Shop Talk: A Stroll Through Heath Ceramics’ Tile Workshop In The Mission

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From humble beginnings to now worldwide recognition, Heath Ceramics is a bellwether that has built an empire off of good will and impressive taste. We got to tour their Mission location to see how the aesthetic of Heath has changed and formed into multiple collaborations, not to mention their most recent with Etta + Billie.

The power couple, Robin Petravic and Catherine Bailey, saw the growth in Heath and helped integrate designing, making and selling all under one curated roof.

The pair bought Heath Ceramics in 2003 and quickly set about breathing new air into the old structure of the company. They boosted productivity; by creating new products; collaborated with artists, mavericks, and companies whose vision complemented theirs and began carrying products from independent makers to what we see today.

Now with fitting excellent shops in Los Angeles and in San Francisco’s Ferry Building, and the famous tile factory and showroom in San Francisco’s Mission District.

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Along the way, they gained legions of fans as their products found their way into hotels, restaurants, museums, and homes worldwide. They’ve even won prestigious design awards, including the Cooper Hewitt’s National Design Award in 2015. That same year, Robin and Catherine authored Tile Makes The Room, which explores tile’s and how they can either make or break a room’s natural aesthetic. Let me tell you, it’s a read.

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Heath Ceramics was founded by another husband and wife team, Edith and Brian Heath.

When the duo moved from Chicago to San Francisco in the early 1940s, Edith—who’d had little formal training in the area—began making ceramics. In 1944, she held a one-woman exhibition at the Legion of Honor, where her work was noticed by Gump’s, a respected design store in San Francisco. They commissioned Edith to create an exclusive dinnerware collection for them, and when more retail orders started coming in, the couple officially founded Heath Ceramics in Sausalito, California in 1948.

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// You need to take a visit to Heath’s Mission District location; 2900 18th St, San Francisco.


Written by Anthony Rogers, photography by Ashley Tarr — Get to know your community on our newsletter or get enveloped in Bay Area culture.

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