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Artist's Statement

Melissa Woodburn


I am inspired by using a variety of media to express statements about the rhythms and cycles of living.  The creative nature of the universe excites me and I filter this through my lens of female experience.

I grew up in the country in Iowa, a keen observer of the cycles of the natural world around me.  After graduating from college with a BFA, I worked as a graphic designer for fifteen years, moving to California in 1981.  I became interested in the meditative world, how meditation unlocks visualization, and how that in turn unlocks female power.  When my husband and I wanted to start a family, I helped found and run a freestanding birth center in San Rafael, California, and taught meditation techniques to pregnant moms to open their sense of feminine power in labor.  This profound experience still influences my art today and can be seen in the many vessel shapes and family groupings that I create, and the sense of purpose I bring to my creative space.

I love learning new things. I started working with pine needles in 1996, a direct result of living under some messy long needled pine trees. Pine needle baskets are an elegant recycled art form:  the needles are only used when they are down and dry. I added ceramic back into my mix of media in 2001, as a way to personally heal after the violence of 9/11, finding connection to the greater rhythms, cycles and circles of life while working on coiled vessels.

Indeed, I see my creative process as a series of large circles.  Exploring new topics or art media in depth, I create a series of work.  That exploration will often pique my interest in other exploration and so on. As I go on, I also circle back to bring my expression and knowledge forward.

A moment in time, a sense of place, a cycle started, a cycle complete.


ACCI Gallery, Berkeley, CA
Artworks Downtown Artist Member
Association of Clay and Glass Artists (ACGA)
Marin Open Studios – I am a 20–year Open Studios Artist!

National League of American Pen Women, Golden Gate Marin Branch,
Terra Linda Ceramic Artists

Wittenberg University, Springfield, OH, BFA, cum laude,1975
Ongoing education: ceramic, College of Marin, Kentfield, CA, Terra Linda Ceramic Center, San Rafael, CA; knotting, dying, nalbinding, fiber sculpture, gallery design and management, College of Marin, Kentfield, CA


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