Melannie James


Thread and toilet paper

11" h x 27" w x 9" d



Artist Statement

My work is wearable objects, masks, and jewelry that explores the feeling of being powerless and voiceless. My works deals with the loss of identity or lack of one, and the problems that is associated with not knowing oneself. In these works, I use toilet paper, thread, spray paint, and water-soluble stabilizer to create the texture, surface, and color. I used machine embroidery to create the web like surfaces, and hand sewing to produce the structure and form of each piece.  My purpose is to examine the feelings of not having a voice or identity. Therefore, not being able to communicate authentically with others which does not allow oneself to be emotionally vulnerable.

Folklore is passed mouth to mouth.  Folk art is passed hand to hand.  Pine needle and grass coiling into baskets has been in existence since the time of man.  My extensive study with the Gullah Geechee in the barrier islands off the Georgia Coast, and a master coiler North in the barrier islands of Virginia imbue the work with a deep tradition yet the forms move outside tradition to embrace a new definition of basketry and vessels, stretching the traditional forms and materials to embrace contemporary meanings.

Found items… pieces from the forest and desert floor, and the flowing current and eddies of the rivers influence the work as they have influenced my life…past present, and future evidenced in all.


Melannie James was born Houston, TX and attended Maryland Institute College of Art, where she received a BFA in General Fine Arts in 2013 and an MFA in Metalsmithing from Cranbrook Academy of Art in 2016.  Her body of work ranges from jewelry to sculpture. Since 2013, James work have been exhibited in galleries nationally and internationally, including 2014 Craft Texas, Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, Mercedes- Benz Exhibition in 2015, and Marzee Gallerie Stater Gallery in Amsterdam, Netherlands from 2016 to 2019. James is currently living in Houston, Tx and is a High School Art Teacher at Dickinson High School.