A selection of online and print resources, 2007 - 2015

In January /  February 2015, (S)Edition went a bit viral; it was featured on international art and visual culture (or just ‘cool stuff’) sites.  Here is a selection:

This Is Colossalnpr BooksMake ZineOddpadCulture DesignersMy Modern MetGreen Chair PressArchie McPhee’s Geyser of AwesomeEl ComercioHoyfrasesAlternoplisDianov-ArtBloggokinÉrectileHefeiwomenMagnéticaKulturologiaBroadsheetarteallimiteBthatWHuadong ArtronFubizCaracteres, YuntooArredo e ConvivioUPSOCLwaaaat?MinkiRublevskiyPostLivePentoChambre 237and a lot of tumblr sites, including the Austin Public Library’s. 

Feature articles (.pdf format):

Book Art: Without Words, by Richard Minsky - Fine Books & Collections, Autumn 2012

Melissa Jay Craig: Bookish Investigations, by Deborah Kogan - Ampersand, Spring 2010

The Book Art of Melissa Jay Craig, by Jen Thomas - The Bonefolder, Spring 2007

Sites featuring my work:

ZIA Gallery  ~  Gallery Shoal Creek  ~  Arthur Jaffe Collection, FAU ~ Artists' Pages, Cecilia Sharpley


Bookbinding Now, interview by Meredith Winer, Transit Residency Founder/ Director, March 27, 2013

Book Artists and Poets series: (scroll down), Interview by Steve Miller, University of Alabama, 2010

Recent Interviews / Reviews Online:

Artist Interviews, Melissa Jay Craig, now online, an interview that took place in 2012, by Barbara Landes, 2014

Rock-Paper-Scissors, interview by Katie Rose McEneely, Sheridan Road Magazine, 2014

Reading the Environment: Melissa Jay Craig, interview by Nora Maynard, Ploughshares - 2013

Q & A with artist Melissa Jay Craig, ZIA:Gallery, interview by Shannon Gallagher - 2012

99 Copies of Books on the Wall, Quiet Lunch Magazine - 2012

Ryerson Show Explores Sustainability and Art, by Sara Burrows, Chicago Sun Times - 2011

The Book at Towson University, by BMore Art - 2011

(S)Edition in Depth, by Alissa, Artistic Novelty Reviews  (my favorite review of this work to date) - 2010

Art of Books Highlighted in Transcriptions, by Tim Shellburg, NWTimes - 2011

Does Book Art Have To Resemble A Book?, by Stephanie Cristello, Chicago Art Magazine - 2010

This Art Isn't For Your Kids, 40 Chicago artists over 40 series, by Chicago Art Magazine - 2011

In Print (selescted excerpts):

"Craig's Root/Basis provides an occasion for her to demonstrate yet another technique while sticking to her theme. This gem-like cutaway section of a root is cast of abaca and kozo. It's surface is formed from hundreds of distinct, raised cells. Not only its beauty, but the concept this brought home to me—of life's aggregation of the minute into the visible; of Craig's bringing so vividly to mind the life we neglect without curiosity—make this a masterwork on a variety of levels.”

         - Ann Starr, Contemporary Artists Showcase Eastern Papers, Starr Review, September 19, 2014

“The paper in Melissa Jay Craig’s “Incident” uses (unique) qualities in a sculpture that evokes the burnt out shell of an oversized book. The paper’s texture and transience - the beauty of burnt edges, the contrast between damage and whole-ness - are the subject.  The ‘incident’ of the title seems to be a fire that gutted this volume of all the words once contained within.  But…the charred carcass of the book becomes the story - the evidence of tragic loss, but also the birth of another thing.”

         - Michael Gill, Material Handling, CAN Journal, Fall 2014

"The idea of book arts lives in a much more expanded world, though, than the exquisite sphere of fine printing in which I was lucky to learn the the traditions. It is with gratitude and joy that I've followed the career of Melissa Jay Craig , who so radically interprets the idea of the book—form and content—that it's a minor occupation in itself to follow her.”

         - Ann Starr, Studio Visit: The Morgan Conservatory, Starr Review, August 2, 2014

“(What is your) Favorite rare book / ephemera that you’ve handled?

I adore Melissa Jay Craig’s work. She engages with book aesthetics and book form through the corporeal nature of handmade paper, and she creates conversations about the experience of reading in the absence of textual content.  Finding "Working Philosophy" at the Jaffe Center for Book Arts was definitely my favorite book-object experience.”

         - Allison Jai O’Dell interview, Bright Young Librarians, Fine Books and Collections, March 18, 2014

"Working her own kind of alchemy, the award-winning, Chicago-based artist has transformed these natural and manmade materials into sculptural, book-like hybrids: delicate, leafy books that bud, blossom, and decay with the seasons; poisonous-looking “bookshrooms” delivering pointed political statements; canned paperbacks that become trash after they’re consumed; and a single, poignant volume that mirrors the artist’s own hearing loss."

         - Nora Maynard, Reading The Environment: Melissa Jay Craig, Ploughshares, March 21, 2013

"Transcendental books that evoke their metaphors without words?  For the past two decades I’ve been following the work of Melissa Jay Craig, who combines traditional book structures with sculptural and iconographic concepts. Book artists come to this discipline from many backgrounds, as followers of this column have seen.  Yet when Melissa Jay Craig visited my studio recently, her answers to my questions revealed another dimension in the potential of book art to convey life experiences.”

