Friday, April 27, 2012

On Creativity (featuring Meghan Willis, TsuruBride)

States of Undress No. 3
I met Meghan Willis through a mutual friend who lives in Vancouver (hi, Louisa!)--one of those, “Wow, the world is teeny-tiny” moments. I feel fortunate to know of her work, which she often creates under the name Tsurubride. Meghan is a Columbus-based textile artist. I’ve been obsessed with one of her recent bodies (ha! get it?) of work, States of Undress. Her art is both delicate and bad-ass (I mean, she gives us embroidered nudes--and sometimes includes skeletons), ladylike and rebellious. Her pieces remind me of subversive pin-ups or stills from a screen test--the women in her pieces dare you to look at them, and enjoy being watched. 

Q: States of Undress plays with images of the female body, anatomy, and clothing (that is often being removed); what I like best about this series is that you explore these ideas with embroidery. What inspires you about the body (especially female), about stitching on clothing that is coming off? Where did this series begin, and how has it developed for you? How do your materials factor in?

A: I’ve always been more drawn to the female form than the male form, artistically-speaking. I went to school for fashion design, focusing primarily on women's wear, so drawing women is very natural to me. I love the curves: sensual and sinuous. The clothing also goes hand-in-hand with my background. Instead of just nudes, I like how they add a playfulness to the images, making a celebration of the women.

I first got into embroidery last year when I was working on an art show. I incorporated small amounts into some of the pieces, and found it relaxing and inspiring. There were a couple factors that led to this series. It all started with my tumblr feed being filled with anatomical drawings which really struck a chord with me. I liked the idea of a piece where layers are coming off; first the shirt is removed, then the skin is removed to reveal her bones.

 I had my husband shoot some photos for me to use as a template. After No. 1 and 2, I used some shots Aaron [note: Meghan’s husband, who is a photographer] had previously done for No. 3, 4, and 5. I just numbered them as part of the series, as I didn't really have any plans for these things. The more I stitch, the more I enjoy it, and the more ideas come to me.  The series just keeps growing, and in between I'm creating other pieces that don't quite fit in the same vein as the "Undress" series.

I like keeping my background simple, hence the classic linen. The embroidery lends itself to my illustration-style: clean, crisp lines. The leather came into play as a way to play with fill-techniques. Also, from my former purse business, I have a surplus of leather. It's been fun to play with the illustration-style of the embroidery mixed with a more realistic effect with painting the leather.

Cherry Lounging on a Settee

All images courtesy of the artist. You can purchase some of her pieces here.


  1. Thank you for this! I have been fascinated by Meghan's work since Aaron contributed to Far Away. Her work is stunning, stirring, and elegant.

  2. As Elaine said on Seinfeld, "Men are jeeps." Yep.

  3. Love this interview and thanks for the introduction to her work!

  4. Fashion jewelry comes in various styles and types and includes such things as as beads, pearls, diamonds, chains, twist, and multi-chain or braided. Slides also come in unique styles like animals, name plates or other elegant designs.


The Storialist. All rights reserved. © Maira Gall.