Tamar Hendel

Tamar Hendel

“Bremmen Haus Musicians”
Cardboard and tissue paper
26” x 21” x 62”
2011 (Turtles) and 2021 (Cow and Duck)

Artist Statement

The two turtles, Mother and Child, were built about 10 or more years ago at CREATE Art Center’s previous location, when I was substituting at CREATE’s adult art therapy group. Each artist worked independently for a while, and then we talked about our art work and our feelings. The mother and child theme fit right in with our conversations.

The cow came about during the time of COVID. As I looked deep into my overstuffed supply closet I wondered, “What will ever do with those cow horns?”

They were cow horns. I was going to build a cow. I had a large strong box I had been saving for just such an occasion. It was the time of COVID and there was plenty of unstructured time. I left both the box and the horns on my kitchen counter and worked on the cow for days. Food was delivered to each apartment at Riderwood during COVID, the retirement community where I live. The soup containers were perfect to make into cow feet.

But in my crowded apartment there was no space for the cow, and the next project required a clear kitchen counter. The top of the turtle was available and that’s where it went.

With the cow out of the way, I was ready to start the next project. On my walks around the pond I watched the baby ducks walking after their mothers, and the mothers waddling behind. It was a funny parade.

The laughing duck just happened. It walked like a duck, it quacked like a duck, and it fit right in atop the animal tower.

I had a memory of a story about an animal tower, one above the other creating cacophonous music. Yes, the story was called Bremen Town Musicians! The perfect title for my animal tower.

Artist Bio

Tamar Hendel came to the arts through the back door; watching her father build a staircase, watching her brother make a house out of a little bit of mud, tracing Pinocchio from a book, sewing and knitting.

She attended art classes at American University in the 1960s, around the time she had her first child. She joined the Art Therapy master’s program at George Washington University in the 1980s, after teaching art to children with learning disabilities for several years.

Encouraged by her husband, Tamar opened CREATE Arts Center in 1986, teaching art to children and adults. At the time she did not consider herself an artist although she had consistently been making art throughout the time she taught others. It was only after moving to a retirement center which sponsored arts exhibits by its residents that she began to consider herself an artist.

Tamar has been teaching papier-mâché construction to the residents of her retirement community, Riderwood. Their projects, as well as Tamar’s (in a variety of media) have been accepted for display in many art exhibitions. CREATE’s art gallery, the Tamar Hendel Gallery, is named for her, and Tamar’s artwork was the focus of the gallery’s first show.

It is only recently that Tamar has considered herself an artist.