All designs, photo images and text on this site are copyrighted to Morningstar Studio, Winsted, CT.
Photo taken November 2016
Jeanne Kent was named Spozowialakws (Morningstar) by an Abenaki Elder many years ago. It means: "One who leads others out of the darkness into the light...a teacher."
She is an Enrolled Member of the Nulhegan Band, Coosuk-Abenaki of Vermont.,and also descended from Nipissing, Montagnais, and Algonquin People from the Quebec area of Canada. Her father was French and Indian, her mother was German. Her art work contains Native American symbols and designs of the Northeast Woodland People with focus on the Wabanaki group. Her medium is gourd art. Currently, she is working on a series of gourd designs which she hopes will provide a visual language for the woodland People .
"There is something wonderful about putting one's hands into the soil to plant the seed, nurturing it until the blossoms form, then protecting them until they develop into natural canvases upon which to work my art, " she said. "Working with gourds is a combination of my art and heritage bound together in a spiritual journey with Mother Earth."
She has received both state and national awards and participated in one man shows and group shows through out CT, NY, NH and MA. Her work has sold internationally via her website. She holds a Batchelor of Fine Arts Degree and a Master in Art Education from the University of Hartford. Additional courses were taken at Johnson College, VT; Smith College, MA; Trinity College and Yale Campuses, CT, and the Woodstock School of Art, NY. She taught art in public schools for twenty years transversing levels from kindergarten to college. As teacher and artist, she has given inservices on Native crafts and history, to educators, acted as a mentor for student teachers, and offered courses at the University of Hartford Extension Service. Her most recent offering was presented to teachers as part of the H.O.T School (Higher Order Thinking Schools) Seminars at the Wesleyan College Campus.
Morningstar serves as an interpreter at the Institute for American Indian Studies, Washington, CT, where she has also lectured and given workshops. One of her gourd rattles is part of their permanent collection. Other permanent collections containing her work are the Chimney Point Museum (VT) and the Roger Williams University (RI). Many pieces are in private collections.
"I have been drawing since I could hold a pencil," she said. "It is like breathing. It is just something I have to do."
Her work has been shown at the Millbrook Gallery and Sculpture Garden (NH), the Artworks Gallery, (CT), McDaniels-Wiley Gallery, (CT), the Gallows Book Store and Gallery at Trinity College(CT) and the Bushnell Theater Gallery (CT). She was invited to participate in an invitational group show in Boxboro (MA) at the New England Native American Institute which hosted the show: "Walking Between Two Worlds." She currently shows her work at the Autumn Light Gallery in Avon, CT. In July, 2014, her book THE VISUAL LANGUAGE OF WABANAKI ART was released by History Press.
She recently offered lectures and workshops at the Institute for Native American Studies, the Mashantucket Pequot Museum, the University of Connecticut, the Naugatuck Community College , the ECHO Maritime Museum (VT) and numerous social groups.
Affiliations include the Institute for American Indian Studies, (CT), the American Gourd Society, the Northwest Connecticut Arts Council, and the Connecticut Commission on the Arts and the French Genealogy Library (CT). She is currently serving on the Vermont Abenaki Artists Association Committee.
"Although I am continuously walking between two worlds, I consider myself fortunate for having found a balance between my ancestral cultures."
Pre-contact group shot taken at the Institute for
American Indian Studies, Washington, CT
Cloth regalia of the late 1700s-early 1800s
Close up of beaded hood
NOTE: Please click on the audio bar at the top of the page to turn off background music before listening to the following interview or video.
Radio Interview about book "the Visual Language of Wabanaki Art", with Deb Reger, WGDR Radio Show Moccasin Tracks coming from Burlingotn, VT at Johnson State College and Goddard College. Interview taken at Nulhegan Gathering, VT, September 6, 2014.
Radio Interview about my gourd art with Deb Reger, WGDR Radio show Moccasin Tracks coming from Burlington, VT at Johnson State College and Goddard College, 2013