Niki Juarez-Cummings is a retired Environmental Scientist/Botanist for the National Park Service. Her specialty was endangered plants, fire ecology and ecosystems restoration. Having failed, almost utterly, at retirement Niki is now an herbalist, gourmet cook, weaver, knitter, graphic artist, poet, chamber musician, grant writer, data management consultant. An avid gardener and naturalist, she cooks her landscaping and weaves it too.
John Sheets graduated from Nappanee High School and Ball State University. He taught for 14 years and has always worked in the buidling trades areas. He enjoys helping others whenever needed. John has been a volunteer at MoonTree Studios for many years.
Rachel Hansen graduated from Warsaw High School in 1997 and received her Associates degree in 2014 from Ancilla College. She loves to read, go fishing, play with her cats and dog. She has always loved nature and has been involved in the care of MoonTree prairies. Her vast knowledge of wildlife and nature has been an asset to MoonTree.
Vera Tiani has a M.A. in School Guidance Personnel and received her mental health counselor’s license. She has conducted guided imagery workshops and training for Hospice and our sister ministry, Lindenwood Retreat and Conference Center. Vera is an artist who has been with MoonTree Studios for many moons.
Sunny Gardner-Orbovich is a retired teacher and artist, who learned several years ago to make soap. As she got into it, she discovered peace and comfort in clearing her home and life of harmful chemicals and excessive, wasteful packaging. Sunny makes all of her family’s soap—bath and household cleaning compounds. She hopes to infuse participants with excitement about something they can have complete control over—creating a clean, wholesome home and personal environment.
Rhonda Skinner is a fine artist located in the Midwest. Rhonda studied at IUSB and resided in South Bend Indiana. She started painting in 1993 and became interested in pottery in 2003. As an artist, her work has been shown in several places. Her most recent venue includes the Colfax Cultural Center for the Art and Social Justice show, where she won an award for her ceramics piece ‘When is it Enough’. A reflection of human injustice on all levels. Some of her latest projects have been the mugs for Iechyd Da Brewing Company in Elkhart In and working together with the community on artwork for a local animal shelter. Helping kids express their creativity and help fill the walls of the new animal shelter.
Natalie Boyett has a BFA in painting and drawing and MFA in fibers and material studies. She founded The Chicago Weaving School in 2004 and has taught hundreds of new and experienced weavers through the years.
Nancy Hill has a Master’s degree in Social Work and has worked 40 years in the helping professions. To say she’s a seasoned professional is to say that curry is a bit spicy. Her first book, Unfolding; Slow Down, Drop In, Dare More, was published by White Cloud Press in 2013. Her second book, Schmooze Your Muse, is available for free on her website: www.daremore.com. Nancy teaches process painting, offers retreats and leads women’s growth circles. She says, “My life has given me the ear of a therapist, the eye of a painter and the heart of a grandmother.”
Mary Ann Pals is a charcoal and pastel artist who minored in art in college, has taken numerous private lessons and art workshops her whole life and is an active member of the art scene in Northern Indiana. She had a charcoal and pastel drawing published in “Strokes of Genius 5, The Best of Drawing” in 2013. She is a member of two national pastel organizations and regularly teaches both drawing and pastel painting at the Chesterton Art Center. View her artwork at www.maryannpals.com.
Laura Ricketts loves all things fiber arts. She spins and quilts, and has over thirty years of knitting and crochet experience. Her work has appeared in Piecework and Knitting Traditions magazines, as well as in the Defarge book series and Midwestern Knits. She teaches nationally, with a specialty in ethnic Nordic knitting.
Karen Richey has a B.S. in Consumer Science, M.S. in Foods: Nutrition. She has been employed by Purdue Extension for 26 years as Health & Sciences Extension Educator and Marshall County Extension Director. She also serves on the Purdue Extension Food Safety Advisory Board.
