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My guest, Anne Morningstar, is a smart, kind, and deep human. I left this conversation feeling like I had been in the presence of someone special. It was the kind of conversation that stretches you. Expands your mind to think with new language and relate it to your own beliefs, and come up smiling.
She shares her journey as a time-based creative and how her classic fine arts training in animation translates to and informs her intentional work with the customer experience on her family’s organic farm and her role as a professor of art and design. And how we can limit ourselves with expectations, our own or others.
Midway through she shares this moving exercise that she has her Art and Design students do to start to unearth their mission or purpose. (Yes! An exercise to go deep…perfect! So grab a BIG piece of paper and pencil and then share what you come up with!)
And then, our conversation comes to a sweet and vulnerable end with Anne sharing her heart in her wish for everyone. It’s an hour well spent!
Take a listen my friend and let me know what you thought!
Anne Morningstar is a full-time Professor of Art and Design at North Central Michigan College. She is co-owner of Bear Creek Organic Farm and the design mastermind behind the brand. Anne considers herself an artist who designs, and views each aspect of her daily life as a creative endeavor. Her mission as a professional creative is to ensure access to art, design, and creative growth for all.
You can email her directly at email@example.com
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For listeners of the podcast Ricki has a sweeter-than-a-caramel-macchiato offer for anyone wanting to dip their toes into working with her. She’s offering her Strategy Matchmaker Session, normally $250, for only $97 for the first 20 people to take advantage of the offer. (get more info here)
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Tina: Hey there you are listening to the In Kinship Podcast and today I am so delighted to share with you my guest, Anne Morningstar.
Anne is a full-time professor of art and design at North Central Michigan College. She’s a co-owner of Bear Creek Organic Farms and the Design Mastermind behind the brand, and she considers herself an artist who designs, and we get into that in our conversation what that means.
She has some beautiful thoughts around that, and she views each aspect of her daily life as a creative endeavor. Her mission as a professional creative is to ensure access to art, design, and creative growth for all. That’s not just a mission statement. That’s not just a bio that is the truth.
Ann and I had such a delightful conversation. We began talking about how she grew up as a maker, what her mama instilled in her from a very young age, and how she brings that into her life today.
We talk about what it is to be a business owner. We talk about what it is to be. not just a business owner, but a business owner who began a business based in deep personal values and how you bring those personal values to your customer experience and how you then sort of match that with the customers that you hope to attract.
We talk about how. Going at live with some intentionality and perspective is so important even when you’re tending the hive. Yeah, the beehive. Cuz not only is Anne a creative, an artist who designs and a professor of art. She’s also the queen bee over at Bear Creek Organic Farm.
We spend a lot of time in this conversation diving into what it means to be a time-based creative, how it pertains to education, experience, branding.
I am guessing after you listen to this podcast, you might just try to figure out a way to enroll in classes at North Central Michigan College, just so you can spend a little more time with anne.
And one of the fun things too about Midway through, she shares an exercise that she does with her, art students. I’m excited to give it a shot, and I’d love for you to do it as well and tell me how it goes. All right. Without further ado, let’s get onto the show.
You are listening to the In Kinship Podcast, and I am your host, Tina VanDenburg. The In Kinship Podcast is a podcast for makers who crave an authentic, vibrant full of life, life on their own terms. Before we begin, we have a quick word from our sponsor.
Ricki Oldenkamp Marketing is our sponsor for today’s episode, and if you got something to sell, you need to know how to tell others about it in a way that instantly showcases you’re an expert. Worth trusting. You don’t need to spend all your time begging to get noticed.
Strong messaging can differentiate you and get you instant, easy attention on your business, and you don’t need to let a sense of unnecessary modesty or imposter syndrome stop you from connecting with your prospects. Shed the struggle. Ricki Oldenkamp is a copywriting and marketing strategist who helps you get strategic solutions to your biggest marketing challenges.
You can read more about Ricki at rickioldenkamp.com. That’s R I C K I O L D E N K A M p.com. You can also check out a special offer she has just for today’s listeners on the show notes at kinshiphandwork.com/episode-10 Let’s get started.
today I have Anne Morningstar with me. Anne, welcome to the show,
Anne: thank you for having me. I’m so excited to be here.
Tina: It is always exciting, like the cracking open, the brand new podcast episode, right, and cracking open a brand new conversation. It’s exciting for me as having the guest here and I know a little bit about you and a little bit about your history, but I have no idea what you’re gonna say today and it’s so exciting to imagine what that might be.
Anne: Could be anything. You’re not ready,
Tina: That is true. So Anne, um, before we talk about your place in the world, right this a minute in your life. I’m wondering if you might tell me who inspires you to be a maker and if you identify as a maker and what that looks like.
