10 QUESTIONS WITH INNOVATIVE NATURALIST TARA MORTON
Tara Morton is the Programs Manager at Perennial in St. Louis. When she isn’t making cool things, you can find her hiking, foraging, petting cats, going to concerts, seeing art, reading, eating sweets, rehabbing her house, hanging out with her sugar, and gazing at the moon. Tara considers herself to be a lifelong learner and is currently training to be a Missouri Master Naturalist. She holds a BFA in sculpture from SIUE and an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. You can learn more about her work here.
What’s your favorite book?
Because I love reading, it's hard to choose a favorite book. It's like picking your favorite child! I'll say that I've probably read To Kill a Mockingbird more times than I'd like to admit, and I'm a great fan of Kurt Vonnegut and Tom Robinson's writings. I'm also a Potterhead, what can I say?
I love the German movie Good Bye Lenin!. It has the perfect blend of politics, humor and melancholy, and a great cast.
Favorite TV show?
I watch Parks and Rec and The Office quite a bit, and just like the rest of the world, I love Game of Thrones.
When did you realize you wanted to share your passion/skill?
I took a Large-Scale Public Sculpture class coming out of my freshman year of undergrad, and I quickly learned that making art on that scale was a collaborative effort. I leaned on my colleagues quite a bit, and there was always a give and take of information and skills amongst us. It was such a great working environment to be in, and I've often reflected on that community culture we had throughout the years. I'm so thankful to be part of the Perennial team since I now get to help create that culture in our Community Workspace.
Did you go to school for your craft or teach yourself?
I studied Sculpture for both my Bachelors and Masters degrees, and I've used those making schools to influence my crafting. I do watch tutorials and scan DIY blogs, but I also love to just experiment with materials until it becomes something.
If you could choose a spirit animal what would it be?
I really identify with and am inspired by bats. They spend much of their time in caves, which since I live in Missouri (The Cave State), I admire their taste in dwelling. They are also underrated, as most people see them as pests, but they are actually a very important pollinator, and many of our favorite crops are dependent upon them. Their use of echolocation is also fascinating - I see them as creative problem solvers who found this alternative way to get around.
What makes you laugh until you cry?
My husband, whom I've been with for 12 years.
How do you like to spend your weekend?
I like to get outside when I can. I'm a self-taught forager, and I love hunting for and identifying native plants on a great hike.
What’s your favorite city and why?
St. Louis, of course! Pretty much all of our great museums are free, which is such an important asset to this city. The brick homes are so beautiful, and there is a great artistic community here. There's so much happening here that on any given weekend there are almost too many things to choose from. I don't trust anyone who could be bored in this city.
Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration in the contemporary art, the natural environment, in the people I surround myself with, and in vintage items. Inspiration is really everywhere if you're open to it.
Check out one of the many upcoming workshops at Perennial in St. Louis!