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Ceramics in the Bay: Edith Heath and Beyond

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‘Untitled (Finishing a Teacup Edited),’ c. 1970; photographic print from the Edith and Brian Heath Collection in the Environmental Design Archives, UC Berkeley. (Oakland Museum of California)

“Textiles and yarn did not have enough structure and volume, but clay I found was and is just right,” Edith Heath once said. The co-founder of Heath Ceramics is the focus of an exhibition at Oakland Museum of California, which looks at how Heath’s relocation to San Francisco informed and inspired her iconic mid-century ceramic designs. In Sausalito, Heath Ceramics revolutionized ceramic houseware, designing and manufacturing accessible, stylish dinnerware that could be used for Sunday best or on the patio. We’ll talk about how Heath fits within the larger history of ceramics in Northern California, what makes California clay so special and why Heath Ceramics remains relevant, nearly 75 years after its founding.

Guests:

Drew Johnson, curator of photography and visual culture and co-curator, "Edith Heath: A Life in Clay," Oakland Museum of California

Nancy Servis , curator, university educator, scholar, and author of a forthcoming book on the history of clay use in Northern California

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