Anne: I absolutely identify as a maker if I had to trace back. To who it was that originally inspired me to begin making it would definitely be my mom. She, from day one, I think, like I was out of the womb and she was already trying to get me and my sisters to be as creative as we possibly could be. I’m one of four girls and so we lived in a very fairy land for this situation all through childhood , and my mom was definitely at the core of that
She taught me to sew. When I was, I mean, I must have been five or six. I learned how to crochet a year after that. She always had lots of different buttons and fabrics and string and just tons of different supplies that she really loved to just have available to any of us. And her getting out her sewing basket was always this moment of like, anticipation.
What are we getting ready to do? And so the creativity really just started to grow from there. She taught us to cook and to bake from a very young age as well. Um, and so there was actually a point in time, I believe it was second grade when all of us sort of turned seven or whenever that age is, and it was our responsibility to make dinner. For the whole family
And so that was sort of our, initiation if you will, into this idea that we were now old enough to do the dishes and to be participants in this making process. And so I think that really where it went from there, and then the continued inspiration has then come from my sisters.
So it started with my mom has continued with my sisters because being by their side through those initial phases of creation and creativity is really what drives how I still am able to have that foundation today.
Tina: Very nice. so I’m picturing this. I’m definitely, um, uh, imaginative human this way. So like, people will tell me some gruesome story and I’m like, stop. I can’t hear this. It’s, it’s like oozing all over me right now.
Tina: I like to picture, where do you fall in the lineup of your three siblings?
Anne: I am the third of four girls.
I was the observer. I was the one who never talked. . There was a point during a college visit, I was being recruited for basketball and I was on a college visit. Both of my parents went with me to meet the coaches and at the end of that visit, we were getting in the van, and when I shut my door, my mom turned around and looked at me and she said, Anne, I never knew that you knew how to talk so. I was 18 at the time and I was, didn’t know if to be offended or honored that my mom knew that I knew how to present myself, but I would just, I’ve always been a very quiet person. You meet me today, and that’s definitely not the case. I have a lot of things to say, , and I think that that’s what art school did to me,
Tina: So you’re third in line, right? Well, we’ll just say in line because I’m picturing you getting all to this, this age where you get to create and make dinner and plan it. I’m guessing I also do that with my seven year old, although we just began, so right now it’s like popcorn cuz he gets to pick whatever he wants.
That’s the key to. At our house as he
Anne: I love that. I love
Tina: And um, and he likes to make popcorn on the stove, so we make it on the stove. So anyway. Um, so then I’m wondering like as you all become seven, do you pick up that, that responsibility and hold it for the rest of your childhood?
I’m loving the thought that maybe your mom had four dinners taken care of at some point. This is where I’m going. I’m like gleeful over here and I’m just wondering. I love to cook too, but you know, sometimes it gets arduous, so.
Anne: Sometimes it does, especially when you’re trying to, you know, hit on those picky eaters or someone who maybe isn’t into something. Um, admittedly, my very first meal that I chose to make was. Craft macaroni and cheese. Which my mom then promptly informed me that my dad would really like to have meat along with the meal.
So then I had the idea at that time, and I remember this very vividly, that I chose to do ground hamburger. and to put the ground hamburger into the mac and cheese and then dip potato chips or corn chips and like eat it that way. And so I remember that so well and it’s actually carried over into today.
Um, as far as making the meals and if we are expected to make the meals for the family, at that point in time, it was never that. , I, I don’t know that it was ever that strategized by my mom or, or that specific of a thought that she had. I think that for her it was more knowing that we had the ability and that we at any point in time could.
So I don’t know that she was ever looking at it from her point of view. It was a very sort of selfless guidance of, I want you to know how to do this. And there was nothing else attached to it other than this beautiful gift she was trying to give us so that we didn’t go through life or grow up not knowing how to do something that she felt, you know, in her mind all of her children should be able to do.
Tina: Yeah. Very nice. Very nice. Okay. Alright. Having Ellis Cook is not about him taking over a night of cooking . It’s for the same reason, , but I like to picture that.
Anne: I can see now as a mother of young children, I can definitely see how there are benefits and I think we’re gonna start maybe with the meal planning.
Our kids are very active in the kitchen. They have been since birth. I mean, I, it was a week postpartum with every single one of them. Every Sunday we make blueberry pancakes and they have all been in the front pack making blueberry pancake. , whether they were asleep or then eventually facing out. And now sure enough, I have all three of them, one on each side, and then one in the middle every Sunday.
Even last Sunday, , you know, making the blueberry pancakes with me. And they all know how to flip and do all the things and they’re better off for it.
