Melissa Woodburn

Artist Statement

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 with a BFA, worked as a graphic designer for fifteen years. My most enduring project from that time has been the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum room “The History of Rockets and Space Craft,” for which I designed the wall graphics.  

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 and purse shapes that I use.

When my youngest child entered kindergarten, I returned to fine art full time. After the violence of 9/11, I felt the need to add clay back into my mix of media, healing myself by literally sticking my hands into the earth.  Since that time, I have concentrated on working in combinations of clay, fiber and mixed media.

Born 1952, Des Moines, IA
Lives and works in San Rafael, CA

Wittenberg University, Springfield, OH, BFA, cum laude,1975
Ongoing education: ceramic, College of Marin, Kentfield, CA, Terra Linda Ceramic Center, San Rafael, CA;  watercolor, Terra Linda Community 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.





Selected Invitational Exhibitions

Bare Necessities, A Two-Person Show, Sebastopol Center for the Arts, Sebastopol, CA 
Boot, Bags and Bikinis, A Three-Person Show, Artworks Downtown, San Rafael, CA

New Work by Featured Artist Melissa Woodburn, Marin Society of Artists,  Ross, CA 
Hanging With Art: 11 Marin County Artists Live Lives Surrounded by Art, Marin Arts Council, Marin Civic Center, CA

Full Circle: Mandala, A Three-Person Show, Alta Bates Community Gallery, Berkeley, CA
Get Fired - Red Hot Ceramics, Invited Gallery Speaker, Pence Gallery, Davis, CA

Melissa Woodburn, Recent Work, KPFA Craft and Music Festival, San Francisco, CA

Healing Art, A One-Person Show, Aesclepion Healing Center, San Rafael, CA

Selected Exhibitions and Awards

Fine Arts and Crafts Exhibition, Marin County, San Rafael, CA, (Honorable Mention, Various Media)
Open Studio Tour, Marin Arts, San Rafael, CA
Arts on Fire XIV, Sanchez Art Center,  Pacifica, CA, Juror: Philip Linhares, Curator of Art, Oakland Museum
Open Craft and Sculpture Exhibition, Marin Society of Artists,  Ross, CA
Spring Student Show, College of Marin, Kentfield, CA
Fine Art Exhibition, Napa Valley Mustard Festival, Rutherford, CA, (First Place 3-D) Jurors, Bob and Kristine Pallas, Directors Napa Valley Mustard Festival

Bold Expressions 54th Annual International Exhibition, Northern California Arts, Carmichael, CA, Juror: Gregory Kondos, former Professor of Art, Sacramento City College 
National Juried Art Exhibition, Marin Society of Artists,  Ross, CA, Juror: Scott Shields, Crocker Art Museum 
The Art of Crafts, City of Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA, (Merit Award) Jurors: Triton Museum of Art, Santa Clara Cultural Advisory Commission 
Out of the Fire, Falkirk Cultural Center, San Rafael, CA, Juror: Dorothy Saxe
California State Art Exhibition,  CalExpo, Sacramento, CA, (Merit Award) Juror: Clayton Bailey
NorCal State Art Exhibition, National League of American Pen Women, Ross, CA, (First Place 
3-D, 3rd Place 3-D) Juror: Paul Mahder, Paul Mahder Gallery, SF
Fine Arts and Crafts Exhibition, Marin County, San Rafael, CA, (Jeanne Bogardus Award for Creativity, Sculpture; Third Place, Ceramics; Honorable Mention, Various Media) Jurors: Nancy Servis, Ex. Dir. Richmond Art Center; Karen Tsujimoto, Senior Curator of Art, Oakland Museum
Chaos, Long Beach Arts,  Long Beach, CA, (Honorable Mention) Juror: Scott Ward, Ex. Dir. Armory Center for the Arts, Pasadena
California Clay Competition, The Artery, Davis, CA, (ClayPeople Award) Juror: Cathie Duniway
Arts on Fire XIII, Sanchez Art Center, Pacifica, CA, Juror: Jacqueline Pilar, Curator, Fresno Art Museum

Innovations in Fiber Art IV, Sebastopol Center for the Arts, Sebastopol, CA, Juror: Carole Austin, former curator San Francisco Craft and Folk Art Museum
Unbreakables, Cabrillo Gallery,  Aptos, CA, Curator: Ann Morhauser, Dir. Annieglass
Intersections 4, Fiber/DIMENSIONS,  San Francisco, CA
International Online Art Exhibition, Art Kudos, Aug, 2008 – Aug. 2009,
California State Fine Art Exhibit, CalExpo, Sacramento, CA, (Merit Award) Juror:  Amy Scott, Curator of Visual Arts, Autry National Center  
Fine Arts and Crafts Exhibit, Marin County, San Rafael, CA, (First Place, Ceramics;  Second Place, Various Media) 
Exploring the Surface, Pence Gallery, Davis, CA, Juror:  Peter VandenBerge
National Biennial Exhibition, National League of American Pen Women, Arlington, VA, Jurors:  Dawn Lee, Director Omni Gallery; Rosalie O’Donnell, Director Torpedo Factory

