Local resident uses newfound talent to spread joy

When Tambra Cantrell isn’t busy keeping Woodview Home clean and orderly, she’s creating window art that keeps the facility bright and cheerful.

“I’d never really painted before I started doing our windows” Cantrell said. 

For the past 12 years, Cantrell has been the housekeeping supervisor of Woodview, and her flare for creative design caught the residents’ eyes. “I’d always been in charge of decorating for our parties, and they had seen me do little drawings here and there,” she said. “So two or three years ago, they asked me to try painting the window looking into our dining area, and it’s just grown from there.”

Now, her artwork adorns several of Woodview’s windows, and Cantrell’s handiwork greets you from the moment you walk in the front door. The scenes depicted frequently change to commemorate each new season and holiday. “Sometimes the residents like the pictures so much, they get mad when you try to take one down,” she joked. “Now I’m always asking them for suggestions on what I should paint next to make them feel better about it. I’ve even thought about making a suggestion box!”

In addition to the arts and crafts she does while working, Cantrell has taken her newfound painting prowess home. Last fall when a family friend found his garden full of gourds, Cantrell crafted them into all kinds of animals. “I like to take stuff that nobody else wants and turn it into something new,” she said. “I started playing around with paint, and I’m really happy with the way they turned out.” She plans to continue working with the gourds and her next project will be turning one into a birdhouse. “It’s going to be a cat and the hole is going to be its open mouth.” 

Her love of repurposing goes back to her first craft of jewelry making. “I made jewelry for years before I started painting,” she said. One of her favorite places to find unique adornments for her pieces is literally in her own backyard. “The creek behind our place is full of melted pieces of glass from the downtown explosion back in the early 1900s.” With the help of some wire and additional beads, she is able to make one of a kind statement pieces that are sure to turn heads!