Danielle McDaniel (born May 18, 1962) is an American visual arts educator, ceramic artist, sculptor, author, and entrepreneur who specializes in teaching pottery techniques and workshops for students ranging from preschool age through adulthood. Known as The Clay Lady since 1982, McDaniel developed The Clay Way teaching method for art educators. The effective process streamlines clay firing into one step instead of two, which helps educators cut costs and time when creating pottery. The Clay Way is further explained in McDaniel's manual for teachers, How to Teach Clay The Clay Lady Way self-published in 1996. The manual offers step-by-step, easy-to-follow instructions and suggestions for applying a series of pottery lessons appropriate for a variety of educational settings while working on a budget.
Danielle McDaniel was born on May 18, 1952 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She moved to Hendersonville, Tennessee in 1973. Danielle’s interest in ceramics and pottery began in 1976 when she handcrafted a baby shoe out of clay and won 1st place in a local 4-H contest.
After graduating from high school, Danielle attended Volunteer State Community College in Nashville, Tennessee (1980); Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky; and Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tennessee (1982). She became frustrated with college and gravitated back to what she loved—pottery and clay. In 1982 Danielle began studying pottery with Lena Lucas at Metro Parks Centennial Art Center in Nashville, Tennessee. Beginning first as a student, Danielle discovered that she enjoyed teaching and helping children create objects and art from clay. She eventually built a small classroom next to her home in Hendersonville, Tennessee and began offering clay classes to local children. It was during this time that her students named her The Clay Lady.   Danielle continued teaching classes for Metro Parks and offered workshops and classes at Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art and the Jewish Community Center in Nashville.
By 1995 Danielle was not only teaching classes in her home; she was also teaching workshops and classes for the Hendersonville Arts Council as well as providing classes at local festivals and community events in the Nashville area. The Clay Lady then began working with local public and private schools in teaching weekly onsite workshops and clay classes featuring The Clay Lady Way. Eventually, Danielle was working with over 800 students each week and traveling to numerous schools across middle Tennessee. She published a comprehensive textbook, The Clay Lady Way: A Textbook for Teaching Clay Grades K-12,  for art educators focusing on developing an 8-week art curriculum, traditional methods of teaching clay, setting up a classroom studio, and using firing schedules. Other publications include Made the Clay Lady Way-- a collection of lessons for teachers; The Spirit of the Lesson —a book for artists that connects life lessons with steps to throwing a pot on the potter's wheel; and Forted—a novel for young adults .
A series of Clay Lady DVDs was developed to further assist students of all ages master skills needed to successfully throw on a potter’s wheel. Included in this series are titles such as How to Throw on the Potter’s Wheel and How to Teach Clay the Clay Lady Way . These are part of The Clay Lady's YouTube Channel and are available to art educators.
In 2007, Danielle and her business associate, Tami Archer, purchased Mid-South Ceramic Supply and merged The Clay Lady’s products (paints and low fire glazes) and educational services into one facility on Lebanon Pike in Nashville. The success of the merger lead to the establishment of The Clay Lady’s Artist Co-op and Galleries—Danielle’s vision for arts education and Artist Co-op. A second purchase of an additional building in 2011 allowed for educational outreach expansion and studio space for emerging and professional artists. 
The Clay Lady’s Campus now serves almost 200 students each week who visit for tours and pottery classes. In addition, the campus offers weekly pottery classes for an average of 275 adult students and weekend workshops that focus on a variety of topics that reflect the arts including on-going pottery classes, sculpture classes, glass, metal, and wood. The campus is also home to over 65 Co-op artists1 and provides meeting space for conferences and events such as the International Ceramic Arts Network Conferences (formerly The Potter’s Council) , ARTable—an event that merges artists with art enthusiasts , and workshops sponsored by the Tennessee Craft.
Danielle has a YouTube Channel that includes instructional videos on many aspects of wheel throwing and creating with clay. The videos complement the onsite campus classes and provide further outreach to students and teachers. She stays active in community and leadership organizations and maintains membership in Metro Arts Commission (Nashville) and Tennessee Craft. Danielle regularly presents at the National Council on Education in the Arts Conferences (NCECA) and serves as a consultant to SKUTT Industries and Shimpo, Inc.
McDaniel, Danielle. (2006). Made the Clay Lady Way Series. Nashville TN: The Clay Lady’s Publishing House.
McDaniel, Danielle. (2006). The Clay Lady Way: A Textbook for Teaching Clay Grades K-12 (2nd ed.). Nashville TN: The Clay Lady’s Publishing House.
McDaniel, Danielle (2004). Teaching Clay The Clay Lady Way (2nd ed.). Nashville TN: The Clay Lady’s Publishing House.
"Nashville's Frist Center Presents "Women, Art, and Social Change: The Newcomb Pottery Enterprise" - Frist Art Museum". Retrieved 24 March 2019.
- Parr-Moody, Karen (17 February 2017). "Danielle McDanielle: Dreams taking shape or how one lady built a campus out of passion and clay". Nashville Arts Magazine.
- Pigot, Colin (11 January 2017). "Danielle McDanielle: The reality of being an artist". Nashville Creative Mornings.
- Everett, Laurie. "A life less ordinary". Main Street Media of Tennessee.
- McDaniel, Danielle (1996). Teaching Clay the Clay Lady Way. The Clay Lady's Publishing House.
- Beckham, Joanne (29 September 2013). "Lena Lucas: 37 glorious art years". Nashville Arts Magazine.
- Chappell, Susan (12 August 1994). "Class molds young potters using the limitless world of clay". Nashville Banner.
- Garton, Nicole (7 July 2002). "Feat of clay". The Tennessean.
- "Profiles: Positive Potters". Tennessee Association of Craft Artists. The Tennessean Artisan. December 1991.
- Logsdon, David (14 April 1997). "Cedar Lane Festival: Final festival promises loads of fun". The Nashville Banner.
- Cook, Bill (22 April 1999). "Shaping lessons with clay". The Lebanon Democrat.
- Gatley, Amy (25 February 2002). "The Clay Lady teaches artwork 'not a contest'". Kingsport Times News.
- McDaniel, Danielle (2006). Made the Clay Lady Way Series. The Clay Lady's Publishing House.
- McDaniel, Danielle (2012). Spirit of the Lesson. The Clay Lady's Publishing House.
- McDaniel, Danielle (2013). Forted. The Clay Lady's Publishing House.
- Myers, Jim (17 February 2013). "Artists unite: Artist co-op brings amateurs, professionals together to share space, equipment, ideas". The Tennessean.
- Elmore, Joe (29 March 2016). "The Clay Lady's Campus". Tennessee Crossroads.
- "Altered Approach to Clay" (13). International Ceramics Arts Network. Potter's Pages. 13 September 2013.
- "ARTable". ARTable. 13 October 2018.