Melinda West – Northwest Fiber Artist
Melinda West lives with her husband in Indianola, Washington. Originally, a pediatric nurse, since 1985 she has studied basketry and plant fiber art with many excellent teachers, the foremost being Ed Carriere, of the Suquamish Tribe, Master at Clam basket, Burden Basket, Folded Pouch, Weir making, and canoe carving, Indianola, WA. She has also studied with: wool, cedar, and plant fiber weavers, Bill James and Fran James, and Anna Jefferson, of the Lummi Nation, Bellingham, WA; canoe and house pole carver and bentwood box maker, Duane Pasco; wool weaver and cedar basket and sail maker, Betty Pasco; basket weaver Gwen Baughman, artist Karen Mittet, and cedar weaver and artist, Patti Canoy, of Poulsbo, WA; tool maker and carver, Loren White, Port Orchard, WA; cedar, bear grass, and raffia basket weaver, Lillian Pullen, Quileute Nation, La Push, WA; cedar basket and cape weavers, Melissa Peterson Renault and Deanna Gray, Makah Nation, Neah Bay, WA; coiled sweetgrass and raffia basket weaver, Richard Cultee, and wool and cedar weaver, Bruce Miller, Skokomish Tribe, WA; Cultural Teacher, Salish Language speaker and Storyteller, Vi Hilbert, Upper Skagit; Cultural Teacher, Singer and Storyteller, Johnny Moses, Tulalip, Snoqualmie; cedar basket weaver, Harvest Moon, Quinalt Nation, WA; basket weaver, Vi Phillips, and sumi painter, Angie Dixon, Whidbey Island, WA; cedar and plant fiber weaver, Jo Hart, Seabeck, WA; basket weavers, Michelle Berg, Polly Sutton, Pat Peese, Phyllis Pearson, Marilyn Moore, Dee Dee Harris, cedar bark cape weaver, Sue English, milestone cement artist, Lynn DiNino, and Hmong weaver from Laos, Nhia Yia Heu, Seattle, WA; ikebana artist, Barbie Brooking, visual artist, Tony Dattilo, ceramic artist, Bridget Young, acrylic painter, Sydni Sterling, formline design painter, Craig Jacobrown, Indianola, WA; cattail and cedar weaver and artist, Pegie Deam, Suquamish, WA; visual artist Peggy Vanbianchi, and native plant specialist, Ron Vanbianchi, Kingston, WA; Ravenstail and Chilkat weaver, Evelyn Vanderhoop, of the Haida Nation, Haida Gwuaii; spruce root, cedar, Ravenstail, and Chilkat weaver, Deloris Churchill, and cedar weaver, Holly Churchill, Haida, Ketchikan, Alaska; Salish wool weaver, Susan Pavel; artist & storyteller, Roger Fernandez, Lower Elwha Klallam, WA; plant fiber weaver and artist, Judy Zaffaroni, ethnobotanist and plant fiber weaver, Margaret Mathewson, and basket weaver, Deb Curtis, of Oregon; bamboo artist, Jiro Yanezawa, Japan; paper maker and plant weaver, Sue Smith, Texas; gut weaver and artist, Judy Dominic, Ohio; plant fiber weaver and stone sculptor, Dawn Walden, Ojibway, Michigan; plant fiber weaver, Judy Zugish, and skeined willow weaver, William Roeder, Marysville, WA; rustic furniture maker, Jeanne Pepper, B.C., Canada; weaver and paper sculptor, Mary Merkell Hess, Iowa; alternative materials artist, John Garrett, New Mexico; willow weaver, Katherine Lewis, Mt. Vernon, WA; fabric weaver, Caroline Coolie Browne, and wire weaving artist, Kristin Tollofson, Bainbridge, WA; Salish wool weaver, Virginia Adams, Suquamish, WA; artist & cedar hat weaver, Kathey Ervin, Sequim, WA; birch bark & various NW materials weaver, Karen Sherwood, Issaquah, WA.
Having established her own unique style of basketry using Pacific Northwest materials to form traditional, contemporary and original designs, Melinda is inspired by the native plants found in Northwest landscapes, and the First Peoples ways of utilizing and regarding these precious resources.
