Photo by Sarah Wilmer
Here at Hygge & West, we love people who do things a little differently - the artists, makers, and designers who see the world through their own unique lens and aren't afraid to put their own spin on things. These are the people who jolt us from the ho-hum-ness of everyday life and remind us that there is beauty everywhere. And soft sculpture artist and designer Tamar Mogendorff is absolutely one of those people.
Tamar's playful-yet-sophisticated original stitch creations offer an inspiring take on natural subjects ranging from swans to seahorses and nearly every land-, sea-, or sky-dwelling creature in between. Her sculptures delight children and adults alike, as her deft fingers fabricate creatures that are wonderfully whimsical, subtly sweet, and, sometimes, just a little bit dark. We caught up with Tamar to talk inspiration, collaboration, and her favorite product and paper pairing.
Hygge & West: What inspires your beautiful work? What's your creation process like?
Tamar Mogendorff: Inspiration for me is very random; it can come in any form, at any place, at any time. Finding the right fabric can start a whole new concept. I really believe in being present in the studio, trying new things, and letting myself go with all the ideas that flow while working. There is always some kind of a narrative I tell myself. This helps me decide on the right pieces and variations to form a collection.
H&W: Why were you drawn to soft sculpture as opposed to other mediums and methods of creating your art? What unique qualities do you think it lends your work?
TM: I just happened to have a needle and thread and some old cloths, and I happened to know how to sew from home, and I always liked it. I was making stuff and friends asked to buy it, and then stores did too, and it just took off. I love exploring fabrics, textiles, embroidery. I now travel the world to see different techniques and craftsmanship. This is my passion.
What I do is soft sculpture, and the challenge is to make sure that my work won't look too crafty, but more like objects with some level of sophistication. Working with fabrics in that kind of medium gives you an endless palette of colors, patterns, and textures. Each fabric has an origin and character. The challenge is to use them in the right way, to edit your choices, to match them. I love that part.
H&W: Your work almost exclusively features natural subjects. What is it about the natural world that speaks to you as an artist, and both children and adults alike as consumers of your work?
TM: I think it is something I am drawn to, as there a story there. I play with that. I try to create objects that evoke a feeling. Almost everyone has a favorite animal, a favorite flower... it is how we see ourselves. It's the story we tell ourselves about who we are, or would like to be. We all like stories, and we are all a bit sentimental.
H&W: You've collaborated with many iconic designers, brands, and tastemakers. What do you like best about collaborating and what do you think it brings to your work?
TM: Collaborations are the best and most challenging. Each one is a very different process, but what is so great about it is that you sometimes get to create outside of your comfort zone. You get to play with other minds, focus on a different audience, balance between my vision and theirs. It always pushes me to a new place I never would have thought of and opens the door to new ideas, options, and territories. Plus, I always meet such amazing people through these projects, and that alone is priceless.
H&W: Tell us a bit about the specific product you chose for your wallpaper pairing. Is there a story behind this product? Which wallpaper did you choose to pair it with?
TM: I chose the black bird cage. I love how the cage interferes with the space, how it moves, creates shadows. There is a bit of decadence in the story of a bird in a cage, yet I try to show the playfulness of it as an object, and its softness. The cage is open and the bird is actually free. The choice of one color - black - and the simple shape is what gives it its elegance and sophistication, so that it plays with the space and with our minds, vision, and knowledge. The surrealistic wallpaper (Diamante in Gold) kind of does has the same affect on me.
H&W:Hygge is all about creating comfort and finding coziness in life's small moments and everyday rituals. How do you find or create hygge in your life?
TM: My home is where I live and work. In order to write my answers, I got out of the studio and sat at my dinning table. My cat just came and laid next to me, so I will pet him for a while...