Architectural Tile

From the design of their barge home to the ceramics plant in Sausalito, Edith’s interest in architecture permeated her work. By 1958 Heath Ceramics began experimenting with architectural tiles achieving the same quality, durability, and style as the dinnerware. The unique and custom sizes, shapes, colors and versatility of her tiles made them the top choice for architects throughout the country.  To this day, they continue to stand the test of time and adorn major commercial and residential projects in the Bay Area and beyond. 

Whenever possible Edith worked closely with designers and architects in the design and application of Heath tile. The tile on the Norton Simon Museum (formerly the Pasadena Art Museum) won Edith the American Institute of Architects Industrial Arts Medal in 1971. She worked with the architecture firm Ladd & Kelsey on the design of a 5”x15” tile to achieve a tile clad building that evoked Hadrian’s Tomb in Rome. She formulated a brick red and onyx glaze that elicited the following response from onlookers “It was late in the afternoon and the coppery plum colored shadows on the mountains were repeated in the tile of the museum. It was so exciting.”[1]

In the 1980s Heath Ceramics expanded their tile production to a plant in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. Under the management of her sister Anna Jane Kellogg, Edith intended the plant to be the center of tile production while providing much-needed jobs in the area. Unfortunately this venture did not last long and the plant closed in 1989.

Edith continued to explore the world of architectural tile, experimenting with extruded tiles in an attempt to develop a viable alternative to building with wood. These were never introduced to the market.

[1] letter from Suzanne M. Brandt to Ladd & Kelsey architects Oct. 7, 1969