Keith Grabowsky(He/Him) ~ Owner/ YAY CLAY! Instructor
Keith can barely remember a time when clay wasn’t part of his life. Whether creating pottery, getting a Bachelor of Fine Arts, or his passion – teaching the art of pottery –Keith’s practically got clay in his blood. After earning his BFA in Ceramics at the Mason Gross School of The Arts at Rutgers University, Keith went on to receive his Masters in Fine Arts from University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Keith, a Montclair NJ native, has taught classes at his Montclair studio, at Riker Hill Art Complex, the Montclair Art Museum, and headed the afterschool Arts Elective program for the South Orange and Livingston school districts.Fun facts about Keith:
- Keith sold his first piece of art when a woman offered him $5 for the portrait he drew of her on a napkin. He was ten.
- Keith’s instrument of choice? The Australian didgeridoo (a long piece of wood hollowed out by termites).
- Keith’s quirky collection? Antique stereo-optic slides and viewers. He has over 3000.
Betti Wright(She/Her) ~ Studio Manager
Betti Wright got her start in ceramics at Bowling Green State University where she studied under Clay Leonard and John Balisteri. She then went on to do two post-baccalaureate programs at the Indiana University Southeast and The University of Louisville. She has completed one year of graduate school at West Virginia University and participated in the WVU China program.Fun facts about Betti:
- She studied ceramics in China
- She also makes Jewelry when she has access to a metalsmithing studio
- While studying ceramics she lived in China for four months making work with pottery masters and local artisans
Izzy Plata(She/They) ~ Studio Coordinator
Isabella Plata is a multi-media artist concentrating in ceramic sculpture. She was born and raised in northeast Philadelphia. She began her journey in clay when she attended the Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts. She continued on her artistic journey to the Tyler School of art and Architecture at Temple University in Pennsylvania where the artist got their BFA in ceramics.Fun facts about Izzy:
- Aside from ceramics Isabella has a passion for painting. They primarily work in oil, studying the intricates of the human form.
- The artist names all of their pieces and has been naming all important objects in their life since childhood.
- Isabella is a huge cat lover and had their first cat Shadow at the age of 16.
- A common motif used in the artist's works is spoons which is the symbol for chronic invisible illnesses.
Ollie Meier(They/Them) ~ Web Developer
A Lancaster, PA native, Ollie graduated from Philly's own Temple University in 2017, with a BFA in Metals, Jewelry, & CAD/CAM. Despite taking ceramics courses in high school, they didn't discover their true passion for pottery until their last few semesters in college. Since graduation, they have sought to learn everything they can about ceramic arts and discover their direction as an artist.Fun facts about Ollie:
- Ollie's first foray into the studio was on a date; their teacher encouraged them to join the studio as part of the work exchange program and well... the rest is history.
- A nerd at heart, Ollie draws a great deal of inspiration from video games and the intersection between digital mediums and organic forms
- Ollie has a chonky cat son named Toonces the Driving Cat, and he's the King of their apartment.
Alex Kachenko(He/Him) ~ Assistant Manager/ YAY CLAY! Instructor
Alex teaches pottery classes and pretty much makes things hum at Yay Clay! An Ohio native and graduate of George Washington University, Alex is an accomplished production potter who sells his pieces nationally. His work has been been featured in galleries in New Jersey and Philadelphia.Fun facts about Alex:
- At nine, Alex started selling custom made corsages
- Though a lefty, Alex learned to throw pottery on the wheel in either direction so that he could teach all students
- Alex’s quirky collection: taxidermied frogs playing musical instruments
Abigail Marian(She/Her) ~ YAY CLAY! Instructor
After graduating with her BFA in Art Education from Palm Beach Atlantic University, Abbie has been pursuing ceramics and teaching ceramics. Abbie spent three years directly after her schooling studying and working in a wood firing studio, before moving to the Philadelphia area to continue chasing after her passion for clay. She is now working in multiple studios in the city, and finding her own place as an artist.Fun facts about Abbie:
- Abbie first became interested in pursuing art after helping her older sister complete a college project for a watercolor class. Her sister later gifted her a watercolor set and the rest is history.
- Aside from ceramics, Abbie loves to garden and has big plans for her backyard this upcoming spring.
- A passion for food and drink culture has fueled Abbie’s functional forms, and she hopes to get more involved in collaborations with chefs, pairing food and pottery.
Quintin Koreck(He/Him) ~ YAY CLAY! Instructor
Quintin was first introduced to ceramics by his childhood best friend’s mother, Jacqueline Sandro-Greenwell, who would make annual visits to his elementary school and transport all of the students work to her home to be fired. He later studied under her directly at Cumberland County Clay College of Millville, NJ, and after graduating began teaching classes there. While earning his BA in Art Education from Rowan University, he followed in his role model’s footsteps, traveling to different schools inspiring students with his pottery wheel.Fun facts about Quintin:
- He also has a great passion for animals and has worked at numerous emergency and specialty veterinary centers.
- He enjoys hiking and has conquered the majority of the high peaks in the Northeast.
- A third passion is for fashion and costume design which stems from his experience doing musical theatre.
Devin Brown(He/Him) ~ YAY CLAY! Instructor
Devin's practice has him working directly from nature- using naturally forming clay deposits and the world around him as inspiration. His work is predominantly focused on functional wheel thrown ceramics, often incorporating 'imperfections' in the work intentionally. Devin finds beauty in the broken and imperfect, therefore the unpredictable, and sometimes unintended outcomes, of a wood fire environment are perfectly suited to his style. His recent work focuses on ash based glazes and bare woodfired pieces.
Fun facts about Devin:
- Devin owns a motorcycle spray painted in neon colors that he decorated himself
- When Devin makes pots he likes to make them in a series so they don't feel lonely
- During the 2020 shutdown Devin took up tattooing and has done over 30 on himself alone!