Tina: Isn’t that amazing the things that, that we do that bring us such comfort as adults? So like you still make macaroni and cheese in that way that you made because I would guess that in creating that for you or family, and taking your dad’s desires into account and trying to make something that would taste good, like you created something that, it’s just like the very definition of creation, right?
That you’re creating something that’s bigger than the parts of its whole. And I think, there’s so much beauty to that, and I would guess that. . It’s why we make right? And your children are gonna have that memory of blueberry pancakes on Sunday.
And whenever they have blueberry pancakes, it’s gonna elicit that beautiful feeling, that beautiful emotion, the same that your macaroni and cheese
Tina: and and chips do. And I think that there’s just so much magic to that.
Anne: Yeah, absolutely.
Tina: How do you identify as a maker today? What is it that you do that feels like your brand of creation?
Anne: This is a really challenging question for me in this specific point in time in my life, and I think. that stems from a variety of factors. I chose to go to art school rather than taking a basketball scholarship. I chose to start a business with my husband and that required different parts of me to come out.
Um, we chose to have children. That requires a different part of me to come out. I am an educator, which also takes this other part of my creativity. Every single one of. aspects of my life. I feel very strongly devoted to a certain level of creativity that goes into each one. And I don’t view any of them as maybe just the title that they are.
And so I would say if I had to put a label on it at this point in time, that sort of encompasses all of them. I view myself as an artist first, but I’m an artist who design. And so as a maker, I think what that sort of translates to then is a creative approach to designing the outputs. that I put out there to those around me.
And I think it sort of does go back to my dad having a preference about eating meat with the meal every night. You know, he has since gotten away from that as he has grown older in his age but at that time, , there were considerations of others and that was something else that both of my parents instilled in us very young.
And I think that that very much had an impact. how I have become a creative. I think that also participating in team sports also impacted in the same way. So as a maker, I am almost not considering it as something that is strictly my own. And instead I view it as sort of this team effort where everyone does have input.
You know, my students in the classroom. . I take the chemistry of them every semester because semester by semester the same class absolutely should be taught differently. You know, there’s a similar element to that that comes with the farm season and we have Bear Creek Organic Farm and, and as a designer, I approach the marketing materials, the photography, the voice of that brand somewhat differently.
Year. Brian and I talk about this a lot together because he also has a really great marketing mind as well, and has a vision of what he thinks. And as a duo, that then becomes this joint project. It’s not just, you know, one of us versus the other. , although there are plenty of conversations where there are those things at odds as one could imagine.
Um, especially with someone who maybe went through formal training of it and someone who is a creative mind and has strong opinions that way. And, um, so yes, you know, you can fill in the blanks with that, but, . I think that what it really comes down to as a maker for me, is I take so seriously the impact of each of the decisions that goes into whatever that is that I’m creating, the object or the experience or the time-based, reality of that even.
I think that that’s also interesting too, from a standpoint of, I’m gonna step back now and say in art school, . I chose animation as my major. So when I would tell people, oh, I’m majoring in animation, their immediate response would be, oh, so you’re gonna make cartoons. And to me, , I’m thinking I absolutely understand where that’s coming from, but in reality, as an animator, I’m a time-based artist.
I’m a time-based maker, and so I have to consider that fourth dimension in order to fully. Supply people with an experience, whether that is a two-dimensional experience that they can walk up to and interact with in some way, or something that they see on a screen or something that they can physically come and experience as more of an installation.
And I think that that again is where as a time-based artist by training, I think that I’m trying to use my understanding of storytelling, character development, even editing. , and I’m trying to consider it from the standpoint of now when a customer comes to our on-farm market, what are they seeing first, and what is that timing and pacing of that experience?
when they’re coming to, um, a workshop or a tour that Brian’s giving. You know, when we talk through like, where should he start the tour? What are the things he should talk about? When should he talk about certain things? It’s really trying to help him, figure out the best way to disseminate the information that is in an educational tone.
But also an experiential tone. And there are so many parts and pieces to this puzzle. that aren’t just the singular object that you see at the end. I’m very much a process person. I love process. I absolutely love watching my students start in one spot, work through this challenge they’ve given themselves based on the prompt that I give them, of course, but they make it their own, and at the end they’re showing me something that I never knew I wanted.
and I find a lot of beauty in that
Tina: I had so many thoughts as you were speaking and one of them is a, in my own business.
And I don’t know if this is quite what you mean by being a time-based artist, but I, I think it is. So you can correct me if I’m wrong. . In my own business, I’ve created online courses that are static, right? I mean, they’re dynamic in the fact that they are viewed with a group and then there’s a question and answer kind of a space.