Melinda enjoys sharing her knowledge of Pacific Northwest plants and their historical and present uses in basketry. Her primary topics of interest are: “Cedar, and its Uses in Northwest Basketry”, and “Baskets from the Northwest Landscape”, and “Weaving Lessons From the Earth With Children”. While developing courses to suit the interests and needs of each group of students, Melinda designs art installations and class projects which give opportunity for beginning and experienced learners to grow in their appreciation of the traditional art of Northwest Fiber Technology.
Melinda has taught for the Seattle Art Museum, Bainbridge Artisans Resource Network, IslandWood Environmental Learning Center on Bainbridge; Bainbridge Artists Teaching Consortium; Cambium Arts Resources, Seattle; Olympic Park Institute, Lake Crescent; North Cascades Institute, Diablo Lake; Heronswood Nursery, Hansville; North Kitsap, Bainbridge, and Seattle Public Schools; University Child Development School, Seattle; Eton and Arbor Montessori Schools, Redmond; Island School, Bainbridge Is; West Sound Academy, Poulsbo; Seattle Weavers Guild; Skagit Weavers Guild; Seaview Weavers Guild; Northwest Basket Weavers Guild; Peninsula Weavers Guild; The Basketry School Conferences; Coupeville Arts Center; Kitsap Public Utilities, Poulsbo; Pacific Northwest Archaeological Society, Edmonds; and Olympic College, Bremerton.
Exhibitions and work:
(2020 Aug) Bainbridge Artisans Resource Network: Ars Poetica Exhibit
(2020 Feb) IslandWood Community Program, workshop: “Weaving a Cedar Bark Tray with Kara Horton and Melinda West”
(2019 March) Heronswood Garden House: Exhibit “Cedar: Northwest Plant Fiber Weavings and Traditions”
(2019 Feb) IslandWood Community Program, workshop: “Weaving From the Wild With Melinda West”
(2019, 2018, 2017, 2016) Basketry Program Development within the Fiber Art Studio at Bainbridge Artisans Resource Network, BARN
(2020, annually & each November, since 2006) North Kitsap Studio Tour, participant in Art in the Woods sponsored by Cultural Arts Foundation NW
(2018 May) BARN, Bainbridge Artisans Resource Network, workshop: “Net-Anchor Artifact With Suquamish Elder Ed Carriere and Plant Fiber Artist Melinda West”
(2018 May) IslandWood Artist Residency, for 4-5 grades: “The Cedar Experience – Cedar Pouch Necklace”; Mentor/Teaching-Partnership With Suquamish Weaver Kah-Ty-Ah Lawrence-Moran
(2018 Feb) IslandWood Community Program workshop: “Weaving a Ribbed Harvest Basket With Melinda West”
(2018 Jan-June) HOME – A Group Exhibit – Olympic College & Bainbridge Island Museum of Art
(2017 Sept) BARN, Bainbridge Artisans Resource Network, workshop: “Papermaking From your Own Backyard With Melinda West”
(2017 Aug) BARN, Bainbridge Artisans Resource Network, workshop: “Weaving Nature – Plant Fiber Project Blending Culture, Science & Art”
(2017 July) All Things Considered Two, National Basketry Organization Exhibit at Pacific Lutheran University
(2017 June) BARN, Bainbridge Artisans Resource Network, workshop: “Cedar From Tree To Pouch With Melinda West”
(2017 June) Bainbridge Artisans Resource Network: Program – Ed Carriere and 4000 years of Weaving in a Basket, program MC
(2017 May) Duwamish Hill Preserve, contributed the poem “Gatherers Creed” for use in the Seasonal Rounds Gathering Place artwork installation by Mette Hanson
(2017 March) Artist In The Woods Residency at IslandWood, project: create outline for a publication about projects to weave with young people
(2017 Feb) IslandWood Community Program workshop, “Weaving a Cedar Limb Tray With Melinda West”
(2016 Nov) BARN at Bainbridge Arts & Crafts – Making Community, exhibit at Bainbridge Arts and Crafts Gallery
(2016 Feb) IslandWood Community Program workshop: “Cedar From Bark to Basket – Weaving a Cedar Bark Satchel With Melinda West”
(2016 May) IslandWood Artist Residency, for 4-5 grades: “The Cedar Experience – Cedar Wall Hanging”
