Potter, Edith Heath started the ~Heath Ceramics~ in the mid-forties with a dedication to timeless design, hand-craftsmanship, and sustainable practices (formerly known as ‘resourcefulness’). The business was bought in 2003 by husband and wife Robin Petravic and Catherine Bailey. Their mission was to revitalize the designer-maker legacy established in one of the few remaining mid-century American potteries still in existence today. A true California classic, Heath Ceramics has been creating beautiful tableware and tile since 1948. I went for a tour of their Sausalito factory recently and fell in love with the company and, of course, the gorgeous ceramics.
I’m always excited to find truly local sources of exquisite design (and it happens all the time here!). Heath sources their brown clay from Sacramento area and all of the manufacturing is done right here in Northern California by skilled craftspeople, many of whom have been with the company for over 20 years. One of the things I place a high priority on is the labor that goes into a product – is it local, is it fair, is it skillfully executed? The human factor in the sustainability of a product must be an equal part of the people-planet-profit equation of business (the triple bottom line). Many skilled hands touch each piece throughout its production and there really was a positive vibe as we walked through Heath’s sun-lit production line.
“The price of our products reflects the actual cost of producing products in a responsible manner. Products manufactured in the United Stated must comply with strict environmental standards and we go further with our stringent recycling and reuse programs. Our staff is fairly compensated, receives full health care benefits, has retirement benefits available and workers compensation coverage etc. We would be the first to agree that it’s an expensive way to produce products, but we also believe that if you’re going to “talk the talk” you need to “walk the walk”…”
They’ve just opened up a new retail store in the San Francisco Ferry Building. You can check out the store and push off on a ferry ride to tour the factory on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Free and fun!
Every Friday Heath brings out their production seconds for sale for only $6.99 per square foot. Rummage through stacks of gorgeous, irregular tile for fun or art. And if you’ve got time to stock pile for an up-coming project and appreciate the beauty of imperfections in a wabi sabi sort of way, this could be the best excuse to come back again and again!
Cool product scouting:
In the firing process of the tile there are larger ceramic “shelves” that are used to hold all the pieces. These shelves are used over and over again until they start to lose their form. In the past the exhausted ceramic shelves would be pulverized and given to local farms to add to their soils, but the Heath team found another use for them. They have begun cutting and glazing them for sale to those who want an uber ecological tile (and can wait it out for the next batch to be retired). What were we saying about ‘resourcefulness’? Call the factory to find out more or place your order.Heath Ceramics
Sausalito factory and store 400 Gate Five Road Sausalito, CA 94965 P 415-332-3732