San Francisco

heath ceramics factory tour

This post will deviate slightly from the butter and pork theme that dominates our blog, but don’t worry folks, it’s only temporary.  Plus, the departure is justified because Heath Ceramics is such an amazing place and because they primarily produce dishware. (Food blog + artisanal dishware = peas in a pod, right?). Okay, here is the story.

Heath Ceramics was founded in 1948 in Sausalito, CA by Edith Heath. She was a feisty lady who knew her mind. She built her ceramic factory on the values of quality and sustainability, using local materials as much as possible and paying the real cost of labor always. Basically, she wanted to make simple, good things for good people. And so she did for the next 50 years. In 2003, husband and wife team, Robin Petravic and Catherine Bailey purchased Heath Ceramics with a mission to revitalize the company. By placing a strong emphasis on design, handcrafted techniques, and the reinvigoration of the company’s designer-maker legacy, Robin and Catherine have preserved and perpetuated the Edith’s values. Today, Heath Ceramics is one of the few remaining American potteries still in existence. Every piece they sell is made in their Sausalito factory by a team of 60 craftsmen and every piece is truly a work of art.

Last Friday, I took off work and Jordan and I went on the factory tour. We got to see first hand every step of the process and learn about the company’s history. It was incredible! I was so impressed by the time and attention put into each piece. The techniques were fascinating (I had zero idea how to make a stoneware platter from scratch) and the staff eager to share how they produce what they produce. It was evident how proud everyone was of their product, but even evident how proud they are of their process. It was truly unique experience and I loved every moment.

* this image courtesy Heath Ceramics

At the Sausalito store, they sell factory seconds – pieces that didn’t quite make the quality standards primarily due to aesthetic reasons (bubbled glaze, little nicks) – for 30% off. We purchased a few beautiful pieces, including the serving bowl pictured up top, a little milk pitcher, and two tiles to use as trivets or spoon rests. I’ll just show them off here …

*I think the little split makes this little guy even cuter!

I am kicking myself for not taking more photos while in the factory. It is a beautiful place and the processes are amazing and artisanal and unlike anything I’ve ever seen.

If you want to go on a tour (do it!), give them a call or click here for more information. And, remember to bring your camera!