Jayne Jacobson is from Montana, but has called Indiana home for many years. She and her husband raised four sons on a farm not far from Donaldson. Jayne graduated from Ancilla College and IUSB. While at Ancilla, she took a class from Sr. Consilia called “Art Experiences.” It consisted of an introduction to eight different art media. Jayne remembers feeling excited about learning the first seven, but that last one....Enameling, she was not so sure about, thinking "Enameling" meant painting with shiny oil-based paint.
Don and Kathy Kegarise have a beautiful outlook on life that they share with others, imparting the skills necessary to see and record the world ‘round about with a pencil and sketchbook. With Don and Kathy, participants learn how to render the shapes of the world around them and convey emotion in the sketch. The ultimate goal is for participants to grow in their art and keep drawing. Don is a Kewanna, Indiana artist known for his ink sketches and acrylic paintings; he also loves philosophy and creative writing. Kathy Kegarise is also a watercolor artist and a patient facilitator. Together Don and Kathy offer the personal touch, working with each participant individually as they learn to draw.
Deb Purdy earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Painting from the Rhode Island School of Design, and a Master's Degree in art therapy from the School of the Art Institute in Chicago. After practicing as an art therapist and psychotherapist for ten years, she read the book, Life, Paint and Passion by Cassou and Cubley, and attended a workshop on Point Zero Painting or Process Painting, as originated by Michele Cassou. Today, Debbie continues on the journey, teaching from her own inspiration and sharing the process with others. Debbie facilitates Process Painting throughout the United States and in Germany.
Debbie Palmer received her B.S. at Purdue University and attended the Water Shed Academy in 2016. She is the District Coordinator for the SWCD as well as manager of the Indiana Berry and Plant Company based in Plymouth, Indiana. Debbie is an avid runner, vegetarian, mother of 3 and grandmother of 2.
Dan Snider is a wood craftsman and an aficionado of bluebird houses, having built and installed many of them throughout this area. He is a retired educator and a licensed mental health counselor.
Dan Slattery has been painting with watercolor professionally for more than 15 years. He’s also found fulfillment in imparting the variety of watercolor techniques for realistic landscapes and seascapes to others. He encourages participants to explore the use of watercolor to its greatest advantage to create natural effects of light and texture in their work.
Dan Shuppert is a retired educator and a licensed mental health counselor. He is a wood craftsman, an ecologist, and one of a group of friends, artists and environmentalists who envisioned MoonTree Studios and its mission.
Becki Moffett-Moore grew up in South Bend, Indiana and presently lives in Portage, Michigan. She received a BFA from Indiana State University with a major in Graphic Design and a minor in Ceramics. Her MA in Ceramic Art is from Governor’s State University, University Park, IL. Becki taught Ceramic Art at Kankakee Community College in Illinois before moving to Michigan. She has received regional recognition for her clay art and participated in ART PRIZE Grand Rapids 2013. Presently Becki teaches ceramics at the Kalamazoo Institute of Art’s Kirk Newman Art Center.
Barbara Allison is an award-winning photographer, artist, writer and educator. She received her Bachelor Degree in Journalism/Psychology from Ball State University, and worked as a photojournalist for a mid-sized daily, Midwestern newspaper for 27 years. During this time, she covered both the dramatic and the mundane of humanity before the demise of the newspaper industry forced her untimely lay off. She won numerous awards for her coverage, but it was having her finger on the pulse of her community and learning something new every day that were the real rewards.
Adam Thada is the Director of Ecological Relationships at The Center at Donaldson. He studied prairie restorations at Taylor University and worked as a consultant assessing wetland and upland prairie communities. He serves as a land steward across the Poor Handmaids’ 1,100 acres of forests, wetlands, working farmland and pastures. Prairie restoration and grassland grazing are on-going research interests.
Cathy McCormick holds a BA in Art from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. She focuses on the landscape as a serene counterpoint to our urban culture and hectic lives. She has worked in oils, watercolors, mixed media and photography, but pastels are her favorite medium. She teaches pastels and drawing and is founder and president of the Northern Indiana Pastel Society.
