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Realizing a Dream—in an Art Studio

Story by
Nancy Joseph

Born and raised in Taiwan, Tzyy Yi  (Amy) Young discovered a passion for art after moving to Washington state and attending Whatcom Community College. Transferring to the UW, she majored in art with an emphasis on ceramics and glass, earning praise from faculty and peers — and the 2016 Dean's Medal in the Arts. The College of Arts & Sciences awards the Dean's Medal to one exceptional graduating senior in each of its four divisions.

Tzyy (Amy) Yi Young, Dean's Medalist

Tzyy Yi Young says her favorite spot on campus is the Ceramic and Metal Arts Building "because this is the place where my dream started and my dream came true." Media credit: Isaiah Brookshire

“Amy is a ravenous student, exemplary studio citizen, has an unmatched work ethic, and is aesthetically and technically exceptional,” says Doug Jeck, School of Art + Art History + Design (SoA+AH+D) associate professor and 3D4M Program director. “She is the first to volunteer and the last to leave. Her peers and faculty adore her for her intelligence, warmth, varied capabilities, and generous spirit.”

In addition to the Dean's Medal, Young's other honors have included a Violet Ferguson Art School Scholarship from SoA+AH+D, a full scholarship to attend Pilchuck Glass School last summer, and an invitation to participate in an international design internship in Italy as recipient of the Rometti Prize. Her work during the Italian internship caught the attention of design company Roche Bobois, which will produce one of her pieces and market it for sale worldwide.

“This would be an amazing coup for any professional designer,” says Jamie Walker, SoA+AH+D director and Wyckoff Milliman Endowed Chair of Art. “It is extraordinary for a student.”

Below, Young answers seven questions about her UW experience:

When did you become passionate about art?

I have always been interested in the visual arts, but it was never my priority. Back in Taiwan, it used to be really uncommon for any Taiwanese to choose it for their major or career. When I attended community college in the U.S. after moving from Taiwan, I took a wheel throwing class and realized that I love ceramics and making art that is creative and extraordinary.

I love working with hot glass and ceramics because they...offer the possibility of continually reconsidering and reinventing forms.

You work mostly in ceramics and glass. What appeals to you about these media?

I love working with hot glass and ceramics because they are malleable, responsive, and resilient. They offer the possibility of continually reconsidering and reinventing forms.

Last summer you had a design internship in Italy. How did your UW education prepare you for that experience?

Going to Italy for a design internship was amazing. It was great to work with design students from around the world and see how differently we approach design. The experience helped me realize that all the things I’ve learned at the UW are tools I can use in my artwork. I especially want to thank my professor and mentor Amie McNeel, who taught me to believe in myself and my work and have enough confidence to present my work.

A display of Tzyy Yi Young's ceramic work.

Ceramic work by Tzyy Yi Young on display at the School of Art + Art History + Design's Jacob Lawrence Gallery.

Is there one opportunity at the UW that set you on your current path?

There isn’t just one opportunity. There have been many opportunities that have helped me to move forward, to try, to fail, and to learn. All these experiences have helped to set me on my current path.

Has scholarship support made a difference for you?

Scholarships have helped me to learn new materials and to gain the chance to work with people outside of school, through programs like the Pilchuck Glass School and Penland School of Craft. Scholarships also encourage me to keep doing what I love and enjoy.

What’s the campus spot you’ll miss the most, and why?

The School of Art’s Ceramic and Metal Arts Building, because this is the place where my dream started and my dream came true.

What’s next for you?

This summer I will attend Penland Craft School and Haystack Mountain School of Craft. When I come back, I hope to find a studio and start to make my artwork.