Melissa is a Native of Carmel, California. As a child, she grew up living in Japan, Germany and across the United States.. Her “European Apprenticeship” training for 13 years in the field of Dental technology and her 13 years in the field of Art Conservation have enabled her “eye” for color and rapt attention to detail.
She is a self-taught artist, and has been working with textiles for well over 30 years. She began as a dyer, weaver and spinner, and moved into surface design in 1990 when she moved to Hawaii where she learned the art of Shibori and Indigo dyeing from the Temari Center for Asian Arts. A 5 day indigo workshop with Yoshiko Wada in 1992 further propelled her interest in shibori and Indigo dyeing.
In 1995 she attended the surface design conference “New Tools, No Limits” in Portland Oregon, which introduced her to Devore’, which is a burn out process done on silk-rayon satin charmeuse, velvet, or any other composite fabric where one of the composites is a cellulose fiber.
In December of 1996, she attended the International Shibori Symposium held in Ahmedabad, India, which included 3 weeks of touring the textile producing regions of Northern India. These two events had a remarkable impact on Melissa’s work.
In 1997 Melissa took a workshop with Junichi Arai at the University of Hawaii and learned his “Melt-Off” technique for his silk and aluminum fabric and in 1998 she entered an International silk scarf competition sponsored by the Nippon Silk Center and the Gunma Prefecture Society of Sericulture Industry Promotion (GPSSIP). The competition was juried by Junichi Arai,(Textile Planner) Joy Boutrup, (Danish Design School faculty), Toshiaki Hamana, (GPSSIP President) and Yoshiko Wada (Independent Curator and Textile Scholar). Melissa was the recipient of the “Nihon Kino No Sato (Nippon Silk Center purchase award) and received 5 meters of Junichi Arai’s silk and aluminum fabric.
Since 2003 Melissa has been collaborating with California based Fashion Designer Catherine Bacon. She creates hand-dyed, surface designed, and shibori textiles for Catherine’s Spring and Fall Collections. In the Spring of 2005 Ornament magazine did a feature article on Catherine Bacon’s work which showcased some of Melissa’s fabrics.
In 2005 she took a 5 day intensive felting workshop with Chad Alice Hagen and in 2006 she took a 5 day intensive Nuno felting workshop with Polly Stirling, and has been madly felting ever since, her approach always as a textile designer and innovator of new ideas and fearless experimentation.
Melissa has won numerous awards for her work, including a Best of Show award from Wearable Expressions, an International Art to Wear Juried show, and a purchase award from The international silk scarf competition held in Japan. Her work was in the 7th Biennial Art to Wear juried exhibition at the Larson Gallery in Yakima, Washington in January of 2003. She was the recipient of 3 awards. She is in private collections around the country, as well as the collections of Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts and the Nippon Silk Center.