Edith Heath + Vintage Heath Ceramics Finds
Nothing beats a strong woman.
When Edith Heath, founder of Heath Ceramics, couldn’t obtain a pottery wheel, she and her husband fashioned one out of a treadle-powered sewing machine. Next, she wanted to learn more about the chemical process of glazes, clay and kiln firing, and could not finding a suitable class. But that didn’t stop her. Edith successfully petitioned the University of California to create a course in ceramics chemistry. When an early solo exhibition sold out, Edith decided it was time to found her own company. Heath Ceramics, based in Sausalito, California, was born in 1948 and by 1949 it was producing 100,000 pieces of ceramics a year.
Edith’s passion for her craft and that chemistry class led her to develop new glaze and clay methods, one of her hallmarks. Her pieces were produced with a single kiln firing at a lower than normal temperature, which allowed her to conserve energy without sacrificing beauty or durability. Her predilection for simple forms has resulted in an enduring style. One early fan: Frank Lloyd Wright. He specified her ceramics in many of his residential projects. Today, Edith Heath’s ceramics are found in the collections of museums such as MOMA and LACMA.
Collectors prize both contemporary and vintage pieces. While on BlogTour LA, we had the opportunity to visit the Los Angeles studio of Heath Ceramics and I quickly ordered some coffee mugs to be sent home. The pieces have a quiet beauty. Today Edith’s tabletop designs are still made using her methods in the original Sausalito plant by 50 craftsman (Edith died in 2005 and the company was sold 2 years prior).
While I am a big fan of the pieces made today, the collector in me simply had to check out vintage Heath Ceramics. Take a look at what I found on Etsy. Have at it.