But they’re already created, right? They’re already recorded, and over the last few years I’ve had this sense of, I guess, this dissatisfaction. With that process, with it feeling like this static thing, like held in time, if you will, and not having, I mean, I have the ability in the live portions of the course, but not throughout the whole course for it to have.
The flow and the flexibility to shift to that cohort of people or to shift to who I am in that moment. Right. Some of that stuff is three or four years old and it feels like, it feels kind of stale to be quite honest, and it feels like it has already been done. It’s finished, it’s over.
I love how when you talk to somebody, anyone and they share their experience with you, and this is a side, and I’m gonna give you lots of little bunny trails, but, and as they share their experience with you and you hear them, it like triggers your own thoughts and reminds you I dunno if it gives you permission, but it’s like, this is why I feel so dis sort of dissatisfied with what I have because I want it to be in the moment.
I want to be present right now. And I, so I love, I love that you just shared that with us. . And then I so appreciate the intention and the mindfulness that you put into that user experience, right. Into that community experience, let’s call it. That seems a little more,
Anne: Hmm. Yeah,
Tina: In inviting, I try to do the same thing with what I do and the work that I do, and it’s like there’s so many layers to it that nobody would even see the individual layers.
There’s so much to that intentionality and that synchronicity
that you’re trying to create, and I think that’s just, I think that’s gorgeous and I think it’s gorgeous to, especially from somebody who’s classically, artistically trained, to bring that to something like advertising for your organic.
Tina: What a way to bring it all into your life.
And like part of the, the point of my podcast is to look at how to bring vibrancy to our lives and intentionality and mindfulness and authenticity, if you will, to our lives through the lens of being a maker. Obviously, you can bring authenticity and vibrancy to your life without identifying as a creative or a maker.
Tina: But I like making, and I like to talk to makers and I like to have those conversations and I think that we inherently have this sense of I can do that to us. And so I like to have this conversation through that lens and I’m really grateful for what you shared.
What a great conversation I’m having with Ann today. Oh, I can’t wait to get back to it, but real quick, I want to share a word from our sponsor. Today’s episode is sponsored by Ricki oldenkamp marketing.
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For anyone wanting to dip their toes into working with her. She’s offering her strategy, matchmaker sessions, normally $250 for only $97. So the first 20 people to take advantage of the offer. The session clarifies your brand’s impact created from your current assets and the best fit strategy. to expand your reach for your specific goals.
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To take stock of your current marketing, you’ll receive a strategy report that outlines your action items to separate yourself from others. With similar offers. Ready to drive conversions, increase profits and achieve your business dreams. To live your most outstanding life. Ricky’s ready to help you get there.
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Tina: I have one question for you on that,
the question. I. Is, there’s definitely a school of thought around art
I think the sentence is something like, it’s none of my business what anybody thinks about what I’ve created. Right? And so something to that effect. And so I wonder how that relates to your journey as an artist. I can completely see and understand and relate to. Very much so creating an experience and
being that problem solver, that is so often part of being a maker as well of, okay, I have, I have this feeling I want to evoke out into the community. How do I get to the end result from here? And of course, you have no control whether you get to that end result or not. So I guess kinda looking at it from that aspect, but also just the aspect of being a creative and that, well, I guess that’s the, that’s the aspect.
I mean, being a creative and then letting it.
Anne: I’ll kind of go back to originally before I even went into all of that, I’m at a very, I’m at a very interesting moment
Anne: in my creativity and I’m really only able to articulate it now at this moment in time, post the last few years, and really diving deep into why I’m doing what I’m doing, and why I believe in what I’m doing. While I was in art school. Graduating and trying to come up with what do I do now?
Because now I’m a trained creative with a specific set of skills that is what I’m supposed to do and maybe not even supposed to do. Maybe that’s not the proper way to say it. I’m expected there’s a certain level of unspoken expectancy of what someone does when they are trained in a specific thing, and what took me a lot of years to figure out.
because I chose to go right out of undergrad and straight into grad school, and I was going specifically for the business side. I specifically chose the business side of the arts versus a master of fine arts where I could continue that craft and that making process because I told myself, I know that I will continue to make, but I don’t know how to understand the business.
Anne: I think that for me that was that transitional point. But even then I came out of grad school with this mask on during those two years saying, well, it’s okay that I’m not really making. And yes, I had a couple of classes where I was creating these small. Animation bumpers for the P b s station that ran through Indiana University.
And, and so I had that experience. My work was broadcast all over central to lower Indiana and beyond. You know, I, I had that experience, but coming right out of grad school, if I wasn’t an animator working in an animation studio, then I failed. And I think that what that did to me mentally for the next couple of years with just the way my journey turned out.
