california edition | Sep 13, 2018 |
How Heath Ceramics is celebrating its 70th year

Sausalito, California–based Heath Ceramics has a lot to celebrate: This year marks its 70th birthday, as well as the brand’s 15th anniversary under current owners Cathy Bailey and Robin Petravic. Heath is branching out with new product, introducing its inaugural flatware collection as well as making an update to its original Coupe dinnerware collection with new glazes—the first time in 15 years for the new hues.

Heath is currently celebrating 70 years of American craftsmanship and its 15th anniversary under the helm of current owners Cathy Bailey and Robin Petravic
The Coupe dinnerware collection was designed by Heath Ceramics founder Edith Heath in 1948.

Bailey, who also serves as creative director at the brand, shares of the line’s updates, and its noted history: “The Coupe line was designed in 1948 and has been in constant production since. In 2003, the glazes were updated, and we believed that 10 years is about the time frame in which to reflect and reassess our glaze palettes. At the 10-year mark, though, we didn’t feel the need to re-work the glazes, but at the 15-year mark, we did. Color creates emotion and a connection to the moment we live in, and we want our palette to be a collection of colors that were relevant in the 1940s alongside with new colors that represent this modern moment. Some of these we hope to be tomorrow’s classics! We feel that the Heath Coupe line is the definition of classic modern American dinnerware, the new colors ensure that the overall palette feels complete to represent the entire 70 years it’s been produced for.”

Another theme this anniversary year is that of American manufacturing—Heath is partnering with Sherrill Manufacturing, the last remaining flatware manufacturer in the country, on the Muir flatware collection. “We have an affinity for companies with heritage and even more so for those remaining when all others have gone elsewhere or are no longer. When visiting Sherrill, we saw similarities in our Sausalito dinnerware factory: an honest spirit committed to craft with original machinery, generations of skill, minimal computers, and many hands instead.

“The Sherrill team is comprised of up to 50 people and operates today in the 125,000-square-foot former Oneida flatware facility. Each team member is deeply skilled in different aspects of the manufacturing process; there are usually 15 to 20 steps to create just one piece of flatware. We work closely with the factory and spent many visits to truly understand its manufacturing strengths and weaknesses; having it in the U.S. allowed for better communication, understanding of each other’s business, and the ability to work together on site often.”

“It’s always exciting for us to design around the tabletop experience,” continues Bailey. “Dinnerware goes hand in hand with flatware when creating an overall dining and eating experience, so to design flatware to complement our dinnerware was a natural desire, and yet without Sherrill, the product would have never come into existence, as our goal was to design and manufacture the line in the U.S.”

What’s in stock for the year to come? Soft goods are in the works as are, potentially, textiles. “Our vision is for Heath to steadily evolve, but at a pace and with product that feels intrinsically appropriate and attuned to the Heath ethos. We want to design and make beautiful things every day, with our own hand and in our own factories and studios. We love to connect with our customers, so we sell these things in our own showrooms, and each showroom is unique. Thus, it all feels considered and unique and defines our pace,” Bailey tells BOH.

“You’ll see us making soft goods now, we’re playing with textiles, and working with the last remaining flatware factory in the U.S.,” Bailey contiunes. “Our one factory limits our scale and defines our pace, but our creativity, projects and range continue to grow. It’s not to say that we’ll never open another store or studio, but we’re not driven by that as an end goal. All parts of the business are connected and balanced to make things evolve and to continue to make beautiful things, ourselves.”

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