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Winner Announced in Hoot with the Owls; Run with the Chargers Logo Design Contest

MoonTree Studios announces a winner in the Hoot with the Owls; Run with the Chargers invitational logo design contest: Alyssa Jeane Reese. Reese is a Plymouth native who has always loved storytelling and art. She is a former Ancilla College student, and a 2013 MoonTree Studios summer intern. Presently, she’s working as an Art Consultant at the Art of Dr. Seuss in Indianapolis. Creative writing, film studies, screenwriting and graphic novel illustration, with awards and recognition along the way, have distilled her passion for traditional and digital art. She is planning to continue her studies toward a degree in Concept Art from Vancouver Animation School, Canada, with an ultimate goal to work for Nickelodeon as creator and director of her own TV series. Look out world, here she comes!

The Hoot with the Owls; Run with the Chargers logo design contest was open to persons affiliated with the Center at Donaldson or Ancilla College—students, faculty, residents, or co-workers. All entries were required to be one-color line art designs. The contest closed on Friday, March 31. Entries were judged on relevance, originality and aesthetic quality, and those who participated were asked to focus on creating a design that would capture the creative spirit of MoonTree Studios and the excitement and verve of Ancilla College Cross Country.

Reese’s logo design will be used on tee-shirts and promotional materials for the Hoot with the Owls; Run with the Chargers cross-country 5K fun run/walk to be held the evening of Saturday, October 7 this year. This event will be in the evening, instead of the usual morning time slot; and participants will be traversing Lake Galbraith trails instead of paved streets. There will be luminaries lighting the way as runners trot on a prairie-lined trail, through the woods, and along the lake. There might just be the hoot of an owl to be heard along the way.

Hoot with the Owls; Run with the Chargers is a walk or run event. To help keep it safe, each participant who registers by September 15, 2017 will get a lighted bracelet and a souvenir “Hoot with the Owls; Run with the Chargers” tee shirt. This event has been planned as a fund-raiser for the Ancilla College Cross Country team and will be held rain or shine, so we ask that all participants dress appropriately. All ages are welcome to register—this is a non-sanctioned event. We would like to invite regional high school and college teams, as well as families, to take part in the fun run.

For more information, visit and click on Experiences, Earth Care to find a listing for Hoot with the Owls; Run with the Chargers. Or you can call MoonTree Studios at (574) 935-1712. Registration is now open.



Finding the Light (and the Shadows) by Daniel J. Slattery Opens Saturday, April 22, 2017 at MoonTree Gallery

MoonTree Studios invites you to meet the artist at the opening reception for Finding the Light (and the Shadows) to be held in the gallery on Saturday, April 22, 2017; 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. EDT. The featured artist is South Bend watercolorist Daniel J. Slattery.

Slattery uses control and detail to capture dramatic effects of light and color in his watercolor work. His artwork has included portraits, landscapes and seascapes, as well as book and magazine illustration. Slattery has taught watercolor at the South Bend Museum of Art, the Buchanan Art Center, and MoonTree Studios. He is a member of the St. Joe Valley Watercolor Society and past President of Northern Indiana Artists, Inc. Slattery has served on the Boards of Directors of both organizations.

About Finding the Light (and the Shadows), Slattery says, “The most compelling element in any painting I attempt is the dramatic effect of light and shadow. Contrast always plays a large role in shaping my approach to a subject. In recent years, dramatic low light scenes which evoke strong moods and memories have come to the forefront. In each case, light, shadow, and atmosphere play a prominent role in preserving in paint a definite time, place, and emotion. Using careful control to depict details of light and shadow, I try to create scenes that appear so real that the viewer feels that it would be possible to step into the painting.”

MoonTree Gallery is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 to 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Groups are welcome. Please call in advance for an appointment at times other than these. Closing day for Finding the Light (and the Shadows) will be May 26, 2017.

