Melanie is the daughter of noted Haida artist Faye Russ and the celebrated late Ed Russ, and is originally from Skidegate, Haida Gwaii.
Her father began teaching her to carve when she was a very young girl and though he passed away some time ago she expresses the feeling that he is still with her, guiding her, reminding her to look at the rough argillite, then to close her eyes and a design will come. Her mother Faye was also instrumental in her education as an artist and remains a potent influence in her creative process, often working on sculptures together. Her work is a depiction of the classic iconography of her Haida lineage.
Melanie is one of few women Haida carvers and is known for her intricate detail in jewelry and carvings.