I started working in clay in 2000 with Bernie Felch at the Center for Creative Arts in Yorklyn, DE. In July of 2003 I moved to Troy, continuing with classes at the Arts Center of the Capital District primarily with Colleen O’Sullivan. Within a year I was an assisting Colleen and recycling clay for the Arts Center. Soon after that I got a studio above North East Ceramic Supply in their previous building. Partly from what I look like after throwing and partly from fire tending for sweat lodges at Spirit Hollow, I sign my pottery “Plays in the Mud”. As a member of the Empty Bowls Committee I’ve handled donations from supporting organizations and currently organize the volunteers. And now I continue my journey in clay with MonroeClay Works.
” I began working with clay when I was around 18 during my time taking classes at Santa Fe Community College in Gainesville, FL. I took a couple hand building classes taught by Matthew Shaffer, and fell completely in love with clay and how easy sculpting came to me. Sculpting animals are what I have found to be the most enjoyable. In 2014, I moved to Troy, NY with my boyfriend to pursue our schooling at a University. I then found out about Monroe ClayWorks! Thanks to Barbara and Dennis, I am now their studio assistant, and have finally been about to dabble in pottery making. It’s challenging, but so rewarding. ”
Yiyi Mendoza is a currently based in Upstate New York. Her body of work includes several unique collections. All pieces are made by hand and in small batches. Expressions of geology, spirituality, the California desert, Egyptian culture and her Mexican ancestry are present in the clay. Yiyi’s work contributes to a cultural transformation and the revival of craft, connection and community.
“I am interested in the culture of craft and the connections that it can provide for us. Objects are fundamental to the meaning and execution of rituals. Yet, in a time when there are excessive mass produced items, we lack the substance that they fail to provide. My work revives a sacredness in objects that is particular to material and process. The act of making with earth is centering and connected to the truer nature of co-creators that is deep within us. As makers we are responsible to bring to this world creations that matter. I continue to learn this; I am exploring forms that provide a purpose.”