Keith Grabowsky ~ 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 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.
Alex Kachenko ~ 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
Becky Berger ~ YAY CLAY Instructor, Studio Coordinator
Becky, a Yay Clay! studio instructor, is a recent Temple University grad and native of Allentown, PA. It was her high school art teacher who gave her the ceramic bug and since then she’s been fascinated by all things clay. A true outdoors gal, Becky is inspired by natural, organic shapes.Fun facts about Becky:
- Becky is a voracious reader and has read more books this week than you probably did all year
- An avid vegetarian, Becky grows her own vegetables in her backyard
- Becky is (finally) learning how to play guitar. (Because what self-respecting vegetarian potter doesn’t play guitar?)
Alex Ball ~ YAY CLAY! Instructor
Alex has been teaching ceramics since 2003, and has been creating them – especially those mugs – practically her whole life. She ran Empty Bowls, a pottery fundraiser which raised over $9000 for the Food Bank of Delaware. Alex is a Cleveland native and 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:
- Alex’s childhood next door neighbor had a kiln, which is what sparked her pottery passion
- Renaissance woman, Alex also enjoys biking, camping, knitting, yoga and drawing
- Alex is a substitute teacher at several Philadelphia-area private schools
Jeff Werner ~ YAY CLAY! Instructor
Self-described “clay-fanatic,” Jeff has loved all things pottery since freshman year of HS, and even became president of Vassar College’s Ceramics Club. He works at several art studios and is currently developing a new art center in West Philadelphia. Jeff is a passionate wheel-thrower who enjoys exploring new methods of artistic expression.Fun facts about Jeff:
- Don’t mess with Jeff; he has a black belt in Tang Soo Do
- Jeff has a chicken named Penny
- Jeff is a monster on the dance floor
Abigail Marian ~ 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.