Heath Ceramics

Heath Ceramics in Sausalito is a magical place. The site of Edith Heath's original workshop is still turning out tableware and tiles that are as much mid-century art as everyday objects. I love stopping in when we're nearby, and I inevitably pick up a new piece (or two), especially from the limited seasonal collections. The pieces are special on their own, but this way they're also a little reminder of the time you picked them up.

One of the awesome things about the showroom is that you can shop from the assortment of 'seconds' pieces that aren't quite perfect and are a little cheaper than 'firsts.' The two above are seconds, but the gestalt of their design is so beautiful and their flaws so small that I hardly notice. I'm kind of obsessed with this season's colors California Poppy, Grapefruit & Birch — so I went a little crazy with the seconds and got the tray, tiny bowl and bud vase.

Dessert bowl as desert bowl from Winter 2011.

Another very awesome thing about visiting Heath's Sausalito studio is that you can take a tour of the factory. You get to see all the behind the scenes magic, involving molds, glazes and giant kilns, that goes into producing Heath's designs.

Shades of glaze and some finished tile samples.

Giant kiln. The red box on top lowers over the ceramics, and they use these neat pyrometric cones to gauge when they've been fired to the right temperature.

I highly recommend the tour if you're in the area, or even if not — I'd say it's worth a trip! There are also Heath showrooms in Los Angeles and the Ferry Building in San Francisco, and it looks like this summer they'll be opening a new showroom and tile factory in SF near the Mission.  Luckily, even if you're far from CA, you can always shop online.