The Team

Keith Grabowsky

Owner/  YAY CLAY! Instructor

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Keith Grabowsky makes work that explores narrative based concepts that tell unique stories using ceramics as the focus. Originally from Montclair, NJ, Keith has shown his art in galleries and various group shows across the East Coast as well as having taught at the Montclair Art Museum. He has a BFA in Ceramics from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. Keith is a Master of Fine Arts graduate from University of the Arts (Philadelphia, PA) with his focus in Ceramics/ Education. Keith’s wife Christie, who has her MBA from Wharton Business School, can often be seen creating works of art and helping out at the second YAY CLAY! studio located in Port Richmond, Philadelphia.

Fun facts about Keith:

  • His first art piece ever sold was at the age of 10. He was sitting in a restaurant and drew a woman’s portrait on a napkin. She loved it so much she asked to purchase the napkin
  • Keith can play an Australian aboriginal instrument called the didgeridoo. It is constructed from one long piece of wood that has been hollowed out by termites
  • Keith has been collecting antique stereo-optic viewers and slides for nearly 20 years. He owns over 3,000
  • In Keith’s spare time he enjoys Spelunking (the hobby or practice of exploring caves)
  • Yo hablo un poquito de espanol (Keith also speaks a little bit of Spanish, Fantastico!)

 


Alex Kachenko

Assistant Manager/ YAY CLAY! Instructor

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With a degree under his belt from George Washington University and a focus in political science, Alex knew his true passion was within the arts. Alex is a production potter focused on functional wheel thrown forms.  In addition to his work with Yay Clay, Alex sells his wares at art shows across Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and his home state of Ohio.  His work has been featured in galleries in Philadelphia, and is currently on display at the Noyes Museum in Hamilton, New Jersey.  Alex currently resides in the Port Richmond neighborhood of Philadelphia.

Fun Facts About Alex:
  • Alex attended his first craft show at the age of nine, selling corsages that he made on the spot
  • Alex is left handed, but has learned to throw pottery with the wheel spinning in either direction so that he can teach classes
  • Alex has a collection of taxidermied frogs playing musical instruments

 


Becky Berger

YAY CLAY Instructor, Studio Coordinator

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Becky is a recent graduate of Temple University where she earned a degree in advertising with a minor in psychology. Originally from Allentown, Pennsylvania, Becky was introduced to the world of ceramics by her high school art teacher who was a great inspiration. Ever since, she has been fascinated by the medium and looks forward to continuing learning everything there is to know about clay. She most enjoys throwing on the wheel to create functional forms, as she is very inspired by natural, organic shapes.
Fun Facts about Becky: 
  • In her spare time, Becky loves to read any book she can get her hands on and is continually collecting books to fill her shelves
  • She has been a vegetarian for a few years and enjoys growing her own vegetables in her backyard
  • She rides her bike everywhere around the city and has recently began running and learning to play guitar (but not at the same time)

Alex Ball

YAY CLAY! Instructor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alex loves teaching at YAY CLAY!, and really enjoys sharing what she’s learned in her over 14 years of teaching ceramics. In her own work, she enjoys creating functional pottery, especially mugs. Her greatest ceramics accomplishment was running an Empty Bowls fundraising event that raised over $9,000 for The Food Bank of Delaware. Alex was born in Cleveland, and she’s taught art at private schools in Connecticut, North Carolina, and Delaware. She now calls West Philadelphia home. Alex holds a BFA in Sculpture from The Rhode Island School of Design and an MFA in Painting from The University of the Arts.

Fun Facts about Alex: 
  • When Alex was very young, her next door neighbor had a kiln and would fire just about anything she created.
  • Alex loves self-contained bike touring, camping, yoga, knitting, and drawing.
  • With the help of her grandfather, Alex has been learning Spanish. She practices a bit every day.
  • Alex also works as a substitute teacher at several private schools in and around Philadelphia.

Jeff Werner

YAY CLAY! Instructor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jeff is a complete clay fanatic! He’s loved pottery since his first class in his freshman year of High School and has carried that passion through his academic career at Vassar College, where he headed the off-campus Ceramics Club. Since graduating with a degree in Art History and Italian, Jeff has stayed active in the local arts community by working at various studios and by helping to build a ceramics art center in West Philadelphia. In the studio, Jeff is a passionate wheel-thrower that enjoys exploring new forms and methods of visual expression.

Fun facts about Jeff:

  • He has a black belt in Tang Soo Do.
  • He has a chicken named Penny.
  • He’s a monster on the dance floor.