Amy Sanders de Melo is a Colombian, American artist and educator living and working in Oklahoma. As a multidisciplinary artist with visual impairments, she strives to create ceramic work and installations that speak to the resiliency of the human spirit. She utilizes Braille on porcelain as a way of telling stories, encouraging meditation, and creating space for grieving and healing.
Sanders de Melo currently resides in Tulsa and is member at Red Heat Ceramics, an artist-run, community ceramics studio. She received her BFA from the University of Oklahoma where she studied ceramics, sculpture, and filmmaking. In 2015, she spent two months in Italy completing an artist residency and collaborating with international artists on public art mosaics. Following this, she spent two years as an art educator in an after school arts program for underserved youth. Sanders de Melo has exhibited her work regionally and nationally and she is a recipient of the inaugural Emerging Artist Cohort from the American Craft Council in 2021 and The Color Network + Arrowmont Fellowship in 2023.
More About Amy's Work
As a Colombian-American ceramic artist and educator with vision and hearing loss, I strive to create work that speaks to the resiliency of the human spirit. I utilize Braille as a way of telling stories, encouraging meditation, and creating space for grieving and healing. My wheel-thrown porcelain work from my Invisible Words series feature hand-textured Braille messages that encourage reflecting on one’s own humanity and the necessity of empathy and empowerment for all individuals.
Pieces from the Invisible Words series and installations create moments of connection through recognizable forms and their function, while in other instances, they create disconnect as the Braille is unreadable by most viewers. This back and forth feeling mimics the way I often feel-- somewhere between disabled and able-bodied, non-functional and functional. We all experience loss, grief, and healing in different ways throughout our lives. Using Braille on ceramics started as a way of coping with my vision loss, but it has evolved into a storytelling method intended to be felt and used by anyone, blind or not. Braille is a tactile way of placing emotions, convictions, and intentions directly on my work, and these tactile wares aim to create a home for all of us, not just some of us– a place where everyone can experience acceptance, dignity, and healing.