Cliff Berger, a retired teacher, is an avid botanist and Natural History buff. A member of the Marshall County Historical Society, Cliff has led expeditions to the Grand Kankakee, pointing out evidence of history still on the landscape. Also a Henry David Thoreau fan, Cliff will talk about the land as Thoreau would have. He is a member of MoonTree Studios and an explorer of all things natural. Cliff sits on the Marshall County Plan Commission and independently maintains his log cabin homestead and greenhouses.
Darlene Troyer holds Level I and Level II certification in Metal Clay from PMC Connection. She began working with precious metals over thirteen years ago, and she has studied with noted metal artists such as Celie Fago, Linda Kaye Moses, CeCe Wire and J. Fred Woel. Her jewelry designs have been featured in Metal Clay Artist Magazine Gallery and she has written feature articles for Metal Clay Today magazine. She has exhibited at Carnegie Center for the Arts, Buchanan Art Center, and a number of juried shows. Darlene brings you the newest techniques in precious metals so that you can experience creating a piece of jewelry that is extraordinary.
Gloria Badiner is a scientist and studio artist, living and working in rural Southwest Michigan. Her studio, Arts & Artifacts, makes commissioned and custom kiln formed glass for architects, designers and furniture makers. Her sculptures include fused, kiln cast, sand cast and dalle de’ verre works mostly on an intimate scale and are often mixed with copper, silver, stone, bone and found elements. The themes of night and day, nature and human ritual are strong influences woven into her work. The most recent three-dimensional exhibitions display a commonality of “The Offering”--a series of kiln-cast bowls filled with cast, fused and found objects honoring the needs of humans, i.e. food, medicine, fire, children, art and creativity. Recent two-dimensional works include a series of cast glass panels for a wall waterfall installation and a commission for an Embassy in Washington DC. Gloria also serves as a technical consultant to the glass and ceramic industry and teaches kiln forming throughout the United States.
Sarah Perschbacher believes yoga is a journey and not a destination. It provides her with a much-needed pause from the busyness of life. Her perspective echoes Judith Hanson Lasater, who said, “Yoga is not about touching your toes, it’s about what you learn on the way down.”
For the last eight years, Sarah has been leading a variety of yoga classes for all ages. She completed teacher training through Yoga-Fit in 2009. She believes yoga is for all generations and body types. In her classes, she loves to combine fun and creative sequencing and a spirit of playfulness to help others deepen their practice of Yoga.
Jane Everhart is a graduate of DePauw University (Art) and Indiana University (Linguistics, East Asian Language and Culture.) Additionally, she studied with Liang dan-Fong in Taipei, Taiwan and Jo Wang Hess in Bloomington, Indiana. The unity of Nature, Language and Art in Chinese Calligraphy and in landscape painting is a prevailing interest in Jane’s work and teaching.
Jenifer George is a retired teacher who has been actively involved in art, creative expression, music, gardening, and cooking from an early age. She loves sharing her talents and experiences with both adults and children, and encouraging self-expression through many media.
Jo Hoffacker is a versatile artist who works in a variety of media—glass, textile arts, collage, clay, and found art. Her work is inspired by nature and Native American themes. She has facilitated art for over ten years, returning to Lower Michigan from South Carolina and Nevada.
Dr. Karen Altergott Roberts' work revolves around adult and family development, emotional well-being during times of challenge and transition, and the ways people use time in daily life. Karen has been a pastor in the United Methodist Church and a tenured faculty member in Family Studies and Gerontology at Purdue University. She holds a doctorate in Sociology from the University of Minnesota (1980) and a Master of Divinity from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary/Northwestern University (1999). Her studies combine art, writing, prayer, and conversation in the healing process.
Karen McClard, LCSW is a skilled practitioner in the art of soul-centered transformative work through her background as psychotherapist, hospital chaplain, dream group leader and spiritual mentor. First introduced to Process Painting through the C. G. Jung Institute of Chicago in 2010, she has recently completed a two-year intensive mentorship program with an experienced facilitator (who co-taught with the originator of the method for many years), adding a deeply creative dimension to Karen’s ongoing soul-centered life’s work. With reverence for the sacred space where creativity, psychology and spirituality meet, Karen shares the gift of Process Painting as an opportunity for both personal transformation and spiritual practice.
