10 | WINTER 2020Ave, she created the design for the booth.Harpster doesn’t actually create the kombucha,though--in her own words, “the thing that I donot do and do not trust myself with is theactual brewing process.”While Harpster gets an opportunity topursue her love for design with Moody Culture,she also pursues art on her own terms. Art hasalways been a part of her life, and she’sconstantly experimenting with different formsand mediums.“I would say I’ve probably been into art mywhole life,” Harpster said. “I remember going tocoffee shops when I was in high school with mywatercolors and my acrylics. I‘ve always donesome kind of art. I also danced throughout highschool, so I think whether or not it wasperforming or actually making something, it’salways been a part of me.”Harpster’s latest project was born out ofMoody Culture.“[SCOBY] is a colony of bacteria and yeastand that is what eats the sugar in kombuchawhich is what causes it to ferment. So when [wewere] done with it, we were putting it into thecompost bin, and I was like, ‘this is so cool, itjust seems like you should be able to dosomething cool with this,’” Harpster said.Harpster began to make masks with theSCOBY, and she continued to experiment withdifferent mediums to create new pieces.“So [Andy Merritt] brought a painting in,maybe over a year ago, to my coworker AndyWilson, and he does the acrylic pours, and I waslike ‘that’s really cool, I wonder if I could dothat on the back of my masks,’” Harpster said.After Harpster started working with acrylics,commissions through her Instagram, @rawunfilteredart, and the Moody Culturewebsite, moodyculture.com, started to pour in.When reflecting upon her artwork, Harpsternoted that her students directly influence herand her art on a regular basis.“Art is so authentic in that it just comesfrom you,” Harpster said. “I do feel that in myteaching and I value that so much in mystudents, when they get to a place, a comfortlevel, when they can just be themselves andthere’s not this exterior of superficialexpectation. [...] Authenticity is definitely equalin both worlds. I guess the constant inspiration,too. My students are a constant inspiration as isthe world and anything that I look at that Iwant to make something on.”For Harpster, the seemingly unrelated worldsof ESL and art converged and pushed herforward. She continues to grow as both a teacherand an artist, and if her past is anything to gooff of, the path ahead of her looks bright.
“DON’T STOP PLAYING.THERE ARE SOMANY THINGSTO DO, ENDLESSOPPORTUNITIES, ANDEVERYTHING IS ACANVAS.”