Susan Nelson is an Associate Professor of Art at the University of Saint Mary in Leavenworth, Kansas.

She was presented the Sullivan Award for Teaching Excellence in 2009.

Susan earned a B.F.A. (painting) and a M.F.A. (sculpture) at the University of Kansas.


During her junior year of undergraduate study, Susan attended the University of Reading in Reading, England.  Visiting London museums and galleries and seeing spectacular sites like the Alhambra in Seville, Spain inspired a life long passion for travel and viewing original art.  Highlights include Katsura Imperial Villa in Kyoto, Japan, abbey church of Sainte-Madeleine in Vezelay, France, and Basilica of Saint Francis in Assisi, Italy (seen before it was damaged by the earthquake).   A recent defining aesthetic experience occurred at the Noguchi Garden Museum in New York City

Susan has studied Southwest Indian, Peruvian, Etruscan, Minoan, Persian, Chinese and Japanese pottery.  Ongoing academic research includes all types of Japanese art (though with a focus on Muramachi and Momoyama eras and Rinpa style art), Chinese art (particularly Late Ming Dynasty painting and Sung Dynasty pottery).  Other areas of interest are Stone Age cave paintings and Mughal Dynasty painting.

Susan has used clay as her primary media of expression since 1999.  Most of her work is hand-built with high-fire clay bodies.  She designs pieces with a particular function in mind.  Glazes, often based on Chinese and Japanese precedents, have been developed to highlight textured surfaces.

Working with clay offers limitless possibilities.  Susan enjoys creating objects of beauty that function in living spaces and enhance daily life.