All my work has an autobiographical element to it: seasonal growth, the environments I am situated in and life events I am traversing all somehow make their way into the work. Since 2009, these small (book-sized!), detailed works in particular have collectively become a type of journal, in addition to their original intentions.
Beginning with Passage, continuing with The Rationale Escapes Me, Reap, Rationale Beginning, Two Years in Reverse, Up My Sleeve, and ending (for the moment) with Where There’s Smoke, these books are all different chapters in this ongoing seasonal and semi-autobiographical body of work.
Handmade paper: Cast kozo, cast (and locally harvested) dogbane bast, hand-shaped (and locally harvested) milkweed bast, dyed and natural linen thread, hemp cord.
Melissa Jay Craig lives in Chicago. She taught at Artists’ Book Works, the Newberry Library, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and Loyola University before becoming a member of the team of artists who created the Columbia College Chicago Center for Book and Paper Arts and its Interdisciplinary MFA program She was the full-time teaching Artist-In Residence there from 1994 until 2009. Currently, Melissa is a visiting artist at select universities and arts centers throughout the U.S., yearly. Her work has been exhibited internationally; she is represented in the Chicago area by ZIA Gallery. Melissa has been awarded numerous grants and residencies, including the National Endowment for the Arts studio residency in papermaking at Women’s Studio Workshop. Recently, she was named Distinguished Resident at the Ragdale Foundation and her wordless sculptural books have been featured in Fine Books and Collections and a number of literary publications including the Paris Review.