Melissa Jay Craig

That’s Life
cover: cast, walnut-dyed kozo with oak inserts
text: abaca mixed with flax, procion dyes, walnut dye
30 x 34 x 12 in.

I’m intrigued by the act of reading. Even when text is in its most conventional form as a linear dispersal of information, reading is a paradox: an active inactivity. Our minds are fully engaged, but our bodies are essentially inert. I’m particularly fascinated by alternative forms of reading. For instance, I read lips. It’s a skill I learned “unconsciously,” as I slowly lost most of my hearing. We all read and respond to a constant stream of subtle, nonverbal sensory information: body language, facial expressions, textures, scents, emotional and atmospheric charges. It’s become increasingly interesting to me that we consider reading and the acquisition of knowledge to be things that occur only through written language and rational, conscious intellect, completely disconnected from our bodies, from our senses.

I make novels for our myriad, overlooked, too often unused intelligences.

Melissa Jay Craig is the full-time teaching Artist In Residence at the Columbia College Chicago Center for Book and Paper Arts, in the Interdisciplinary Book and Paper Arts MFA degree program. She exhibits internationally, and has been the recipient of several grants, awards and residencies. Her work can be viewed on her web site:

© Melissa Jay Craig