Melissa Maddonni Haims

Fiber Art/ Sculpture & 3D

Artist's Biography

Melissa Maddonni Haims is a sculptor based in Philadelphia. Using various fibers, she creates knit graffiti, soft sculpture, and large-scale installations using knitted and crocheted yarns. Additionally, she sews unconventional quilts using vintage fabrics and subversive text. The majority of her work is produced using recycled, reclaimed and rescued textile materials.

After attending a long list of East Coast art schools studying sculpture, painting and printmaking, her career began in New York City in the 1990’s. Eventually, Life led her back home to Philadelphia, where she lives with her husband and daughter.

Haims’ work has been shown extensively in national galleries and museums and is held in private collections throughout the United States. In 2014, she was featured on an A&E network television program about artists who make work out of unusual materials. She has been yarn bombing internationally since 2010.

Ms. Haims has been exhibiting at contemporary art fairs since 2011. During Art Basel Miami she was awarded the Tomorrow Stars prize at Verge Fair in 2011, and was invited to show public installations in 2012, 2013 and 2014. In 2015, she was nominated for the Pulse Prize at the Pulse Contemporary Art Fair in New York City during Armory Week. Her work was also represented in Miami at Satellite Fair in 2016. She began building her curatorial resume in 2009.

Artist's Statement

Working in materials traditionally considered “feminine,” my fiber pieces reflect the virulence and frustration that are related to women’s roles and domesticity. Through quilting, embroidering, knit and crochet, I build the conceptual vocabulary of my various bodies of work. I find the craft of quilting parallels nicely with the reality and experiences of womanhood — there are a million little pieces of ourselves that we are stitching together every day to build our internal and external narratives. In my embroidered + quilted canvases, I use phrases associated with the quintessential longing of the American housewife as she approaches mid-life. Speaking from experience, many of these women feel as though they didn't sign up for what they got and are nostalgic for the life of freedom and spontaneity from their past. The stark reality of acrimonious thoughts is embroidered in unfiltered, unfettered phrases across a flowered landscape of divergent fabrics. These pieces create a contradiction that I long for, causing the audience to delight in the very “wrongness” of the statement and linger in its colorful handwork combined with the hard truth. The process of focusing on the internal, unrestrained conversation in my head, in all of our heads, is both sensational and subjugating. By bringing it out into the open, I am challenging the audience to listen to that “little voice,” which could very possibly be their own.

Selected Exhibitions

Wrapped Up, The Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania
, Philadelphia, PA

The Foragers, Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education
, Philadelphia, PA

Pulse Contemporary Art Fair, Featured by InLiquid, New York, NY

In Retrospect: 10 Years of Fiber Arts by Melissa Maddonni Haims, Painted Bride Art Center, Philadelphia, PA

Spring Forward: Contemporary Fibers in Historic Homes, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA

Offering, 3rd Street Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Purge, 3rd Street Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Cold Comfort, Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education
, Philadelphia, PA

Heaven and Hell, Highwire Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Short Stories, The Showroom, Philadelphia, PA

Boxes, Kavehaz Gallery, SOHO, New York, NY

Memory Dresses, Sai Gallery, SOHO, New York, NY

Finding Family, Stephen Gang Gallery, Chelsea, New York, NY

Speaking of Fibers, Maryville University, Morton May Gallery, St. Louis, MO

Crafting Context, CraftNow, Art in City Hall Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Fiber Squared, The Foundry, St. Charles, MO

The Woodmere Annual, Woodmere Art Museum, Philadelphia, PA

Art in the Age of Injustice, Women’s Caucus for the Arts, Philadelphia, PA

Feminist Fiber Arts, Virago Gallery, Seattle, WA

Conversations, Philadelphia Sculptors, Legend Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

The Faces of Politics: In/Tolerance, The Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton, MA

Between the Threads, Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ

Natural Threads, Heritage Museum and Gardens, Sandwich, MA

By Hand, Blue Line Gallery, Roseville, CA

Black Lives Matter, Gallery 51 at MCLA, North Adams, MA

Bushwick Arts Weekend, Pop Up Gallery, Brooklyn, NY

Multiples: Critical Craft and Fine Art Fair, Chicago, IL

Reanimate, Philadelphia Sculptors, Pop UP Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Four Corners, The Painted Bride, Philadelphia, PA

Out of the Loop, West Hartford Arts League, Hartford, CT

Renegade: The Mavericks of Fabericks, Rockwell Gallery, Ridgefield, CT

Opposites Attract, Philadelphia Sculptors, University of the Arts
, Philadelphia, PA

New Visions IIII, Goggleworks Center for the Arts, Reading, PA

The Journey, Philadelphia Sculptors, URBN Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

On the Fringe of Fiber, City Hall Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Women, Papp Gallery, SOHO, New York, NY

Five Women, Quickly, Sai Gallery, SOHO, New York, NY

Select Exhibitions
Achromatic, Mount Airy Contemporary, Philadelphia, PA

Stitch Witchery, Nichols Berg Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Public Projects
Endless Arts, Community Yarnbombing, Eagles Mere, PA

Between the Threads, Community Yarnbombing, Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ

Wrapped Up, Community Yarnbombing, Morris Arboretum, Philadelphia, PA

Artist's Bibliography

The Courier Post

The Boston Globe

The Patriot Ledger

The Philadelphia Inquirer

Broad Street Review

Fiber Art Now Magazine / Excellence in Fibers

The Sacramento Bee

Art News

Artnet News

The Philadelphia Inquirer

City Paper

The Knight Foundation

The Philadelphia Inquirer

Empty Kingdom


The Philadelphia Inquirer

The Knight Foundation

Professional Experience

2014 - present
Consultant, The Handwork Studio, Narberth, PA

2008 - 2014
Curriculum Developer, The Handwork Studio, Narberth, PA

2011 - 2013
Executive Team Member, Fiber Philadelphia 2012, Philadelphia, PA

1996 - 2007
Corporate Interior Design, Various Companies, New York City + Philadelphia


2016 - present
Women’s Caucus for the Arts, Philadelphia and National

2013 - present
Philadelphia Guild of Hand Weavers, Philadelphia, PA

Surface Design Association Member, Philadelphia, PA

2011 - present
Philadelphia Sculptors Member, Philadelphia, PA

Inliquid Member / Philadelphia, PA


Trocaire Leadership in the Arts Award, Gwynedd Mercy Academy, Gwynedd, PA

Pulse Prize, Nominee
, Pulse Contemporary Art Fair, New York, NY

Artist of the Year, Nominee, RAD Girls, Philadelphia, PA

National Book Award, My Favorite Friend,

Best in Show, Fabrics + Fibers, Markeim Arts Center, Haddonfield, NJ

Tomorrow Stars Award, Verge Fair, Art Basel Miami, Miami Beach, FL

New Courtland Fellowship, Center for Emerging Visual Artists, Philadelphia, PA


1994 - 1996
University Of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI
BFA, Painting; BA, Marine Affairs

1992 - 1993
Sea Education Association, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Boston University, MA
Environmental Sciences And Marine Affairs

1991 - 1992
Tyler School Of Art, Temple University, Elkins Park, PA
Painting & Ceramics

1990 - 1991
Parsons School Of Design And The New School For Social Research, New York, NY
Foundation Year Program

Moore College of Art + Design and Philadelphia College of Textiles + Science, Philadelphia, PA