You know, the relationship I had at the time with Brian and, um, a lot of other factors. Obviously, you’re kind of entering into this different level of adulthood at that point in time, and then everything just speeds up. You go through the next phases of life and then you start a business and now you’re living somewhere where you’re like, wow, I’m probably gonna.
Retire and live here the rest of my life, the rest of my days. And so to kind of be at this point now where I’m in the thick of it, of my career and thinking about like, wow, I’m like in my career now. And so to look at that and then think about the fact that, okay, I’m a creative, I was classically trained.
I’m still not working as an animator, have I still. And I think that that’s where, and , that was a very big question for me through the pandemic. And I think that what I came out of the other side with is how I just shared with you this understanding of no. , I’m classically trained, so yes, I could make anybody an animation any day.
I could characterize someone and put ’em into motion, set it to some music, and that’s fun and I can’t wait to do that sort of thing with my kids and teach them how to do it and, make them a character and you know, have this whole thing. That’ll be fun. But the more powerful piece is why was I so concerned with limiting myself to this one vision of. Arbitrarily wasn’t even being put on me. I was putting it on myself with assumptions of what I thought was expected of me. And I think that I’m now in a place where, as I just mentioned, I’m a time-based creative, I’m an artist who designs these experiences, education, branding, all of these things, and I think. That Then sort of getting at your question of artist and who cares who sees it or who cares. I’m just making it to make, that’s a very real question that also sort of ties into this in an interesting way. There are so many facets, so being a creative that nobody understands unless they’re in it, and I don’t mean that to sound like people don’t understand or you know.
I’m not meaning it from that standpoint. I’m just saying that, the difference between being an artist and a designer is the intention when you’re creating as an artist and when you’re making as an artist, you are very much coming from a place of, I have something to say, I want to put this out. don’t care if anybody sees it. This is about me trying to express something that I need to get out of myself now. And that is a different line of thinking, and that’s a different purpose for that individual. And so, yeah, it doesn’t matter what people think of it. Now, do those opinions and critiques and conversations affect the person who made it, and does that make them think differently about how they then make the next thing?
Absolutely. How could it. , but as a designer, your entire intention is to speak to that client base that you have. And so for me to be a fine artist or consider myself a fine artist first who designs, I am choosing to express myself specifically for an audience, and that audience changes. You know, I could relate this to beekeeping and anytime I’m going into the.
it’s a performance piece. I have to take in the emotions that one hive is having one day and the emotions of a different hive, a different day. Those queens are all living beings. They’re having their own moment on any given day, and if I am unwilling to consider their point of view on a given day, well then I’m gonna get stung or I’m gonna send them into a rage and they’re gonna come down to the farm and start looking for people to take it out.
Anne: and those are customers which can’t happen , um, . And so, you know, there needs to be a lot more, uh, consideration for who people are and how they’re coming to something that I’m choosing to create. Because in those moments of creation, it’s no longer just about me. I am, I am setting the stage and I am creating this environment that will be.
Where people come together to have conversations even without me there.
Tina: Right, as a business owner, I’ve thought a lot about marketing as well and creating an experience, right? And there’s this balance, I believe between, as a business owner putting out your identity and then relating it to, and also including, the identity of the clients or the customers or the community that you’re hoping to reach, right?
So I know that, um, that can be a hard balance to find between not becoming a business that is identity less and sort of shifting to, to serve an audience. , I believe there’s a lot of value in, in having an identity, having a stand, if you will, but being flexible in that stand and understanding that you also have a client that you’re trying to bring in.
And so you have to, one, make sure that your ideas are vetted against the clients that you wanna serve. And also two, um, well, having the flexibility to flow with what they might need, and then vet that against what you need and see where the intersection is.
Anne: Absolutely. , it’s a real consideration. And when when you’re talking about branding an identity that requires whoever it is, that’s exploring that for their own business to decide the direction they wanna take it and who it is that they are.
it doesn’t always equate to a specific person, and I think that that’s kind of what you’re getting at is, are you then creating an identity that is this avatar of sorts that other people can recognize and larger companies and corporations will do that a lot of times and make it seem like there’s this person, but we don’t really know who it is.
But then you have this owner that you know, as the owner, that their identity is separate. And that’s very intelligent to do it that way in specific circumstances. But I think. The way that Brian and I have chosen to go as far as the farm is concerned is, like we’ve said since day one, like we are the brand, like us as people.
The brand isn’t some other thing that we’ve decided or, or stated, you know, um, the barn is the brand, like everything is centered on the barn. And I’m not saying that that’s a bad decision. I’m saying that’s not the decision we.
