Nealy Atkins

Clay / Lafayette, LA

Artist Statement

I use food grade, Louisiana-made, stoneware clay to produce functional pottery. The wheel is where the majority of pieces are created. Each vessel is then trimmed and accented with hand built elements or glazing designs. My desire is to merge clean and sturdy forms with subtle decoration so that each piece can blend into anyone’s living space.


Born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, I had the pleasure of being the third generation in my family to attend the University of Montevallo where I received my bachelor’s degree (B.S. in Art and Biology) and master’s degree (M.Ed. in Art Education). It was during these years that I was able to build on my childhood love of drawing and painting and discovered my passion, pottery. As pottery students we were exposed to a variety of visiting artists from around the world. In particular we developed a partnership with potters from Montevallo’s sister city, Echizen, Japan. Sharing studio space with the Japanese potters greatly influenced my interest in functional, minimally designed pottery.

After graduation, marriage brought me to live in the heart of Acadiana. Living in the most culturally and ecologically rich area of Louisiana provides a constant source of inspiration. Soon after arriving here, my husband and I purchased and fully renovated our home which included the addition of a pottery studio. For the past three years I’ve had the joy of instructing art at Vermilion Catholic High School. In May 2014, I will leave this position to become a full-time artist and stay-at-home mom.