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She studied at the Cleveland Institute of Art from 1927 to 1932 and later at the Colorado Springs Fine Art Center from 1943 to 1944. In 1947, William accepted a teaching position at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan, and there Leza McVey met Finnish artist Maija Grotell and eventually they became friends with Japanese-American artist Toshiko Takaezu who studied there between 1951 and 1954. In 1953, Leza McVey moved to Cleveland with her husband, where she set up a studio.
Body of work
Leza McVey's work led the way for modern ceramic art in the US. One can find both surrealist and an inspiration in natural and organic shapes in her sculpture-like porcelain or stoneware sculptures. A few of her pieces were included in a surrealist exhibition in the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. This was in stark contrast with the then current Futurism movement which had a much more machine-like aesthetic. Said to be ahead of her time, Leza McVey built large biomorphic forms with her hands. Many were typically bottle-shaped, even including a stopper at the end.
In the 1960s, Leza McVey produced vastly less because of her reduced eyesight.
Martin Eidelberg, The Ceramic Forms of Leza McVey (2003) is a study of Leza McVey’s work.
- "Leza Marie McVey - American pioneer potter", Ceramics Today (undated; accessed 16 November 2011)