Down to Earth Opens at MoonTree Gallery on Saturday, March 11, 2017

Michael and Darcee Thoren of Petersburg, Indiana, make art inspired by the natural world. Michael’s expression takes the form of wheel-thrown pottery with raku finishing. Darcee’s work is multi-media. Come and see why they say that art has enriched and expanded their world, when Down to Earth opens on Saturday, March 11, from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. EST at MoonTree Gallery.

The artists welcome the opportunity to personally tell you more about their creative endeavors. They chose to call the show Down to Earth because in their minds, that title encompasses the interests and beliefs that have provided the foundation for their art. “Making art has greatly enriched our lives,” Michael began. Darcee nodded, “We have met many kind and interesting people and visited places that we might have otherwise never seen. We have learned so much about ourselves in the process. Art has enriched and expanded our world.”

The art that the Thorens each make came about as a result of their shared interest in the natural world. The multi-media pieces that Darcee creates are based on a love of color, texture, and pattern. She feels a deep desire to express the personality and spirit of the creatures and landscapes of our planet. Michael’s raku pottery is the result of his combined interests, Art and Science. Michael’s wheel-thrown clay pieces are truly born of fire: natural materials such as dry leaves, straw, pine needles, and even horse hair contribute to the one-of-a-kind nature of every piece. By literally getting Down to Earth, the Thorens follow their innate curiosity to create art that reflects passion for the world and its inhabitants.

Michael and Darcee Thoren embody the mission of MoonTree Studios. They explained, “Our journey started with us carving out some time and space in order to explore the possibilities. So many people are drawn to the idea of manifesting their own unique expressions of creativity, but often that’s where it ends. We have discovered that the struggle is in believing that we have the right to make art…the right to take the time to sit down, think, and explore. Making art is neither a lofty, rarified purpose nor a frivolous endeavor. It is Down to Earth. It is a practical and realistic activity that we can all do. It's an opportunity to settle ourselves, to consider our lives, to express our thoughts and feelings, and to connect with others. We are dedicating this show to Shirley Hume (Darcee's mother) who has encouraged all of our family's artistic endeavors whether it be writing, painting, drawing, sculpting, or raku pottery. She's always said, "You'll never know unless you try." In that spirit, we hope that sharing our artwork encourages others to express their unique creativity and to put it out into the world. ”

Michael and Darcee Thoren’s 3D artwork, Down to Earth, will be on display at MoonTree Gallery from March 11 through April 7, 2017. MoonTree Gallery is open Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. EST during winter. Call MoonTree Studios at (574) 935-1712 for group tour arrangements, or for an appointment at times other than these. Closing day for Down to Earth will be Friday, April 7, 2017.

In The Loop Opens at MoonTree Gallery on Saturday, January 21, 2017

The beauty and precision of Nordic, stranded knitting has become Laura Ricketts’ passion. Get a glimpse into why the handcrafts of Scandinavia’s nomadic peoples, the Sámi, have been such an inspiration in her life when In The Loop opens on Saturday, January 21, from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. EST at MoonTree Gallery.

Ricketts is a knitter, knitwear designer, teacher and author. Most recently she has shared her talents as a TV show host on In the Loop with Laura, a regional cable show. A history teacher by profession with a master's degree in education, Ricketts has combined a love for history, literature and textiles in her handcraft teaching.

“My mom taught me how to knit and purl when I was young, but it was only when I was in college that I bought yarn for a project and knit from a pattern,” Ricketts explains. “I've really grown in my knitting from similarly minded friends and from online communities like Ravelry.”

“I started designing my own patterns a few years ago, and publishing in magazines shortly after that. Many of my patterns are driven by historical stories and textiles. I've designed lace inspired by the oldest known bra, and sweaters from those worn by royalty as they fled the Nazis in 1940. My favorite pieces to play with, however, are mittens! Mittens are small, but can easily show off a color or design, or accessorize a plain coat.”

