About Melissa

I reside in Western Massachusetts and hold a BFA in Fibers from Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, MD and an M.Sc. in Applied Conflict Studies & Mediation from Champlain College in Burlington, VT.

In my reflection and dialogue work, I am committed to addressing the ‘root of the root’ through opportunities for self-reflection, experiences that expand perceptions and identify patterns, and processes that support self-determination and values-based action. Throughout my professional journey I have led with a deep curiosity as to how I may be in service to others in a way that is affordable, accessible, empowering, and that will positively impact the heart of a culture at its’ roots. Providing the space and skills for empowered communication, personally and professionally, is the foundation of my approach.

I have worked with and learned from a dynamic range of individuals and communities over the past 18 years including:

  • inner city public elementary schools in Baltimore and the nonprofit organizations partnering with them,
  • individuals diagnosed with mental health disorders dealing with stigma and isolation in counties across Maryland,
  • women navigating reproductive health and wellness challenges,
  • individuals learning and teaching Traditional Chinese Medicine all across the world committed to increasing access to affordable health and wellness tools,
  • individuals seeking to shift their interpersonal relationships by changing how they communicate with themselves and those around them,
  • and educators and leaders wishing to deepen their capacity to navigate difficult conversations and build strong professional relationships and organizational cultures.

In my creative work I employ a variety of mediums – the written word, pen and pencil, oil pastels, and an array of fiber/textile techniques culminating in poetry, children’s books, drawings, objects, and installations.

I began my career as a muralist and and in contributing to theatrical set designs, having painted over a dozen public murals, and having contributed to over 30 theatrical performances. I moved from large-scale public work, to textile-based installation and performance work during my early and mid-twenties in Baltimore, MD where I studied, worked, and lived for nine years. I then moved into my sketchbook when I packed up my life and headed to Los Angeles for three years, spending my free time drawing and hiking in the natural beauty of southern and central CA. My desire to learn more about Chinese medicine while there put me in touch with a curiosity for indigenous earth-based ways of living, and I soon found myself learning from indigenous elders across the world – West and South Africa, Peru, Mexico, and the US.