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 Midwest and after graduating from college with a BFA, worked as a graphic designer for fifteen years. After I moved to California, 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 that I use.

I started making pine needle baskets 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. I find that I enjoy the meditative aspect of making a coiled vessel, connecting to the greater rhythms, cycles and circles of life.

While using traditional materials (pine needles and ceramic) and traditional methods (coiling and slab), I push the final product into a non-traditional sculptural vessel, while honoring the original rhythms of the materials.  The finished vessels make statements about 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)
m  a  d  e  Contemporary Craft, Stinson Beach, CA
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;  polymer clay, Baubles and Beads, San Rafael, CA; knotting, dying, nalbinding, fiber sculpture, gallery design and management, College of Marin, Kentfield, CA



Tel 415-235-6825     Novato, California

© 2019 Melissa Woodburn

  • White Facebook Icon
  • White Instagram Icon