Kari Chittenden began making glass beads 15 years ago and it quickly became a passion. Since 2008, she has sold beads online through Etsy, through jewelry stores, and at the Plymouth Farmer’s Market. Kari continues to come up with fresh new designs. Publication opportunities and bead competitions motivate her to stretch the boundaries of her creativity. And she has been published numerous times and has participated in major exhibitions.
Kathleen Newman, a Chicago-area native, combines a focused sense of observation and sensitivity in her award winning pastel and oil landscape paintings. After her studies at the American Academy of Art, she began an illustration and design business, Queen of Arts Studios, Inc. and then turned to painting full time after the arrival of her children. Kathleen strives to capture the certain mood of the moment and bring that subtle nuance to the painting; the color, light and shapes that help create a sense of place.
Kristy Kutch is a friendly, relaxed, enthusiastic, and supportive facilitator who has conducted hundreds of painting workshops nationwide for students of all ages. Ever attentive to cultivating the enthusiasm of her students, Kristy tailors her instruction to beginners and accomplished artists alike. She has contributed to various colored pencil publications such as The Best of Colored Pencil and Exploring Color and Colored Pencil Explorations. Kristy has also authored several art instruction books and videos including Drawing and Painting with Colored Pencil and The New Colored Pencil.
Maren Larsen specializes in drawing with pen and ink and water-soluble media, as well as watercolor painting. She leverages the advantages of the watercolor medium by using a loose, flowing style to bring out the beauty of nature. Maren studied drawing and painting at l’École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris and has taken classes from top instructors in Nantucket and New York. Her work has sold across the U.S. and internationally. Original watercolor paintings, prints, and notecards are available on her website: www.MarenLarsen.com.
Peg Coffey has been spinning, weaving, dyeing, paper- and basket-making for more than 30 years. She has facilitated craft demonstrations and workshops, judged and competed in Handspun and Sheep-to-Shawl contests, co-coordinated spinner’s retreats, and co-founded the statewide network SWIFT (Spinners and Weavers of Indiana Fibers and Textiles.) For 12 years she wrote the Spinner’s Connection for Spin-Off magazine. She holds an M.A. in Art from the University of Indianapolis.
Phil Coffey has woven and repaired many furniture items requiring caning with natural or plastic strand. He has converted chairs from hardwood bottoms to caned seats, constructed and caned seats for his custom-built canoe, and re-caned rockers, benches and chairs with broken cane seats.
Sister Coletta Wrasman, a Poor Handmaid of Jesus Christ, has been a spiritual/retreat director for 30 years. While as a Core Member of Cordiafonte House of Prayer in Indianapolis and Cordis House in Republic, MO, she led groups in Contemplative Prayer in weekly Prayer Groups and periodic Prayer Days.
Sister Mary Baird is a Poor Handmaid of Jesus Christ and founder of the MoonTree Community. She’s an environmental artist who worked for the DNR as an Interpretive Naturalist, guided Flat Lake Watershed Group, and studied and documented the land around Ancilla.
Sister Nancy L. Raboin, PHJC is an artist who creates her art as prayer. She received her undergraduate training in Art through Cardinal Stritch University, her Masters in Art Therapy at the School of the Chicago Art Institute, and completed her training in Spiritual Guidance through the Siena Retreat Center in Racine, Wisconsin. Sister Nancy provides both individual spiritual guidance and retreats for participants wishing to explore their spirituality through creativity.
Vera Smucker Shenk’s interest in mandalas began 17 years ago with a desire to find a spiritual practice that would help her stay centered and peaceful. She has been given a passion for holistic health and healing and believes creative expression is integral to deepening into one’s healing. She is a certified mandala teacher and a spiritual director, working as a part-time chaplain.