Art Alumni: Where are they now?
By Narjes Albakshy
“Rekindle your wonder” is a quote Megan Eckman lives by. As a 2009 graduate from MSUM, she left the Fargo-Moorhead area with degrees in arts and creative writing under her belt, ditched her heavy winter coats and snow boots and headed to sunny California to pursue what she loves the most in life – art.
What constitutes art is vague and limitless, and Eckman is proof of that. Her talent, creativity and passion have led her to create many forms of art, which include paintings, graphic designs, embroidery and writing.
Eckman’s writing goes hand-in-hand with her illustrations and vice versa. She is the author of the 2013 self-published book, “How to Outsmart Tea Pirates (and Other Useful Sailing Tips).” The book includes nautical-themed short stories, poems and illustrations. Next year, Eckman will be publishing a book featuring a fictional museum and its art collections based from her imagination.
“Writing plays a huge part of my business,” Eckman said. “The writing skills I learned at MSUM enable me to write stellar sales pages, guest blog posts, content for my shop, and even silly stories that I share with my fans in my weekly newsletter.”
While Eckman’s books fill up bookcases (and hard drives) nationwide, she simultaneously focuses on embroidery. “One night I decided to turn one of my illustrations into an embroidery piece out of boredom,” Eckman said.
Utilizing social media to promote her work, Eckman developed her hobby of embroidery into an artistic business. “I posted the finished piece on Instagram and suddenly all of my fans wanted to stitch it.”
Embroidery patterns of her illustrations include animals, sea creatures, Midwestern wildlife, West Coast landmarks and architecture. In the next two weeks, a new set of East Coast landmark stitching templates will be released.
Her embroidery pattern templates are available on her website, studiomme.com, featured in modcloth.com and in her Etsy.com shop.
Eckman is featured in “Stitch Along,” a lark book published in 2014, among nine talented embroidery artists, which inspires designs for fellow embroiders. Additionally, she is releasing a few e-books of embroidery patterns this year.
Having an art degree is not limited to one field. Eckman also had an opportunity to incorporate art with the latest technology.
“In 2013 I had the pleasure of creating artwork for the release of an app that Google launched called Fieldtrip,” she said.
In addition, her newest stitching projects will allow embroidery enthusiasts to use wood instead of fabric for stitching, using laser technology.
The success of Eckman’s career stems from the basics: her education at MSUM.
“The fine art and creative writing skills that I learned while at MSUM could not have been picked up in the real world without about 10 times the amount of work and months,” she said.
“The thing I miss most about MSUM is the constant critiquing and the feeling of uninterrupted inspiration,” she said. “When you pack so many creative people together in classrooms, sparks are always flying and you can’t help but come up with ideas.”
With the upcoming, innovative projects Eckman is working on for the holiday season and New Year, her goal is to reach a six-figure income to solemnize her success after five years of graduation.
Eckman’s innovation, hard work and creativity portrayed in her cozy, imaginative artistic endeavors, can surely rekindle any wonder.