Lions' Digest Winter Issue 03 2020


10 | WINTER 2020

Ave, she created the design for the booth.

Harpster doesn’t actually create the kombucha,

though--in her own words, “the thing that I do

not do and do not trust myself with is the

actual brewing process.”

While Harpster gets an opportunity to

pursue her love for design with Moody Culture,

she also pursues art on her own terms. Art has

always been a part of her life, and she’s

constantly experimenting with different forms

and mediums.

“I would say I’ve probably been into art my

whole life,” Harpster said. “I remember going to

coffee shops when I was in high school with my

watercolors and my acrylics. I‘ve always done

some kind of art. I also danced throughout high

school, so I think whether or not it was

performing or actually making something, it’s

always been a part of me.”

Harpster’s latest project was born out of

Moody Culture.

“[SCOBY] is a colony of bacteria and yeast

and that is what eats the sugar in kombucha

which is what causes it to ferment. So when [we

were] done with it, we were putting it into the

compost bin, and I was like, ‘this is so cool, it

just seems like you should be able to do

something cool with this,’” Harpster said.

Harpster began to make masks with the

SCOBY, and she continued to experiment with

different mediums to create new pieces.

“So [Andy Merritt] brought a painting in,

maybe over a year ago, to my coworker Andy

Wilson, and he does the acrylic pours, and I was

like ‘that’s really cool, I wonder if I could do

that on the back of my masks,’” Harpster said.

After Harpster started working with acrylics,

commissions through her Instagram, @

rawunfilteredart, and the Moody Culture

website,, started to pour in.

When reflecting upon her artwork, Harpster

noted that her students directly influence her

and her art on a regular basis.

“Art is so authentic in that it just comes

from you,” Harpster said. “I do feel that in my

teaching and I value that so much in my

students, when they get to a place, a comfort

level, when they can just be themselves and

there’s not this exterior of superficial

expectation. [...] Authenticity is definitely equal

in both worlds. I guess the constant inspiration,

too. My students are a constant inspiration as is

the world and anything that I look at that I

want to make something on.”

For Harpster, the seemingly unrelated worlds

of ESL and art converged and pushed her

forward. She continues to grow as both a teacher

and an artist, and if her past is anything to go

off of, the path ahead of her looks bright.

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