Artist Spotlight: Megan-Ilene

When we set out to cultivate a space on this platform, one of the most important aspects to us was working with amazing artists who have intentional craftsmanship and a beautiful perspective. 
Megan is a multidimensional fiber artist based out of North Carolina. When it comes to people that align with what we care about here at Altar: it doesn't get much better than Megan. She is just as passionate about creating in a sustainable way as we are and is truly leading the charge in an inspiring way!
Utilizing zero-waste practices and all organic fabric (many even being compostable), all while being cute as hec - to say we are fan-girling would absolutely be an understatement. Megan crafts garments with the eye of a natural artist, infusing each small batch run with a creative edge. Genderless designs, hand-dyed and Earth-friendly pieces: her work is the synthesis of thoughtful wearable art. 
 
Recently, we had the pleasure of getting to know Megan just a little bit more through a short series of fun questions!
 
What does your work space look like and what do you love about it?
We recently (I still say recent when its going on 9 months!) moved into a bigger/better space with retail windows, hardwood floors and more than 4x the space! I share it with a vintage re-seller so there's always interesting, nostalgic things coming through. For example, if you look at any of my studio videos on Instagram, you might see lifesize Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson cardboard cutouts behind me!
How have you evolved as an artist during your time making your line/collection?
I've always designed from a framework of gender inclusivity. This first manifested with loose, unfussy fits that allow your body to fit/fill the garment. But that has grown and changed as I see my pieces on more/different bodies. I've expanded my size range and my design mindset has shifted from clothing categories to more of a gender neutrality. Paramount is that you feel good in what you wear.
Do you have any sustainable or ethical practices that you’d like share?
Sure! I only use natural fibers, which can be broken down quicker and more effectively than plastics(like polyester and nylon). My studio is zero waste, so there is no textile off-fall going to the landfill. Any fibers or textiles that can't be incorporated into a design, I weave into new fabric, ensuring a closed loop system. I use low impact dyes and low water immersion techniques which are both to be mindful of our water treatment/reclamation and water usage. My seamstresses set the prices for the garments they create, ensuring they receive a fair wage and I work directly with artisans when purchasing handmade textiles to honor and respect the individuals responsible for creating their heritage fabrics. 
What advice would you give young artists who are just getting started?
Find a mentor and/or work under someone in a similar field before you branch out on your own. We, as a society, seem to forget that apprenticeships were an integral part of so many crafts, including art based ones! So much of how I structure my business was learned under the tutelage of others. Watching them succeed (and fail) better prepared me to make good choices for myself.
What other art forms inspire your creative process the most?
One of my favorite aspects of participating in art and craft shows is meeting and befriending fellow artists. Hopefully said show has been good so you are on a little endorphin rush (and maybe a little tipsy!) and you spy something beautiful. Come to find out, they have also seen your work and love it as well. Art trades are the best if it works out but always be mindful when proposing. Seeing someone else's interpretation/inspiration/career can puts me in a creative feedback loop. Buzzy ideas and compliments all around, it's hard to be in a bad mood or not feel inspired! 
 

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