Nancy McCardell's Ceramic Houses
At her Pass Christian Isles ceramics studio, Nancy McCardell produces sculptures that are in demand throughout the country. Here, the artisan magically transforms fine white Tennessee clay into wall plaques, switch plate covers, key holders, Christmas ornaments and other replicas of local and New Orleans architecture.
Nancy produces a great deal of her work for the general market. Her quaint houses and street scenes of such areas as downtown Bay St Louis and Pass Christian are popular, as are Cafe du Monde, Central Grocery and outdoor markets in the Crescent City.
Nancy and Jim McCardell moved to the Isles after his retirement as a Rear Admiral with the U.S. Navy in 1986, and Nancy promptly set up shop with a studio and two kilns.
She creates "Houses by Nancy" using color photographs from which she forms replicas of individual homes on six by eight inch wall plaques.
Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, she earned a graduate degree in nursing from the University of Iowa, married Naval Aviator Jim McCardell, and reared a son and a daughter.
When her daughter Jenise enrolled in a ceramics class at a junior college, Nancy decided she might like that, too. As a result, both mother and daughter began sculpting house plaques that they offered for sale. While living in Washington, D.C., Nancy sculpted houses replicas of Capitol homes. Each weekend she would take her products to the "Eastern Market," where she usually sold out in two hours. While in D.C., Nancy studied at the Smithsonian Institution — and later studied at Newcomb and Delgado in New Orleans and theColegio dos Artes in Brazil.