Amy Sanders de Melo

Amy Sanders de Melo

About The Artist

Amy Sanders de Melo • Tulsa, OK

As a Colombian-American ceramic artist and educator with vision 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 often features hand-textured Braille messages that encourage reflections on one’s own humanity and the necessity of empathy and empowerment for all individuals.


Artist website

Q&A with the Artist

Tell us how your work is made.

While some works are hand built or slip cast, a majority of my functional works are wheel thrown. After I create the porcelain vessel, I texture Braille messages directly on the surface before firing and glazing. A final layer of gold lustre is often applied directly to the messages so they will illuminate when they catch light.

What makes you passionate about the medium you work with?

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 functional wares, and these pieces hopefully encourage and uplift others as they find new homes.

What is something unique about you or your practice?

7 years ago, I stopped driving due to my vision loss, and I developed a body of work titled “Invisible Words” where I created a collection of ceramic pieces while blindfolded. On the surface of these pieces, I wrote in Braille all the hidden thoughts I had about my changing identity and the isolation of having a disability people could not see. These thoughts ranged from positive optimism to absolute fear. Though the texts were literal translations, their application and design favored aesthetic quality. Now, much of the messaging has evolved to encourage mediation and contemplation. The work creates moments of connection through recognizable forms and their function, while in other instances, the work creates disconnect as the Braille is unreadable by most individuals. This back and forth feeling mimics the way I often feel-- somewhere between disabled and able-bodied, non-functional and functional. It is intended to resonate with anyone as we all experience purpose, isolation, loss, and community in various stages of life.