Amy Sanders de Melo

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Meet the Artist

  • About This Artist

    Amy Sanders de Melo is Colombian-American ceramic artist with both visual and hearing impairments. Her ceramic work ranges from ceramic jewelry and home decor to functional wares. Life experience, disability, and heritage are major influences in her work, and she uses ceramics to urge others to slow down, breathe in, and consider the domestic space and community around them in a new light. Everything is made by hand in Oklahoma, and no two pieces are exactly alike.

  • Q&A With This Artist

    A: As I create, I am aware of the intimacy of turning clay into objects that others will integrate into their daily rituals. Working with clay is a deeply therapeutic process, and I am able to embed these pieces with my own story of healing. Often repetitive in nature, all the hands-on processes that I use-- shaping, mark-making, and piecing together-- allow me to focus on the inherent beauty of the clay used, whether it be the texture or color or both.

    A: As a maker with both visual and hearing impairments, I strive to create beautiful work that speaks to the resiliency of the human spirit. From hand built ceramic jewelry and everyday objects to wheel thrown and slip cast functional ware, all pieces have a story to tell. I have always been dedicated to creating objects that have a quiet ability to draw someone in and create a moment of connection.

    A: 6 years ago, I stopped driving due to my vision loss, and I developed a body of functional work with Braille textured on the surface of each piece. These messages featured all the hidden thoughts I had about my changing identity and the isolation of having a disability people could not see. Now, much of my Braille works continue to tell stories of the human experience. They intend to convey a message of hope as we all experience isolation and community in various stages of life.

    A: I am currently working on a series that incorporates stories of marginalized groups. Invisible Voices features hand-textured Braille on functional wares, creating moments of connection through recognizable forms, yet creating disconnect as the Braille is unreadable by most. The back and forth feeling mimics my own place in the world and touches on the hope that the tiniest bit of kinship can provide. The work brings unlikely individuals together into conversation, understanding, and healing.

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