As a descendent of nineteenth-century prairie homesteaders, Melis makes work that concerns aspects of the prairie region which she feels many, including her ancestors, have overlooked. She strives with her work to record, re-imagine, re-image and re-print the vitality, diversity and importance of the Midwest’s native plants, ecosystems, and peoples. Her work also celebrates writers from the nineteenth-century and today who have observed closely the complexities of Midwestern and rural life. Currently, Melis is creating images about bird, plant, and food metaphors used by and about women and children.
Though she does produce art in traditional two-dimensional forms such as paintings, pastels, and prints, most of Melis’s pieces borrow from the tradition of printed books, artists’ books, and books-as-installations. She has shared a sampling with Rootstalk for this issue; if you want to see more of her work you’ll find it at her website.