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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Heath Ceramics

Edith Heath
Edith Heath (1911-2005) was born to Danish farmers in Iowa, one of seven children. She attended Chicago Teachers College, planning to become an educator, but she took art education and decided to pursue a career as an artist.

She married in 1941 and moved to San Francisco with her husband Brian Heath. She first studied ceramics at the San Francisco Art Institute, and then she petitioned UC Berkeley's extension program to host a yearlong ceramic chemistry course.

Her husband, an engineer and an inventor, converted an old treadle sewing machine into a potter's wheel for her and installed a gas-fired kiln in the basement below their apartment. It was there she began to hone her skills, developing endless glaze formulations.

She founded Heath Ceramics in 1947, after an exhibition at the Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco brought her public attention, and she began receiving orders from Gump's, Neiman Marcus, Marshall Fields and Bullock's. Her designs were an instant success, capturing the attention of other artists, designers and architects. Frank Lloyd Wright, Eero Saarinen and Alexander Girard specified her ceramics for some of their projects. She was the first non-architect to win an American Institute of Architects Gold Medal for her architectural tiles.

She exhibited at and won awards for her simple, minimalist designs from the de Young Museum, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, among others.

Heath Ceramics is still in business today in the original factory in Sausalito, California, crafting their pieces the same way they did over a half century ago.

From,, - Heath Ceramics

Dimensional tiles

Heath tile

Collage of Heath tiles

Neutra style ceramic house tiles

Eames style ceramic house numbers

Edith Heath at work


  1. bllues and oranges are so classy....i missed out ona lot ofposts..need to catch up :)

  2. Love them. We've never been to the factory even though it's 20 minutes from us! We're planning to do a factory tour soon and hopefully pick up some deals! I am envisioning using their tiles for a backsplash in the kitchen.

  3. @Michelle: A factory tour would be so much fun! Let us know if you get some good buys.

  4. beautiful pottery! my faves are the bud vases and the tea set?

  5. GORGEOUS. Love the lines and colors and style and... all of it.

  6. How did I miss this post?!? Beautiful ceramics.

  7. @Tanya: It's all beautiful, but I'm especially in love with the blue vase with the brown around the neck.