Melissa A. Martin

doing EARTH BUSINESS as . . .

“Nature Artist” Sections: Story, Artist Statement, Present Work, Show & Gallery History, Associations

Tapestry Artist . . . Expressing nature's beauty

A chance meeting added a gift to my life that I would not have pursued on my own. While running the High Desert Research Farm at the Ghost Ranch in NM, I met a remarkable woman who wanted to identify seeds that came down through her family. Cordelia Coronado ran a green chili farm, built her adobe homes, preached and sang in Medenales, raised her family single-handedly, and was a master Rio Grande style weaver with tapestries in the Smithsonian.

Cordelia taught tapestry (pictorial) weaving. With little interest in being indoors or art at that time, I wanted to get to know Cordelia. Rio Grande style weaving requires standing on the treadles of a floor loom. Since I could stand, I allowed being inside. I was following the invisible thread of a direct relationship with nature and tapestry weaving made it visible. Three seasons a year, I ran outdoor courses for schools, camps, and parks, etc. In winter, I'd go inside, get warm, and weave! arrow to top of page

Artist Statement

Nature Artist Image Banner I weave to nature's glory the interlaced, interdependent, and interwoven relationship. My tapestries reflect a love of nature and place. While weaving, I re-experience the place, animal, and nature as if I am there. Whatever the particulars are of my life and the world-at-large, especially my concerns for nature and humanity, become a part of the piece, changing to beauty.

Handling the wool is like touching the warp, weft, and fabric of life: untangling a hank of wool unwinds my own knots. In this way, weaving teaches me courage to see the beauty in today's world and take action. Each piece has a story, regardless of its simplicity, playfulness, or beauty. I've been told that my work has a fresh, folk-like feel, even when realistic. I often place found natural objects into the weaving itself.

The Rio Grande style weavings of northern NM and southern CO combine the mystical and practical elements of the Native and Spanish experience into pictorial expression. Rio Grande tapestries are weft-faced plain weaves woven on large, two-harness standing floor looms upon which the weaver moves. The Coronado family build their looms and teach loom building, so I built a loom that will last a lifetime.

Weaving, the concept, process, and metaphor as the fabric of life, showed up immediately in my Earth work as a way for people to:

Finally, weaving connects me to a lineage of weavers the world over, including the situations of weavers' lives, sustainable fiber traditions, and the art of animal husbandry. Cordelia insisted that all weavings are functional art: placed on walls, windows, and floors of a cold adobe, they add insulation, warmth, and beauty.

Recently, I've woven at the Damascus Fiber Arts School ( by Portland, OR, with Audrey Moore, master Navajo-style weaver, and Terry Olson, master European-style weaver, along with a talented group of motivated weavers. My own studio space, the “loom room,” is at my home. arrow to top of page

Present Work: Acquisitions and Presentations

Natural forms become inner images, inner images come back out as a tapestry piece, and sets of pieces become a tapestry weaving series. Please see Present Weaving Portfolio.

•Acquisition: I have original pieces along with series work available to individuals and organizations for purchase and show.

•Presentations: I give earth advocate programs on the current series' environmental theme with the weavings on display. Current presentation: “Bee is for Pollinators, Not Pesticides!”

•Commission: I can weave a piece through commission as a special way for you to experience nature through art. We work together to explore what you love about nature for a tapestry. Please see Past Weaving Portfolio for ideas.

Recently, a gal asked me for art cards of my weavings. Okay. Soon. . . . Support your local nature artist!

Contact Me for presentation and fee information, or interest and pricing for weavings and commissions.

—I make an annual contribution to an earth advocacy non-profit from the presentation fees and sale of my pieces. My contribution from the “Bee is for Pollinators” series will go the Xerces Society, who support pollinators, insects, and other invertebrates through advocacy, education, policy development, and applied research aimed at critical habitat.


Nature Artist Image Banner


Show and Gallery History



Professional Associations


Weaver Spider Collage by Melissa A Martin


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