Melissa Cody comes from a family of phenomenal weavers. Her grandmother, Martha Schultz has woven for over six decades and her mother Lola Cody has won prizes at both the Heard Museum Indian Fair and Market and at the Santa Fe Indian Market. In addition to her impeccable weaving lineage, Melissa is a graduate of the Studio Arts program at the Institute of American Indian Arts. Melissa builds on the patterns she has known all of her life and uses them to create fine art the is brilliantly designed and technically astounding.
Melissa Cody and World Traveler
Melissa describes her World Traveler weaving, the larger of the two in the picture above, as a “labor of love”. “Weaving tour de force” would also be a good description. The center section features a panel with 16 concentric circles and the other sections are Melissa’s interpretations of traditional patters and flow into a single composition that is absolutely arresting when seen. It garnered Honorable Mention and Judges Choice ribbons, but many of the other weavers and I wondered if this wasn’t a disservice to the design and weaving expertise involved (did you ever try to weave a circle?). I’d love to know what factors went into the judges’ decisions, which are, of course, highly subjective. In perhaps the best vindication for Melissa, World Traveler has been acquired by the Stark Museum of Art in Orange Texas. Melissa participated in their current exhibit, Navajo Weaving: Tradition and Trade, which opened on February 8 and continues until July 12, 2014.
All of Melissa’s designs are unique works of art. You can see another one of her weavings, a shimmering multi-colored lightning bolt supimposed over a background of the Navajo compass at the right of the picture. For the Navajo, the compass begins with the East (white) and proceeds clockwise to the South (turquoise), to the West (yellow) and finally to the North (black). There are different gemstones and Sacred Mountains associated with each direction.
Hijacking your Senses with Germantown
Both the pieces shown here are done in a three ply worsted yarn spun to resemble the Germantown yarns that were used by the Navajo during the time of the Long Walk and for about 20 years after it ended. Melissa’s woven pieces are done almost exclusively in this yarn. The colors are primary and bright and highly saturated. They suit Melissa’s method of hijacking your senses with her designs.
Melissa also works in graphic media and is currently based in Long Beach, California. She can be contacted via her Facebook page.
Hagoshii (so long for now)