Some of Ricketts’ literature-inspired patterns have appeared in Cooperative Press’ Defarge book series. Inspired after teaching and living among the nomadic peoples of Mongolia, Laura was intrigued by the handcrafts of Scandinavia’s nomadic peoples, the Sámi, and asked the question, “What have the Sámi contributed to Nordic Knitting?” The answer has turned into a wonderful quest, and has blossomed into visits, friendships and wonderful knitwear.

Her work has been featured in Interweave Press’ PieceWork magazine and Knitting Traditions as well as BÁIKI: The North-American Sámi Journal. After an extensive visit to Sapmi, the Sámi traditional homeland, she has also self-published a myriad of Sami-inspired knitting from the Swedish Sámi, Norwegian Sámi, and Finnish Sámi. She is teaching at the North House Folk School and the Janesville knitting guild in February this year, and speaking at the Madison, WI knit guild. In April, Ricketts teaches at Yarnover, a workshop of the Minnesota Knitting Guild. She lives in north-central Indiana.

Laura Rickett’s fiber artwork, In The Loop, will be on display at MoonTree Gallery from January 21 through March 4, 2017. MoonTree Gallery is open Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. EST during winter. Call MoonTree Studios at (574) 935-1712 for group tour arrangements, or for an appointment at times other than these. Closing day for In The Loop will be Saturday, March 4, 2017.

March’s Empty Bowls Soup Supper Fundraiser at the Center at Donaldson—Better than Ever!

Empty Bowls

In keeping with the Christian Lenten season tradition of alms-giving, this year’s Empty Bowls Soup Supper took place Saturday evening, March 18, 2017, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. This is the fourth year that the Ancilla Domini Sisters and ministries have united to invite the community in for a supper to benefit The Food Bank of Northern Indiana, which works to eradicate hunger and food insecurity in our region. Close to 200 people bought $15.00 tickets, which entitled each one to enjoy a meal of soup, home-made by the Associate Community of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ, and bread. Each person chose a handcrafted bowl to keep as a reminder of all the empty bowls in the world, and the profound impact that a single effort can make to end food insecurity in our community and around the globe.

This year’s efforts were more fruitful than ever before. $2,823 was raised for the Food Bank of Northern Indiana. That brings the four year total to $9,274! The monies raised at the Empty Bowls event are donated to FBNI to feed the hungry, to increase awareness of the effects of hunger, and to lead programs designed to alleviate hunger through member food pantries. In Marshall and Starke counties there are food pantries in Knox, Plymouth, Bremen, Bourbon, Argos and Culver, as well as mobile food pantries, that will benefit from these funds. Per the Food Bank’s statistics, one dollar can provide up to eight meals for those in need, and ninety-four cents of every dollar donated goes back into the communities served. Just think, these four years of Empty Bowls Soup Suppers have provided over 74,000 meals in our own neighborhoods!

The Empty Bowls Supper had a new artistic flair this year--clay artisans from throughout Indiana and Western Michigan made the bowls that were presented to each ticketholder. Bowls were hand-built or thrown, in each artist’s signature style, using their own techniques. And three of the artists—Sandra Henderson from LaPorte, Elizabeth Wamsley from Syracuse, and Louise Amundson from Knox--had separate displays of their other clay artworks available for sale at the supper, including clay sculptures, mugs, and frogs of every size; flowerpots and yard totems, vases, jewelry and tureens. Commissions from those sales also benefitted the Food Bank. Other talented clay artists who made bowls were: Vickie Cook, Pike Evans, Jenifer George, Fred Herczeg, Becki Moffett-Moore, and Michael Thoren.

This year’s Empty Bowls Supper featured live entertainment, too. Cliff Berger started the evening’s dinner music with favorite piano renditions. Later, Renee Green, a Plymouth High School Junior, provided serene violin solos to close out the evening. The evening truly had an upscale ambiance, even if the meal was a simple one!

Empty Bowls is an international effort over 25 years old, with an appropriate slogan, “Working Together – Everyone Eats.” MoonTree Studios joined the cause in 2014, and has been joined by the other ministries in Donaldson. But it’s important to remember, the Empty Bowls Soup Supper at The Center at Donaldson is only one way to help. In addition, individuals, workplaces, and other organizations can conduct drives for food and funds any time of year.

