Our history starts with M.A. Hadley.


A singular vision. A
community of craftspeople.


Years of impeccable craftsmanship.


Meticulously hand-painted,
no two are exactly alike.

M.A. Hadley History

Mary Alice Hadley established one of Louisville’s most iconic and well-known potteries. Born into a family of clay tile makers, her knowledge of working with clay began in her early years. Exhibiting an interest in art and design, she ultimately became a widely recognized painter, winning numerous awards and acclaim from Los Angeles to Europe. Collaborating with her mechanical engineer husband George, she turned a personal endeavor into a thriving and beloved business that continues to capture new audiences in it's ninth decade.

Early artistic skills were nurtured.

Born in 1911 in Terre Haute, IN, Mary Alice Hale took art and piano lessons as a child. Her father ran the Vigo American Clay Co., producing ceramic building supplies. Her earliest ceramic pieces were bowls and figurines that he fired for her.

She attended DePauw University and married George Hadley in 1930. They moved to NYC and both attended Columbia University, returning to his hometown of Louisville, KY in 1936.

Necessity is the mother of invention. And sometimes you need cool dishes for your boat.

George and Mary Alice lived in a carriage house in St. James Court and enjoyed a houseboat on the Ohio River, the Alice III. Unable to find sturdy dishes that she liked that could withstand life on a boat, she designed her own. They were such a huge hit with friends and acquaintances, that she began taking orders. Soon, a business was born.

A factory of her own.

As WWII continued, the Hadleys purchased an antique factory on the banks of Beargrass Creek in the Butchertown neighborhood. They installed manufacturing equipment and hired Perry Day. The first kiln firing took place in January 1945. They trained artists to replicate Mary Alice's beloved designs and famous signature.

Awards and Recognition.

In 1952, Mary Alice was awarded a Good Design Award from the Museum of Modern Art in New York City for her Brown Fleck pattern. Invited to exhibit at the America House in NYC in 1947, her work is featured in the permanent collections of the Speed Art Museum, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, MoMa, and the Smithsonian.

Her Work Lives On.

Mary Alice died in 1965 after a brave and private battle against cancer. George continued to run the pottery until his retirement in 1979, when he sold it to local businessman Kenneth Moore. A company from St. Louis operated the pottery for a few years before passing the torch to the Day family, who have worked at Hadley for four generations. Brook Smith purchased Hadley Pottery in 2022. Throughout the years, the process and product have remained markedly unchanged.

Start a New Tradition with Hadley.

We are excited to fuel the momentum of this fabled Kentucky brand, while we continue to serve our longtime followers. Whether you have inherited a family collection, started with a registry of your own, or want to explore the world of Hadley, all are welcome here.

A singular vision. A community of craftspeople.

An iconic artist.A family of makers.

An enduring symbol of creativity and passion, Hadley Pottery is a testament of Louisville community craftspeople whose talent and dedication breathe life into Hadley Pottery.