ANA 35 Exhibition, Holter Museum of Art, Helena, MT
20th National Juried Art Exhibition, South Cobb Arts Alliance, Mableton, GA, (Merit Award)
39th National Juried Show, VAST Arts Center,  Denton, TX
Yosemite Renaissance XXII, Yosemite Museum Gallery, Yosemite Valley, CA (2nd Place)
National Juried Show, Baker Arts Center, Liberal, KS, (3rd Place 3-D)

Waves of Tradition, Slater Mill Gallery, Pawtucket, RI
Yosemite Renaissance XXI, Yosemite Museum Gallery, Yosemite Valley, CA (Award of Excellence)
By the Hand, a National Juried Exhibit of Fine Crafts, Bedford Gallery, Walnut Creek, CA
Fine Arts Exhibition, Sonoma Salute to the Arts, Sonoma, CA (1st Place 3-D)

California State Fine Art Exhibit,  CalExpo, Sacramento, CA, (Juror’s Award)
Fine Art Exhibition, Napa Valley Mustard Festival, St. Helena, CA, (First Place, Second Place)
Dimensions 2005, San Luis Obispo Art Museum, San Luis Obispo, CA

Curatorial Experience

Mill Valley Art Festival, Mill Valley, CA
Figuratively Speaking, Elsewhere Gallery, Fairfax, CA
Spring Student Exhibition, College of Marin, Kentfield, CA
Dynamic Images, Marin Civic Center, San Rafael, CA
Pinup Show, College of Marin, Kentfield, CA

NorCal State Art Exhibition, National League of American Pen Women, San Rafael, CA
Art On The Spot, Marin County Fair, San Rafael, CA
Amateur Art, Sonoma County Harvest Fair, Santa Rosa, CA
Professional Art, Napa Town and Country Fair,  Napa, CA
Adult Professional and Amateur Art, Sonoma County Fair, Santa Rosa, CA

Professional Art, Napa Town and Country Fair, Napa, CA
Children’s Art, Sonoma County Fair, CA
Adult Ceramics and Sculpture, Sonoma County Fair, Santa Rosa, CA 

National Juried Exhibition, Marin Society of Artists, Ross, CA
Selected Bibliography

500 Baskets, Lark Books, 2006, p. 202
American Art Collector, National Addition, Alcove Press, 2009, p. 240; 2008, p. 308; 2007, p. 302
Eichler Network, “Renaissance in the Valley of the Artists,” Fall, 2005, p. 1
The Pen Woman, Winter, 2007, “Melissa Woodburn, Cycles, Circles and Creativity,” cover, pp. 3-4
Best of California Artists and Artisans, Kennedy Publications, 2007, p. 35
American Art Collector, Western Addition, Alcove Press, 2006, p.196; 2005, p. 207; 2004, p. 166
Marin Magazine, “Seen Around Town,” April, 2009, p. 99
Press Telegram, Long Beach, “From Quilts to Ceramics, ‘Of the Earth’ Captivates,” December, 2006, p. 26
Marin Independent Journal Weekend, “An Inside Look at the Making of Art,” May, 2001, pp. 18-19
San Rafael News Pointer, “To Witness Inspiration First-hand,” May, 2000, p. 14

Public Collections

County of Marin, Fair Office, San Rafael, CA

Selected Private Collections

Tom Ver Ploeg, Millersville, MD
Christine Bo-Linn, Belvedere, CA
Penny Hansen, Novato, CA
Christine Sherriff, Mill Valley, CA
Mary St. Pierre, Forest Knolls, CA
James Paxson, Berkeley, CA
Susan Hontalas, San Rafael, CA
Larry Jordan, Fairburn, GA
Chris Eckels, Telluride, CO
Dianne Huggins, Larkspur, CA
Jean Woodburn, Prescott, AZ
Chris Knaus, Granite Bay, CA
Betsy Niewiarowski, Corte Madera, CA 
Ginger Crane, Tiburon, CA
John Lewis, Scottsdale, AZ
Patty Brixen, Pescadero, CA
Lisa Lord, San Rafael, CA
Rosaline Gould, Thousand Oaks, CA
Tina Perreira, Menlo Park, CA
Bonnie Houchens, San Anselmo, CA
Marcie Ver Ploeg, Pittsfield, NY

Related Professional Experience

Assistant Teacher, Kid’s Clay and Teen Clay, Terra Linda Community Center, 2005 – present
Exhibit Installer, Marin Arts Council, 2008 - present
Education Director, Marin Birth Center, 1987 – 1995
Graphic designer, 1975 – 1990


Artworks Downtown Associate Member
Association of Clay and Glass Artists (ACGA), board member 2007 – 2008
Lucas Valley Artists
Marin Arts Council 
Marin Society of Artists, Artists’ Advisory Council 2003 – 2006 
National League of American Pen Women, Golden Gate Marin Branch, State Art Chair 2009

Website Affiliations