Q So who is Benedicte Bodard ?
Benedicte Bodard is that French girl who never felt that she was at the right place and went to live in California at the age of 22 where she eventually worked as a wardrobe stylist mostly on commercials. She always liked colours, shapes, prints, patterns…
Q Where in the world are you?
9 years ago, for my husband’s work, we moved from Los Angeles to Barcelona. The economy was booming and there were constructions/remodelling being done all over the place. I started seeing with great dismay hydraulic floor tiles way too often thrown away in the dumpsters. I just could not believe that such beauties would have such a fate.
Q The work you make uses found tiles, what is that attracts you to these tiles?
I believe in recycling just about anything in life. I love leftovers and the idea of turning them into a new dish. I like the idea of passing over some clothing or furniture you do not need/use and I totally believe in the conservation in architecture. Something had to be done, these tiles cannot go away forever ?
Q How do you source the furniture that you transform?
I find the tiles and depending on the quantity, the state, the style they have, turn them into a console, a frame, a bench and so on… Sometimes, people ask me for specific pieces but usually I am the one who comes up with new designs. Just by looking at a tile I usually know what I would like it to be placed on.
Q What are you working on at the moment?
Right now I am working on a table to ship to Malaga, a night stand with drawer and some really amazingly sweet and extremely rare little tiles with a flower print that I will turn into coasters, I am growing impatient…
Q Do you having an arts background?
No not really but always took some Art History classes as I worked, always went to Art galleries, Museums and I love Architecture.
Q Where do you get your inspiration from?
I look at magazines, Art, I look at patterns, contrasts, anything can light a spark but in general I know just by looking at a tile and its composition as a floor.
Q What motivates you?
Nobody does what I do, it is a very physical work, the tiles are heavy, dirty and it is a challenge to turn them into the finish product, really a lot of work that I am willing to do just for the love of the tiles. They are way too pretty to be thrown away and I might as well turn them into some useful objects so that people want to have them in their homes. They are part of Barcelona’s heritage and can be up to 150 years old.
Q Do you create your work in a studio base or a home base?
I have a studio where I keep the tiles and work, it happens to be downstairs from where I live therefore my home is like a showroom. The “dirty” work is done in the studio, the “assembling” work is done in my home.
Q Crafts in the 21st Century – what does this mean to you?
A woman/man aged 20 to 75 working at night while everyone is asleep because it is what he believes in, what he relaxes with and loving every moment of it (or almost). The antithesis of made in China.
Q How do you sell and promote your work?
Ah that part !!! you mean one is supposed to make a living ! Well like many, this is the part that I have the most difficulties with. I have a web page : www.mesabonita.es and if you like what I do, please feel free to order from it. I ship all over the planet. I also do some markets around town, this allows me to meet local people and make them somewhat aware.
Q What is your typical working day look like?
After I take my daughter to school, it is not rare for me to go and pick up some tiles in some dumpster or go to talk to some workers about upcoming remodelling projects. I clean up the tiles that I need, make some phone calls. Sometime I go and visit the person who makes the frames, the aluminium guy… My customers, I often see at night or during the week ends, lots of them like to come as a couple to decide on a style of tile. At night, I work on the internet.
Q What music do you listen to?
My taste in music is fairly eclectic, depends on my mood : Brazilian, African, Classical, French classics, Latin, Opera… When I need to concentrate on some idea, I need the silence though.
Q 3 likes and dislikes?
The Likes: Having friends over, travelling and visiting new places, a day at the beach doing nothing but looking at the sea.
The dislikes : Pretence, greed, tripe!
Q What do you do to relax?
Look at the sea, play with my daughter, cook for my friends, listen to music, walk, look at Architecture…