San Francisco's Heath: Artists, and Ceramics, and Blue Bottle, Oh My!
Play count-the-artist at the block-long Heath Ceramics compound in Mission Creek. Eight makers, including Matt Dick of Small Trade Company and James Tucker and Risa Culbertson of Aesthetic Union, occupy small, independent studios that pepper the perimeter (the “Creative Campus” part).
Stop by and watch them work, or pop into Heath’s showroom to see how its famous tile is cut, glazed, and fired—and to buy as many ceramic mugs as your wallet will allow. But the real reason locals are salivating? A new restaurant—and maybe even a classroom—from Tartine founders Chad Robertson and Elisabeth Pruitt will join the Blue Bottle coffee stand this fall.
This appeared in the October 2014 issue.
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Shop for Beautiful Table and Homewares in San Francisco
One of the last remaining American artisan potteries is right across the Golden Gate Bridge in Sausolito, and it just so happens that Heath Ceramics has several locations in San Francisco.
Founded in 1948 by Edith Heath, Heath Ceramics has been producing their table and homewares with a straightforward mission in mind: to make, gather, and sell beautiful, functional, and enduring objects that enhance the way people eat, live, and connect.
Stop by their newest retail space, the Mission factory and showroom, to take a tour or just to pick up a set of mugs or a small bud vase in an array of their iconic bold yet neutral colors (and don’t forget to get a coffee at the Blue Bottle Coffee kiosk right next door).
Can’t make it to the factory? You’ll undoubtedly come across Heath Ceramics plateware at one of the dozens of restaurant throughout the city that serve their food with them.
The Mission showroom hours are Mondays through Thursdays and Saturdays from 10 am to 6 pm, Fridays from 10 am to 7 pm, and Sundays from 11 am to 6 pm.
Don’t let a cable car keychain be the only souvenir you bring home from your trip. A gift from Heath Ceramics - for some folks back home or, hey, for yourself - may be the quintessential San Francisco souvenir. Why? Heath represents high-end craftsmanship. It’s local. It retains its mid-century modern aesthetic. And with its sleek, glazed figure, a Heath vase, mug, or bowl is almost instantly recognizable in the Bay Area. Stop inside the Ferry Building and take a look around the Heath shop. See if you can resist the perfect proportions of a gleaming bud vase, a moonstone blue pitcher, or a set of plates.
I hadn't been to the San Francisco location of Heath Ceramics, and was excited to learn it would play host for the release party of the new WILDSAM field guide to San Francisco. The space, design, colors and layout of the store feel a lot like the art they create (thoughtful, unique and warm). There's an intentional elegance to each piece that is produced by their team of fifty craftspersons and the result is something that, no doubt, honors the founder Edith Heath.
When you dig a little deeper into the Heath history, you find that Edith founded the company after a solo show of her work at the Legion on Honor in San Francisco in 1948, hoping to make ceramics that 'blur the line between everyday objects and family heirlooms.' Edith sold the workshop in her 90's to the creative directing pair of Catherine Bailey and Robin Petravic and what they've built is a brand of beauty.
Here in the 60,000-square-foot space in the Mission, you'll also find Blue Bottle Coffee, gifts from additional creative artists and you can even schedule a tour to watch the ceramics come to life. Bravo to Catherine and Robin for breathing new life into Heath Ceramics and for being such an institution to thoughtful design here in the Bay Area.
Heath Ceramics is one of the last remaining mid-century ceramic makers in the U.S. and produces its world renowned pottery and tiles at factories in the Mission neighborhood of San Francisco and Sausalito. If you have any design friends, this is the place to take them! What's even cooler than a visit to Heath Ceramics' perfectly curated showroom is that they recently added tours at their Mission factory. Visit on a Saturday or Sunday for a tour at 11:30am, or every third Friday at 2:00pm. Before you see how they make things (they are renowned for their mastery of the matte glaze), grab a cup of Blue Bottle coffee next door. https://www.heathceramics.com