         - Richard Minsky, “Without Words”, Book Art,  Fine Books and Collecting, Issue 10.4, Autumn 2012

““May Midwest” was the pseudonym of a young art student named Melissa (Jay) Craig”... “Lips were her graphic trademark. They showed up in cartoons she wrote for alternative weeklies, in illustrations she did for local bands, and in her own more serious work. Craig’s comic strips were populated by assorted talking hamburgers, rats, chickens, and vegetables making off-the-wall commentaries about urban life.” ...“Lips continue to be a primal image for...Craig, but these days they represent the way she understands other she is just about totally deaf. Ever the scrappy survivor, Craig has become quite adept at reading lips.” 

          - David C. Barnett, “Tales of the Regional Art Terrorists”, Rust Belt Chic: The Cleveland Anthology, 2012 

"One of the largest and most colorful “books” in the exhibit is (S)Edition by Melissa Jay Craig.... Besides its... sense of visual fantasy, (S)Edition has an emphatic message: Sedition literally means to incite a rebellion against authority. Just as fungi appear mysteriously and spontaneously, and feed off of the demise of another living organism, books are often powerful, subversive elements in society. Proliferating like, well, fungus, throughout history, the function of the book has been a powerful agent for change and progress.

         - Cara Ober, Booking Agents, the Urbanite, Baltimore, MD, 10/25/11

"I have a lot of very unusual books because I know a lot of people who are book artists. I'm very involved in how books look.  There's one that sort of looks as if the book has melted and crawled out of its husk; it's made by an artist called Melissa Jay Craig, and it's actually made from scratch out of paper, it's a paper sculpture.  If you look inside, there's these little green shoots, as though the book is regenerating..."

         - Audrey Niffenegger, quoted by Jessamy Calkin in The World of Audrey Niffenegger, Artist and Author, The Telegraph (UK), September 10, 2010


"Lección visual para los que ponen en duda el futuro del libro fisico.  Ejemplo: los libros-seta de Melissa Jay Craig. "  

(Visual lesson for those who doubt the future of the physical book. Example: the book-mushrooms of Melissa Jay Craig)

         - El Periodico de Catalunya (Spain), May, 2011 

"Both Craig and Wolniak lighten the atmosphere, Craig overtly with a wall piece in which books have been cut and assembled to form age rings in a cross section of a tree. She points out with markers the fall of the Roman empire and, very close by, the death of postmodernism. As the only two moments marked in a span of thousands of years, the effect is particularly comic, contrasting with the...poignant fragility of Craig's free-standing pieces."

         - Alan G. Artner, Chicago Tribune, review of the Leaf and the Page, September 11, 2008

"...Melissa Jay Craig's enormous artist's book..., Manifest, O, works to deprive us of a sensory experience. Intending to simulate 'losing one's hearing in visual terms,' Craig creates a gouged, cockled, transparent clafskin cover that suggests symmetrical waves of sound being riffled and ripped by silence. The wordless text, which this exhibition has unfortunately hidden, extends the experience of losing language and losing touch."

         - Michael Scott Joseph, Guild of Bookworkers 100th Anniversary, American Craft, February / March 2007

Recent books in print (and other media):


Spoon River Poetry Review,  Summer 2014, Issue 39.1, focuses on the poetics of emplacement and features a detail of LISTEN as the cover art. It is available here.

1000 Artists' Books: Exploring the Book as Art, by Sandra Salamony and Peter and Donna Thomas, contains  examples of my work.  Released in September 2012, it is available here, or better yet: at your local bookstore.

Rust Belt Chic: The Cleveland Anthology, edited by Richey Piiparinen and Anne Trubeck, contains an article by David C. Barnett titled, "Tales of the Regional Art Terrorists" about some very early art activity; it includes quotes from an interview as well. Released in September 2012, it is available here.

I wote the cover notes for Hanji Unfurled - One Journey Into Korean Papermaking, by Aimee Lee. It is an excellent and multi-leveled account of her Fulbright year in Korea and her later work with the Morgan Conservtory, building the first hanji-making studio in the United States.  Published by Legacy Press and released in October 2012, it is available here.

A view of (S)Edition is included in the 21 International Contemporary Paper Artists section of Helen Hiebert's new dvd, The Papermaker's Studio Guide, released in Fall 2012 and available here.

The Exquisite Notes: An Artist's Sketchbook On Bookbinding, by Sylvia Alotta, includes several structures from my classes from 2000 - 2002. Published by Bookbinders Workshop, Inc., it is available here.

Blogs / Flickr sites:

Contemporary Artists Showcase Eastern Papers at the Morgan Conservatory, Ann Starr, Starr Review, 2014

Make-Paper: Linnie Trettin's blog about Penland and my 2011 Spring Concentration class.

Publisher's Weekly, Shelftalker: More Ways to Bring Books Into Your Home (scroll down) -2010

Paul Germanos, Flickr: views of Respite, Vespine Gallery -2009

Women's Studio Workshop, Flickr: In the Studios, Melissa Jay Craig -2009

En español: Elisabeth Ross MX Blogproject (Mexico) - 2008

Blogs with images of exhibitions:

StarPower: Sensing Language at Catich Gallery, St. Ambrose University - 2012

Monkey-Rope Press: Natural Cycles at Brushwood House, Ryerson Woods Preserve - 2011

Tommy the Material Girl: Transcriptions at the Lubeznik Center for the Arts - 2011

Walking Thin Ice: Pulp Sculptress, Listening at the Morgan Conservatory - 2010

No português: Miscelanium Fashion (Brazil): The Leaf and The Page, Illinois State Museum - 2008

A few things I have written (.pdf format):

Review: No Longer Innocent: Book Art In America, 1960 - 1980, by Betty Bright

Tim Ely: the Drumleaf Structure

Deafened In Academe: For The Birds


© Melissa Jay Craig 2015