Unstrung Studios: Rochester artist shares her story with anatomical drawings burned on wood

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — “What I like about it is that there is taking something that’s natural, and morphing it into something else.” That theme of taking something simple and making into the personal fuels artist Megan Farrell.

She is a Webster native, and went through Rochester schools. And after a brief sojourn in Elizabethtown College. she’s back in Rochester, creating anatomical drawings on delicately burned pieces of wood.

“There is just nothing like the creative community here,” Farrell said. “People love to help each other to get better. There’s none of that weird competition. It’s good competition, but none of that cattiness I experienced in other places.”

Her anatomical drawings could fall under the discipline of medical illustration. Colleges have majors dedicated to the practice, and it goes even as far back at Leonardo da Vinci’s drawings.

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More brains, and more flowers please. . . 🧠 Read current information. Read from reputable sources. Peer reviewed, medical and scientific publications. 🙅‍♀️ Don't share without investigating.💡 We are learning more every day, what we knew last week may not apply any more. Stay current, and stay kind when presenting information. . . 🌺More flowers. Pick some pretty weeds from your yard 🌱🌿, or cut some blooms from your garden 🌹🌷🌻. Take in the beauty of the ones on your walk 🚶‍♀️. Buy a mask with cute florals (looking at you @mmmilyhandmade) Water the plants in your house. Water yourself a little too. . . 🥴The sheer amount of information coming out is overwhelming. This happens with all 🏥medical research in its infancy, but the difference is the general public is trying to keep up now. And while that is important 📆, there is a balance between staying informed and taking care of yourself. 🤗 . . 💌So here's your permission: To take a break from the word corona in your house 🏠 for a day (or two), and to just BE in the present. In your home, with your family and plants and pets🐈🐕🐰, basking in the sunshine ☀️. You can catch the news tomorrow. . . And if you can't do a day? Try for an hour. Take a very hot bubble bath 🛀, cry and laugh and think and then stop. Focus on the way the water 🌊feels on your body, the soft crinkle of bubbles popping🧼, and your cat's teeny paws 🐾 thumping across the floor. Dissect the smells of things in bloom 🌳, how it is mixing with the orange 🍊 ginger bubble bath. Take in the way your walls look different when they're lit with sunshine ☀️. . . More brains, more flowers. More presence, more kindness. . . #littlemoments #meditation #anatomy #brainart #floralanatomy #razertippowered #walnuthollow

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Majoring in occupational therapy means that she also took anatomy, physiology, and kineses classes. But the love for this craft doesn’t just come from one class.

Her true inspiration for this craft comes from her own personal experience.

“I’ve been forcibly immersed in the medical community for as long as I can remember,” she said. “I’ve had a complex healthy jounrey. I was the fifth grade who came in from out of school and explaining to kids how kidney stones work.”

While she might not have been happy to have kidney stones, she recalls with a beaming grin and eyes alight how cool it was to learn about it for he first time and to share her passion.

“I needed to understand what was going on with my own health, and the pathology of what I wanted to end up doing,” she said. “And as a creative outlet, trying to cope with what the heck is happening.”

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It's FRIDAAAAAYY and there are some new faces around here (uh, where did you all come from?! 🤯) So I figure it's a good as day as any to do a #fridayintroductions 🎉 . . So hi 👋 I'm Megan, the maker behind @unstrungstudios, and a mental health Occupational Therapist. . . I'm passionate about many things… including mental health treatment, the therapeutic benefits of art and music, and obsessively learning about the neurology of psychology. #nerd 🤓 . . I love dark humor 💀 (always), iced coffee ❄️ (year round) and heated blankets 🔥 (also year round 🤷‍♀️). . . My passion for anatomy 🧠 stems from my own journey with chronic illness, and a desire to highlight beauty of how our bodies work, and sometimes don't work. Hence, #anatomyisnotgross 😍 You may see me using various mobility aids, and I am slowly becoming more comfortable using what I need (check out that new caneeee 😍). . . When I'm not working or burning things 🔥, you can find me at coffee shops, eating gf / df / soy free cookies (because sugar addiction 🍪) wearing lots of black (because it hides stains v well and also, mood🖤🧤), and trying to get everyone to play board/card games ♣️♦️. . . Now, tell me about you! What's your favorite holiday dessert? Card game? Board game? Coffee order? 💕 . . #meetthemaker #artistsofinstagram #babewithamobilityaid

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She started this venture into wood burning simply, with brains and hearts, after finding her dad’s soldering iron.

“I think I can burn things with this,” she said with gleeful determinism.

Most medical illustrations happen in paper textbooks, or medical digital resources, like WedMD.

She says it wasn’t only just the natural medium of wood she enjoys, but how it falls between two disciplines, just like how medical illustrations bridges the gap of science and art.

“Wood burning is somewhere a 2D and 3D art, there’s no much opportunity for texture and layers,” she said. “But if you make a mistake, it’s hard to fix it. You have to get creative.”

But most importantly for Farrell, the slow and tedious process, which involves multiple sketches before the burning, has an incredible personal reward.

Humanizing their own problems, and seeing a reflection of her journey in others.

“It’s really overwhelming, and once a week I cry saying ‘I can’t believe people like what I do,'” she said, parodying her own emotional state. “It’s really strange.”

“When I first started, I was doing flowers and words and that kind of stuff, and I dipped in my toe in, and I wasn’t sure how the reception would be,” she said. “Even if someone sees a piece, and they don’t know what it is, as soon as they understand what it is, they either known or have a personal experience in that body part or organ.”

“It takes this thing that people think is macabre, and it humanizes it… This still does feel real to me,” she said.

On that personal level, Farrell does take commissions. Her website is down at the moment, but you can message her through Instagram or Etsy.

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