MoonTree Studios would like to thank everyone involved for the enormous part each played in making the fourth annual Empty Bowls Soup Supper a big success. From the artists who made the bowls, to the energetic Associates of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ who made and served the wonderful soups. From the ministry center co-workers who cleaned and set-up the room, delivered bowls, heated and delivered the meal, to Cliff and Renee who provided dinner music. And especially to all of the friends, neighbors and community members who bought tickets and attended the evening’s festivities. It was obvious that all united around a worthy cause—helping to put an end to hunger and food insecurity right here at home. We are most grateful for everyone’s help and participation. It takes a community; without all of us, such a wonderful evening wouldn’t have happened! Sincere thanks for making time in your schedule to make a difference--your help is needed and appreciated now more than ever.

Please put our Empty Bowls Soup Supper on your 2018 calendar. It will be held on Saturday, March 17, 2018, 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. We wish you blessings and plenty in the coming year.

Lora's Reflections Opens at MoonTree Gallery on Saturday, August 27, 2016

Lora Vieting

For Lora Vieting, capturing the beauty of Nature through a camera lens is both relaxing and healing. Now she presents her photographs in her first ever solo show, when Lora’s Reflections opens on Saturday, August 27, from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. at MoonTree Gallery.

Lora was born, raised and still lives in North Central Indiana. How did she choose photography as a means of creative expression? Lora relates that photography has always been a hobby; from the time she was very young, she always loved capturing special moments in life. Then, more than 20 years after graduating high school, she went through some life-changing events that gave her new perspective. She made the decision to go back to school and chose Ancilla College (majoring in Business), where she had a wonderful instructor in an elective course--Father Walker, for Digital Photography. Encouraging and helpful, Father Walker helped her gain the confidence she needed to pursue photography, and she found herself outside taking pictures all of the time, photographing everything Nature had to offer.

“I am learning more everyday with every shot. It is truly rewarding to do something you are so passionate about and that you love,” Lora says. “There’s something about being out in Nature that is both relaxing and healing. I try to capture what I see, and hope that others also see the beauty through my lens. That’s how the name “Lora's Reflections” came to be.” She quotes noted photographer Annie Leibovitz, “Nature is so powerful, so strong. Capturing its essence is not easy - your work becomes a dance with light and the weather. It takes you to a place within yourself.”

Today, Lora is a Library Assistant at Ancilla College’s Library. While photography is not related to her job, she works part time and evenings, allowing herself more time to explore and capture the beauty of Nature. She attests to having a wonderful supportive family--two grown boys, a beautiful daughter-in-law, and an amazing husband who understands her love of photography, and shares in her love of Nature.

Lora Vieting’s artwork, Lora’s Reflections will be on display at MoonTree Gallery from August 27 through October 8, 2016. MoonTree Gallery is open Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. EDT. It is also open Saturdays from 12:00 to 3:00 p.m. Call MoonTree Studios at (574) 935-1712 for group tour arrangements, or for an appointment at times other than these. Closing day for Lora’s Reflections will be Saturday, October 8, 2016.

The Joyful Mud of Life by Sandra Henderson Opens at MoonTree Gallery on Saturday, October 15, 2016

Sandra Henderson

For Sandra Henderson, clay is in her DNA or at least, it was absorbed into her psyche early on. Her mother was a potter, with a BFA in Ceramics from Alfred University (NY). So Sandy played with clay as naturally as most children play with crayons and paper. In fact, her studio still holds an old treadle kick-wheel that was in her mother’s college classroom; it has traveled with the family through many moves.

Speaking of her avocation with clay, Sandy says, “I've studied the craft of clay in college classes, community art centers, workshops, and online. But mostly it has been practice, practice, and more practice. There were many years when I had little to do with clay, but my heart and my hands remembered it. I am very fortunate now to have my own studio in what was once our garage, and to be blessed with the time, equipment, and energy to do what I love.”

