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The Story of Heath

Since its founding in 1948, Heath's been owned by two families, both driven by design, and sharing a commitment to handcrafted work and a determination to question the status quo.

The Heath Story

Once upon a time, two designers stumbled upon a curious factory—one that made ceramics—in an unlikely place: Sausalito, California. It was Heath, of course, a company founded by Edith and Brian Heath in 1948. 

The couple, Robin Petravic and Catherine Bailey, saw in Heath the potential for a holistic business model, one that integrated designing, making and selling. 

The pair bought Heath Ceramics in 2003 and quickly set about revitalizing the company. They boosted productivity; streamlined offerings and created new products; collaborated with artists, mavericks, and companies whose vision complemented theirs; and began carrying products from independent makers. 

They expanded too, opening showrooms in Los Angeles and in San Francisco’s Ferry Building, and a new tile factory and showroom in San Francisco’s Mission District in 2012. Along the way, they gained legions of fans as their products found their way into hotels, restaurants, museums, and homes worldwide. They've even won some prestigious design awards, including the Cooper Hewitt's National Design Award in 2015. That same year, Robin and Catherine authored Tile Makes The Room, which explores tile’s integral role in good design in projects across the world. 

While much has changed since 1948 – and even since 2003 – some important elements have not (and never will). Most importantly, all of Heath’s products are handcrafted by skilled artisans in small runs in the Bay Area. And Edith and Brian Heath’s vision of making good things for good people—the right way—lives on.

Heath's Legacy

Heath Ceramics was founded by another husband and wife team, Edith and Brian Heath. 

When the duo moved from Chicago to San Francisco in the early 1940s, Edith—who’d had little formal training in the area—began making ceramics. In 1944, she held a one-woman exhibition at the Legion of Honor, where her work was noticed by Gump's, a respected design store in San Francisco. They commissioned Edith to create an exclusive dinnerware collection for them, and when more retail orders started coming in, the couple officially founded Heath Ceramics in Sausalito, California in 1948.

In 1959, their business expanded into the factory which still houses our dinnerware manufacturing today. The building was designed in collaboration with the Heaths and Marquis and Stoller Architects.

Edith designed her pieces for a single kiln-firing, at a lower-than-normal temperature, thus saving energy while producing a remarkably durable product. Her work led to advances in clay and glaze development, securing Heath a unique place in ceramic history, along with design awards including the Industrial Arts Award from the American Institute of Architects. Many of Edith’s original pieces are a part of the permanent collections of museums such as MOMA and LACMA.

LEARN MORE

Read about who we are, today.

 

See a timeline of Heath's history.


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Designing

Go Inside the Heath Clay Studio

Designing

Making

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Making

Sharing

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Sharing