Artbound is a show airing on KCET that examines the lives and cultural impact of various innovators and artists from Southern California. The second episode of its tenth season, Heath Ceramics: The Making Of A Classic, focuses on Edith Heath. Growing up during the Great Depression, some of the only items her family did not sell-off was a beautiful set of china. Even after her family got (more or less) back on their feet, that set was only used for special occasions.
“…she’d want to create sturdy, unique plates and bowls that looked nice but could also withstand everyday wear and tear.”
Heath never really understood why her family had dishes that did nothing, save for once or twice a year. Thus, it only makes sense that once she showed an interest and knack for ceramics, she’d want to create sturdy, unique plates and bowls that looked nice but could also withstand everyday wear and tear. Eventually, Gumps, a retailer based in San Francisco, would contact her and sell her homewares in their stores.
This was a huge hit, and the episode then delves into how her ceramic designs took the world by storm. Under the direction of Quinn Costello and Chris Metzler, Heath Ceramics never overcomes its biggest flaw. That flaw is that it never invests the audience into the designs of the ceramics. Yes, Edith Heath is the person we follow, but the show dryly, though some humorous moments are sprinkled throughout, recites the facts of her life.