And that is the problem. It only skims the surface of Mrs. Heath’s life. Around halfway through, it is mentioned that Edith always hated being a woman in a man’s world. See, while she created the company and the designs, her husband Brian was in charge of the company. How did this resentment manifest itself? How often did the two fight about it? I don’t know, as Heath Ceramics never gets that deep. It is so interested in cramming all the information that it never invites the audience to the inside circle.
This extends to Heath’s supposedly remarkable and game-changing designs. While her pieces are visually striking, in part due to their simplicity, the show never juxtaposes them with what else was on the market. At one point, she duo-glazes tiles with red and brown, I think, and the audience is told this was mindblowing. But why? How? Was it the double glaze or the alternating colors?
“…so interested in cramming all the information that it never invites the audience to the inside circle.”
This isn’t to say the hour-long episode is a total waste of time. The interviewees are lively and genuinely believe in the artistic integrity and work ethic Edith Heath possessed. While Heath Ceramics is little more than dry facts over photos/ videos interspersed with talking head interviews, it moves at a nice pace. Nothing really drags the pacing down, despite the viewer always being kept at arm’s length.
On paper, Artbound- Heath Ceramics: The Making Of A Classic should work. It focuses on an unsung artist, Edith Heath, who changed her field. That her art of choice is yet another tucked enclave of the arts should give added weight to the proceedings. Yet somehow, despite excellent interviewees and a fascinating subject in Heath, the show is dull. It never digs deep enough to compel the viewer to stay tuned.