About Cliff Mendelson

Cliff sculptingThe BFA I earned at the Boston Museum School of Fine Arts/Tufts University trained me as a fine artist, with an intense focus on ceramics and pottery.

The faculty enabled me to continue my education as an apprentice with some of the most well known ceramic artists and sculptors in the country. (See resume) My BFA provided a well-rounded background in painting, drawing, and sculpture but my main focus was on the ceramic arts and all its processes.

My work is built on art history/historical techniques that include the use of the potter’s wheel, hand-building and sculpture. I make utilitarian pottery as well as non-functional sculptural freestanding work and mural hangings.

I was fortunate to begin my career as a teacher at the Greenwich House Pottery in NYC, under the tutelage of Jane Hartsook, revered in the field.

“Teaching is a natural extension; and integral aspect to my life as a ceramicist. I like the reciprocal discovery that comes alive through the pottery studio.”

Since 1988, I have taught at the Westchester Arts Workshop/Westchester Community College as an adjunct faculty member. On occasion I exhibit  in Westchester, as well in other galleries and shows. Day-in-Clay has allowed me to become part of the educational art-scene at a variety of levels throughout the tri-state area. Day-in-Clay has enabled me to bring the elements of the creative process into classrooms of all age groups, abilities, and grade-levels.

The diversity in my creative life includes the founding of Undercurrent Designs™ a decorative painting studio/ business that primarily works with interior designers and architects for residential and commercial spaces. This work has added to the decorative sensibilities that have immediate currency in the design and art world. I bring these aesthetics back into the classroom. I think, too, that my diverse set of experiences has enabled me to relate to many ways of educating students in all levels and disciplines.

I enjoy the challenge of encouraging students to explore new ways of working in clay, paint and color. We regularly accomplish results in the classroom that bring delight to students, parents, and teachers. Students respond with finished works that sometimes exceed even their own expectations. I have been told many times that the students don’t want to leave when the class is over.

Clay has a magic quality. It is responsive to the touch that allows the students to explore many forms of expressions from self-portraits, to Japanese Kabuki mask making to Egyptian canopic jars, and Greek vase painting. There is a rich history to explore, and it may be found in the hands of my students.

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