Production at Heath Ceramics continued to evolve as demand and technologies changed. Throughout her career, Edith continuously addressed the theme of hand-made versus machine-made. She began as one woman hand throwing pieces on a potter’s wheel, she employed potters who threw dinnerware to her specifications.

Brian introduced a small degree of mechanization when the company moved to Sausalito: the jigger wheel and plaster molds for slip casting.

Heath dinnerware was distributed by N.S. Gustin & Co. and due to exposure throughout North America, demand for her creations skyrocketed. She understood that a successful business could not be supported with this model.

“I wanted to make something that was for the American way of life...And I couldn’t do it if I made only the number of pieces that one single person could do.”[1]

When the factory moved from San Francisco to Sausalito the staff doubled from five to ten and they focused on the transition from hand thrown to plaster batts and jigger wheels. Although hand throwing allowed the craftspeople certain freedoms that mechanized production did not, the change in new production processes required a change in the style of the dinnerware. Brian’s engineering skills supported Edith’s creative designs; he built the equipment they needed including roller jiggers and kilns. Working with architects Marquis & Stoller, Edith’s design of the interior work areas in the Sausalito factory created a seamless flow of processes from clay mixing to jiggering, glazing, and firing.

 Edith spent long hours working in the factory, perfecting her clay and glaze formulas and designs. Drawing inspiration from her raw materials, she let the clay and the glazes work together to make the shapes that are her legacy.


[1] Heath, Edith. (1995). Oral History interview with Edith Heath. Tableware and Tile for the World, Heath Ceramics, 1944-1994. Regional Oral History Office, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.