Anne: so when you can start to see how the decision that you made resonates with people and then there’s buy-in, that sort of puts fuel on the fire to be like, oh wow.
Like, well then how do we feel about this? Well then what should we do about this over here and, and now what should we do? And what do they want now? And so, but then you can start to have that convers. Again, with a lot more intentionality and those decisions become easier, and I think anybody looking to start a business, starting with those questions of what you value are so critical.
And an exercise that I do with my students in portfolio development in the business of art, which are classes I teach at the college one of the first questions that I ask them in both classes on day one. So this concept of vocation that Frederick Buchner sort of started to. , I’ve taken his question and tailored it more to what my students need as artists. And so it goes something like this. What you are meant to do in your life is at the intersection of your deepest passion and what you believe to be the world’s greatest need. And if you can start there. like Frederick Buchner has so eloquently stated. Then you can start to get at the root of what you should be working toward. Now he goes in a different direction. I then take it and I add this concept of the five whys, and so really starting with not only what is it that’s your deepest passion, what do you see as the world’s greatest need?
That’s where you can start to see like, wow, I, I care about this. , but then to match that with why, and not just that surface level, it’s that initial why that you start to say, oh, because I care about the environment, because I care about this, I care about that. But then it’s like, well, why do you care about the environment?
And then you give those answers and you’re like, well, why do you care about that? So you ask that five times and you go in and I give all the students this giant piece of paper. and I start so small in my example that I do in front of them. I put my name so small and I can see the students kind of like glaring over like, why is she doing it that small?
Like that’s bad composition. And I’m just like, you just wait. And they all, and it undoubtedly put their name huge, like in the middle, are totally off to one side. And what they generate over the course of the next week is this giant thought bubble that just spans out and spreads out. And what they’re doing is synthesizing.
everything that matters to them, but putting it into words and trying to challenge themselves to understand why in the world that matters. And from there you can start to develop that more of like a mission or vision for yourself to say, well, here’s why it matters to me. This is why this is what I’m getting at.
And here and now you can say, here is why other people should care. And if you can understand that, the rest of it’ll fall into.
Anne: you’re a maker, you can make anything and you can decide to start making something that you’ve never made in your entire life and you just want to get into something.
My sister, um, she went to the same art school that I went to, majored in illustration, very talented, got really into collage, beautiful work, and for her senior thesis decided, well, I really wanna do fashion design. she decided to take what she had been doing with paper for so long and turn it into clothes, and she had a fashion show and she did this incredible work and now she decided she wants to get into quilts and knitting.
Anne: connected her with you, Tina and I, well, I’ve tried to get her to connect with you . Cause I feel like the two of you would really get along and it would be so fun. Um, but she now has her own business and she’s really doing and trying and she’s, putting herself out there and trying to find the way because she was a classically trained artist.
She’s trying to figure out what that means for.
Anne: but she’s finding it. And anytime I catch up with her and I hear what she’s doing, I’m like, whoa. She’s making massive strides and she doesn’t even see it cuz it’s right in front of her.
Tina: Great. Oh, and I love this. I wanted to tell you a little story and then I’m gonna ask if you wouldn’t mind, just for the listeners out there, I think this would be such a fun exercise if you would just lead them through briefly how to start out on that piece of paper. I know that some of them aren’t gonna identify as artists or people who wanna make a business, but I think that this.
Gosh, it fits right into the idea of living a vibrant life, right? Because I talk a lot about when you know yourself really well, you have such a better chance at having a life you love, because then you can curate what you bring into your life and you can curate what you put out in life. And I just think that it has so much value that way.
So several years ago I read a book called The Awakened Woman. I cannot remember the author’s name, but I’ll put it in the show notes. And one of the questions that has stuck with me and it. Very much relates to the question that you just asked was she’s talking about finding your purpose in life, and her question is what breaks your heart about the world?
Like what is the thing that breaks your heart about the world? And that’s gonna be different for all of us, right? Like for some people, that’s gonna be the loss of habitat for Gorilla. Or it’s going to be, who knows? It’s gonna be something specific to each of us.
And I think that there’s so much value in knowing what that is because then you can know where to put your energies. And so for me, when I answered that question for myself, it was women who fell alone, women or children who fell alone and unseen and unheard and. . That’s really what stemmed my desire to create a business teaching woman how to sew clothing.
It’s not about clothing sewing. Not at all. It’s about them feeling that sense of empowerment, that like, look what I can do with my own two hands and look how much I can love my body more now that I’m not limited by the sizes in the store and all of the other facets that bring that in. And then I talk to, um, so many different podcasters in my and other business owners in my travels and.
