Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Leza Marie McVey (née Sullivan) was an innovative American ceramist and textile artist. She studied at the Cleveland Institute of Art (1927–1932) and at the Colorado Springs Fine Art Center (1943–1944). In 1932, she married the sculptor William Mozart McVey, and from 1935 to 1947, she worked as a ceramist in Houston, Austin, and San Antonio. William accepted a teaching position at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan in 1947, and there she met the Finnish artist Maija Grotell and became friends with the Japanese-American artist Toshiko Takaezu who studied at the Cranbrook Academy from 1951 to 1954. In 1953, McVey returned to her native city of Cleveland and established her studio in the suburb of Pepper Pike, Ohio.