“I lived in a kibbutz, a kind of commune,” she shares. “My childhood was barefoot, fields, ants and bird watching. My parents let me have pets – cats, little chickens, mice, turtles, fish. I went through it all.”
About 12 years ago, the former graphic design student began crafting the treasures she is known for – the hand-sewn, soft sculpture bird cages, birdhouses, love birds and more. It wasn’t by happenstance. Her mother taught her to sew by hand and then by machine.
“Back then, she had that amazing new Singer machine,” the artist remembers. “There was that wonder and magic of making something out of almost nothing. I was never much into clothing; it was about objects.”
Mogendorff started out doing soft-sculpture bird cages, a personal favorite. “I didn’t realize they could be mobiles,” she notes. “I never thought of creating something for children. That came as a surprise.” However, parents embraced the sweet, soft gifts as dreamy mobiles to hang high above babies’ cribs.
She handpicks the makings of her one-of-a-kind pieces. “The fabrics are important,” she states. “I tea-dye most for a feeling of time, layers, another story.”
The dream whisperer’s collections include swans and birds, night time, and sea, as well as a sale section on her site. Almost all items are made in the studio and are part hand-sewn, part machine-stitched.
“My work is ‘soft sculpture,’ so there’s a soft feeling to it,” the artist notes, “but I use some ‘rougher’ fabrics as well. The camels are made from natural raw linen dyed with tea. I also use cotton, wool, silk and sequins. I’m careful about pairing and mixing fabrics. Editing is a big part of my work.”
On her website, be swept away by a mermaid fashioned from natural linen with silver and gold sequin fish scales and a pearl necklace ($125), or by a 10-by-11-inch bird house in blue polkadotted gauze ($175). The three birds it comes with are aflutter with tea-dyed wings.
“I have assistants who have worked with me for many years,” she concludes. “It’s really like a family.”
A BIRD’S-EYE VIEW OF THE ARTIST TAMAR MOGENDORFF
Do you believe in fairy tales or like reading them?
I don’t, but sometimes wish I did.
What artists influenced you most?
Many – Eva Hesse, Louise Bourgeois, Charlotte Salomon, Virginia Woolf.
Does your artwork stay the same?
No, I try to change and evolve over time.
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