“I love the touch of hand on clay. I love the potter’s wheel--the old Randall wheel I use is almost identical in design to potters’ wheels in ancient Egyptian drawings, although my wheel does have a motor. I've always been an ‘earth’ person, a gardener and a lover of natural wild places. As I have worked more steadily in clay the past 20 years, trees, toads, and turtles have been recurring motifs. Clearly though, my roots are in functional pottery--most of what I make starts its life on the wheel.”

“All my work is individually hand-crafted. Pieces may be similar, but they are not identical. I fire to cone six, in oxidation, in an electric kiln. My work is meant to be used; that means that pitchers pour, vases hold water, garden objects will survive outdoors for years through the growing season. Pots are microwave and dishwasher safe (but not to be used on stove tops or in conventional ovens). The glazes I use are free of lead, barium, and cadmium.”

Sandra Henderson’s Joyful Mud of Life clay artworks will be on display at MoonTree Gallery from October 15 through November 19, 2016. MoonTree Gallery is open Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. EDT. It is also open Saturdays from 12:00 to 3:00 p.m. Call MoonTree Studios at (574) 935-1712 for group tour arrangements, or for an appointment at times other than these. Closing day for The Joyful Mud of Life will be Saturday, November 19, 2016.

A Stitch in Time II by the Susanna Circle Quilters Opens at MoonTree Gallery on Saturday, July 23rd

Susanna Circle Quilters

In the two years since they exhibited their fabric works of art at MoonTree Gallery, the Susanna Circle Quilters have been busy creating an entire new collection, A Stitch in Time II. See these fantastic new fabric art works Saturday, July 23, 2016, 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. EDT at the opening reception with the quilt artists. The ladies will be on hand to greet attendees and tell everyone the stories behind the quilts. In addition, piano music by Cliff Berger will lend a festive ambience during the opening reception.

The Susanna Circle Quilters were launched seventeen years ago when one of the members of Wesley United Methodist Church offered a workshop for anyone in the church wanting to learn basic quilting techniques. The class was taught by Phyllis Pearson, an avid quilter and member of the church. That introductory course lasted six weeks and covered the steps of making a quilt from beginning to end. Fourteen ladies came together to learn how to choose a pattern and fabric, cutting and sewing techniques, how to hand quilt, and how to bind and label a quilt. After that beginning course was finished, the new quilters sadly bid farewell to Phyllis as she moved to Corvallis, Oregon to be closer to family. However, the group had formed community, and they decided to continue meeting every week to sew.

So, Elaine Averill assumed leadership of the Susanna Circle Quilters group. Then thirteen years ago, after retiring from Culver Elementary School, Judy Patton joined Elaine as co-leader. The group continues to meet to this day on Thursday mornings to sew on various projects. Through the years, this active group has had several successful quilt shows, besides their very popular 2014 show at Moontree Gallery. Some other exhibit venues have been the Wesley United Methodist Church during Culver’s Lakefest weekend and the Culver Public Library. They’ve shared their time and talents in other ways, too, making Christmas lap robes for the residents of Miller's Merry Manor in Culver, and donating quilts to local charities and projects, pillow cases and wheelchair bags to Riley Hospital, among other projects. Every new baby born into the Wesley Church family is given a quilt made by the Susanna Quilters.

In case you’re wondering how the group got its name, it was to honor Susanna Wesley, the mother of John Wesley, founder of the Methodist denomination. Susanna Wesley was not a quilter as she had nineteen children and probably didn't have a moment to spare in creative endeavors. The group just wanted to honor Susanna, when they chose their name.

The Susanna Circle’s A Stitch in Time II will be on display at MoonTree Gallery from July 23 through August 20, 2016. MoonTree Gallery is open Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. EDT. It is also open Saturdays from 12:00 to 3:00 p.m. Call MoonTree Studios at (574) 935-1712 for group tour arrangements, or for an appointment at times other than these. Closing day for A Stitch in Time II will be Saturday, August 20, 2016.

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