We are all trying to do the same thing. My lens is through the lens of making, and my lens is through the lens of this very specifically sewing clothing. But really I want to empower people to feel strong and capable and to know that they can be exactly who they need to be in the world. And so what broke my heart was the idea of women in particular.
Cause we all have a vein. And I’m not saying that men don’t have, um, the same issues. Not at all. But like women who. Forgotten or unseen. Or silenced in some way. And so, um, I think that relates directly to what you were just mentioning,
Anne: It absolutely does. And that’s so beautiful and I, I can feel that so much. It’s so clear that it matters so much to you. And that is also a similar question I say to the students, what makes you so angry that you could cry? What is something that is so, Upsetting to you that you can’t look away even though it’s awful and, and it motivates you to like, want to act and do something about.
And because there’s lots of different causes that all of us can be like, I will absolutely support that cause, but what’s the one where it’s like, I will lead that cause like that to me. So what you just offered with empowering women. , obviously, yes, men have their own thing, but for you, Tina, like for you, it happens to be women and children, and I think that even the fact that, you know, that is so powerful for you and that helps to sort of guide you through this whole process.
Tina: It does. So then when you talk about that intersection between what I’m passionate about and what breaks my heart
about and what, cuz I’ve seen it as a trifecta in that
Anne: Absolutely there’s
Tina: what you’re good at, what you’re passionate about, and what is breaking your heart in the world.
And that intersection in the center like that definitely is why I teach. I love teaching for the probably the same reason that you do, right? That
Tina: watching that growth and that shift in someone’s mindset
So I wonder if you might share, the exercise that you lead your students through is so that the listeners can do that if they like.
Anne: absolutely. So what you do is you start with that question of the intersection. . And so even just writing those things out, it’s very important to put it into words that are on a piece of paper so that you can see them and reflect back on them. And in some ways, even writing out the definition of what those words are.
We all know what the word happy means. We understand it, but until you look at the definition and you look at the antonyms even, and you see what it is and what it is not, that helps you to understand and fully say, yes, 1000%, this is accurate. at that point, just getting a piece of paper. It can be any size of paper.
I recommend large though, because then you can sort of feel like you’re not confined by the boundaries of the piece of paper. But writing your name in the middle and just putting a circle around it, and then anything that comes to your mind about what makes you you or things that you love, things that you value, and it could be anything.
It doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with that intersection piece yet. you’ll get back to it. Now, that said, obviously there will be parts of that intersection that just naturally show up, and that’s obvious because they’re all tied together. You could have five different things spoking off of that central point, which is your name, or you could have 10 different things. At that point.
You’re gonna look at those words and you’re going to give yourself maybe two or three spokes that come off of each one of those. So this is growing exponentially. and you write in the first why. So for me, anytime I do this exercise and I do repeat this exercise for myself, not like, every month, but
But certainly like, you know, every year, every couple of months, every six months or any something of that nature, I definitely come back to it to sort of recenter myself if I’m ever feeling like I need to recenter myself. This is a great exercise. And so for, for that matter, I always come back to art education and I think that for me, that’s where when I look at my,
brain dump. That is that web that I’ve made of the five why’s, I start to feel a little bit better about the fact that, oh, see, like I didn’t have to go be an animator and animation studio to be successful because that was only a piece of the puzzle. Like, yes, I care about time-based media and I care about what that does to people.
But then how does, but then why to that? So when you’re filling out that first, why, , it’ll still feel really good, and every single one of those initial points are gonna seem very important. But then the next why is the second, and you do two or three spokes off of each of those spokes that you just had, or each of those bubbles I, if you will.
So then off of that why and those answers, you do the next and you’re at your third, and then so on until you get to the.
Anne: What’s gonna start to happen is very much, there will be common themes. You’ll come up with the same word. You’ll be talking in a circle with yourself in some ways, with some of these points that you’re making to yourself really.
but there’s going to be one of those that you’re gonna be able to continue to just challenge yourself to sort of work through and really dig into the much meatier moment of why something actually does matter to you. And probably what’s gonna happen more often than not is when you get to that point, typically by the fourth or fifth why, you’re gonna look back at that intersection piece and you’re gonna say, wow. maybe it’s not the same words, but those concepts and themes will be absolutely connected.
Anne: And if they’re not, that doesn’t mean you failed the exercise. It just means that there’s more to it that you need to keep working through. And maybe that just comes from you, you know, coming back to it a few months later and saying, let’s try this again.
And again, like this exercise isn’t about coming up. Your mission or your exact brand. This is just a step in that multifaceted process and, but that exercise can be so wonderful and refreshing and rejuvenating and just, it can feel so good to break it down for yourself in such a way that you can visualize and being able to see where all these things that are seemingly important to you.
