Born Mary Tuthill in Newton, New Jersey, in 1912, Mary Lindheim was raised in Tucson, Arizona, where the desert landscape inspired her artistic sensibilities from a young age. As a result of frequent childhood illness, Mary was tutored at home, surrounded by her father’s eclectic library and her mother’s vast collection of cultural memorabilia. Her formal studies in art began in 1930 at the California School of Fine Arts and continued at the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles in 1934, where she studied sculpture. She taught at the University of Washington before enrolling at the California College of Arts and Crafts (CCAC) in 1946 to study with ceramist Antonia Prieto. (Nora Eccles Treadwell was a ceramics student there at the same time.) In 1947 Lindheim was the first recipient of the Noni Eccles Treadwell Scholarship at CCAC. After many years of intense artistic output, for which she received numerous awards and accolades, Lindheim moved to Bolinas, California, in 1969 to pursue a slower pace of life. She nonetheless remained a staunch supporter and educator in the ceramic arts, as well as a passionate political and social activist.