Today, my work is more focused on the material itself than on the form.

3/ What are your inspirations?
I inevitably feel nourished both by nature and by the past and present works of my fellow human beings. But everything leads me to believe that only my unconscious "digests" this visual information without my knowledge, to then retranscribe it into a vague project which will take by chance and suddenly concrete form in my mind later, through the application of multiple sketches until, finally, its pictorial execution.

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4/ How do the designs you imagine influence your artistic work?
I admit that I am not really influenced by the purpose of my artistic expression, not knowing where the impalpable line between art and applied art lies. 

5/ What is your background?
My training is self-taught but my youthful encounter with Madame Paule Marrot was decisive. This great lady of the textile world generously shared with me her extraordinary passion for the 140 cm compositions, corresponding to the width of the fabric. They allow to play on the aesthetic forms as much as on the contrasts of colors much more than the small repetitive formats.

6/ A little story, a memory about your collaboration with Pierre Frey? 
When I first met Mrs. Pierre and Patrick Frey, I was creating unique works and patterns for the textile industry. A few months later, I was surprised to discover "QUIÉTUDE", a production of Maison Pierre Frey based on one of my creations, exhibited on a stretcher in a Parisian salon as a single canvas in the center of the room. I understood then that textiles, more accessible than a work of art, would allow me to share my universe with the greatest number of people and would allow me to evacuate a possible nostalgia due to the "disappearance" of the original. 

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Is there a design you are dreaming of painting?
Maybe one of the absolutely unrealistic field... an expression of such beauty that it would be unanimous in the whole world!