Maybe you put them all on the same level, but they’re not . And I think that that’s also a really powerful realization to have. And that doesn’t mean that different things won’t take priority at different points in life. I think that’s also kind of what you were talking about with yours is these things are all ebbing and flowing all the time.
So what I tell my students is this is just this moment in time that you’re documenting. This is not by any stretch, meaning that you’re gonna think the world’s greatest need is the same thing throughout your entire life. That will change, you know? And so I think that that’s the beauty in it is this document can be approached
Tina: Anne, this has been such a wonderful conversation. I could talk to you forever,
Anne: same. I love it.
Tina: It’s really good. So the question that I always end my podcast interview with is, and we may have really touched on this, but it might be different, so I’m gonna ask it anyway, is what do you wish that people knew and deep in their hearts?
So you think they might not know?
Anne: What a great question. This is. Wow, I could take this in so many different interactions. are you referring to like about me or you’re saying just something that I believe that I want people to
Tina: Well, I think. That’s kind of a loaded question of your own, because I think that often it’s about us, but it’s something, I think the things that we wish we knew are things that we also wish the world knew right
Anne: Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm.
Tina: And so I think it’s one and the same
Tina: Whatever is popping out first, let let that flow.
Anne: Something that I really want people to feel empowered by and to consider is the fact that every single person on earth is a creative, we all make in our own ways. I think that many times something that makes me sad is when creativity is squashed. A lot of times, circumstances that can’t be helped or one person or individual in someone’s life who may be unintentionally or intentionally make someone feel like what they’ve created, oftentimes children doesn’t look good or it doesn’t sound good.
And it really put an unfortunate damper on that creative process that’s so necessary, especially as young children. To have as they’re growing up and that they can use as they’re growing up as a form of expression. And I think that taking away this idea of creativity or taking away the desire or the excitement around wanting to create, I think that for me, I just wanna remind everybody that we were all children. We all had an imagination at one point in time. Whether you chose to harness that and carry it through into adulthood or whether you chose to hide that from the world for any number of reasons, my hope is that everybody can find it again one day and allow that to shine through because that that is definitely where I’m getting so emotional.
I’m sorry. I think that, you know, aside from being emotional about it, I think , um, it’s the greatest gift that everybody has is their creative power and to take that away from someone. is probably one of the most unspeakable things that happen , and I just really hope that everyone understands that you do have creative power, you do have a voice, and you do have the ability to express that and that it matters to the world. and you matter to the world. And whatever that voice looks like, you should be proud and allow it to shine because you don’t know how many other people will resonate with the voice that you have to offer. And I think it’s important for all of us to remember that creativity isn’t just about the end product, it’s about connect.
and we all wanna be connected.
Tina: And that was so powerful. I wanna thank you for being vulnerable with us and for
sharing, and I think that, um,
just what a beautiful gift. Thank you.
Anne: Yeah. Thank you.
Tina: I know people are gonna wanna connect with what you’re doing because you’re, um, you’re a light in this world.
Anne: Thank you, . Thank you so much.
Tina: will you share how they can find you? Where they can find you, and how they can connect with you?
Anne: absolutely. Uh, you can connect with me via Bear Creek Organic Farm. I also have a personal email. It’s a little confusing, so maybe Tina can include it in, uh, the notes, but it is a n as in Nancy, so Ann essentially a n Morningstar, all email@example.com. And I love to hear from people.
I love to connect with people and I’m always happy to talk with people about creativity and art and design and all that that entail.
Tina: So can I just say too that, um, I have always loved your.
Anne: Oh, thank you,
Anne: It’s real. It is real. I know
Tina: It’s so magical.
Anne: thank you. Thank you. It’s actually, um, when my dad’s side of the family came over on Ellis Island, actually it translated from German Morgan Stern directly into Morningstar. One of my dad’s sisters actually found a photo.
They actually have a photo of that page and so they can see where whoever wrote it wrote Morgan Stern, Morningstar. And that’s, that’s how it started.
And that’s our show for today. I want to thank Anne Morningstar for being my guest today. I cannot wait to hear what you thought of our conversation. Hey, and if you do the exercise that she mentioned.
Tell me how that goes. I’m going to do it too. And I will be sure to share with you.
Thanks for listening. I appreciate you being here. You can find all the links. To the things that we talked about. In the show notes. At kinship, handwork.com. Click on podcast and you’ll see this as episode number 10.
I love it, that I get to share these amazing stories with you. And every week I’m like, this is my favorite podcast yet.
And then the next week, it’s the same. Oh, and I just wish almost that they had more time to be alive because I still want to like bask in the glory of the previous conversation. But alas time marches on. And so.
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