(2016 June) BARN, Bainbridge Artisans Resource Network, workshop: “Cedar From Tree To Pouch With Melinda West“
(Nov 2016) BARN at BAC-Making Community, Bainbridge Arts and Crafts Gallery; (Nov 2015) Northwest Fine Craft: Ceramics, Fiber, Furniture, Metal, Bainbridge Arts and Crafts Gallery; (2011) Exploring Baskets, Depot Arts Center in Anachortes,: (2010) Messages from the Land exhibit, (2010) Art Along the Trail; (12-08), (5-08) exhibits by Bainbridge Arts and Crafts Gallery; (2011) Cultural Art Film, Concept/Author/Advisor/Coordinator of ‘Clam Basket – A Story by Ed Carriere’ produced by Katie Jennings; (2010) film Advisor/Coordinator of ‘Ed Carriere Holding to Form’, produced by IslandWood Media; (2010) Collective Visions Gallery Juried Exhibition, Bremerton; (2011) grant recipient from Cultural Arts Foundations NW for Clam Basket film; (2010) grant recipient for Clam Basket film from NW Basketweavers Guild; (2009) grant recipient for VTS training by the Cultural Arts Foundation NW; (2006 to the present year) North Kitsap Studio Tour Exhibitor in Art in the Woods sponsored by Cultural Arts Foundation NW; (2009) Containers, Containment and Contents, Snohomish County Arts Council, Everett, WA; (2009) Award Designer for Seattle Central Community College Sustainablity Building Advisor Awards; (2006-7) Center For Strengthening the Teaching Profession funded by the Stewart Foundation, recipient of writing residency grant, authored article titled: The Suquamish Basket Marsh, selected for publication in Teachers Voices, and in Clearing Magazine; (2007) Wendy Jackson-Hall Memorial grant recipient to Mentor a classroom teacher, Bainbridge Is, WA; (2004) exhibit Colorgraphics, Seattle; (2003) guest exhibitor at the Microsoft Government Leaders Summit; (2003) authored article New Horizons In Learning, titled “Finding a Relationship to Place Through Natural Fiber Weaving”; (2000) permanent art installation “Four Cedar Wings” Poulsbo Public Library, Poulsbo, WA; (2000) profiled in FIBERARTS magazine by Jan Silver; (2000) Second Place cash award Artisans Works, Edmonds Arts Festival; (2000) exhibit at the Bainbridge Public Library; (2000,1998, 1994) Honorable Mention Awards, Edmonds Arts Festival; (1999) image included in the revised edition of “SPLINTWOVEN BASKETRY”, by Robin Taylor Daugherty; (1999) solo exhibit sponsored by the Edmonds Arts Festival Museum, Edmonds, WA; (1998) City of Edmonds purchase award for Hekinan Japan; (1997) authored a profile article about Ed Carriere, in FIBERARTS magazine; (1996 through 2003) exhibitor in Seattle’s Best of the Northwest shows; (1996) exhibitor in Bellevue’s Pacific Northwest Arts Fair; (1998,1994,1993) solo shows at the Old Kingston Hotel Café, Kingston, WA; (1996) Convergence 96, “TIME KEEPERS” exhibit, Portland Convention Center, Portland, OR ; (March 1996) Conical Garden Trellis can be seen in the “Heronswood” article featured in HOUSE BEAUTIFUL magazine; (1996) images of art in ART ACCESS, volume 5; (1996) featured in EXHIBITION, A JOURNAL OF VISUAL AND LITERARY ARTS; (1996) awarded Best of Show Open and First Place Sculpture, North Kitsap Arts & Crafts Show, Poulsbo,WA; (1995) First Place Award Artisans Works, cash award, Edmonds Arts Festival, Edmonds, WA; (1995) image of work included in FIBERARTS DESIGN BOOK FIVE, published by Lark Books; (1994) Stonington Gallery Holiday Show, Seattle, WA; (1994) Third Place Award in Fiberworks, Port Townsend, WA; (1993) Basket Art Exhibit, North Seattle Community College, Seattle, WA; (1993) exhibit in Sticks and Stones Gallery, Seattle, WA; (1993) art exhibited in Folklife Festival Gallery, Seattle, WA; (1991) Pacific Northwest Contemporary Basket Exhibit, Bumbershoot, Seattle, WA; (1988,1989) Fireside Fiberarts Exhibit, Port Townsend, WA. (http://clearingmagazine.org/archives/1416) (http://newhorizonsforlearning/archives/findinarelationshiptoplace/melindawest)