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Edith Heath: Philosophies

Raised toward our $35,000 Goal
157 Donors
Project has ended
Project ended on July 15, at 10:00 PM PDT
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Edith Heath: Philosophies

The Environmental Design Archives is seeking your support to fund Edith Heath: Philosophies, an in-depth, richly illustrated book on Edith Heath and the history of Heath Ceramics.


We are asking you to donate today to provide the critical funding needed to make this publication a reality. Please make a gift towards our goal of $35,000! Every dollar you give will be matched, up to $30,000.




Despite revolutionizing the field of ceramics, no one has written the definitive history of Edith Heath and Heath Ceramics. With your support, we will change that.



Funding will be allocated to four key aspects of the project to ensure the most relevant, comprehensive, and beautiful publication on Edith Heath and the legacy of Heath Ceramics. 

  • Never-before-published archival and photographic material will be meticulously digitized and optimized for quality and image vibrancy. 

  • Conscious administration of content, editing, funding, and resources will ensure an efficient and flawless final product.

  • A collaborative and iterative design process will be developed for both book content and promotional initiatives. The goal is to create an appealing and unified aesthetic identity that is both contemporary in feel and speaks to the concise visual language of Heath Ceramics. 

  • Perhaps most importantly, attention will be paid to materials, bookbinding, and printing to create a haptic and tactile reading experience. This book has the ambition to be the highest quality publication about Edith Heath on the market. 

For more information on the Perks associated with this campaign, click here



Edith Heath: Philosophies, will serve as the comprehensive resource on Edith Kiertzner Heath (1911-2005) and the history of Heath Ceramics, emphasizing the philosophical foundations and influences of one of the most significant creative forces in post-WWII America. Heavily illustrated, it will feature an introduction and ten chapters contributed by artists and scholars who have conducted research using the Brian and Edith Heath Collection at the Environmental Design Archives (EDA), UC Berkeley. This publication will serve as a complement to the 2020 exhibition at the Oakland Museum of California, offering substantial and in-depth commentary on the presented themes—the environment, feminism, experimentation, architecture, politics, collaborations—while solidifying the relevance of Edith Heath’s story in contemporary life and society.

Left: Place settings of Heathware in blue granite. Middle: Brian and Edith Heath outside their home,1957 Right: The Heath Ceramics Buffet Service,1955.

Thematically organized, Edith Heath: Philosophies, emphasizes lesser-known narratives and utilizes rarely seen images. Edith Heath considered her dinnerware to be more than a collection of objects; it was a statement of good design reflecting the post-war American West Coast lifestyle. The book departs from the traditional linear narrative of the company and situates Edith Heath as an influential and under-acknowledged figure in ceramic design history. The text and rich illustrations will appeal to a diverse audience interested in post-WWII design, material culture, and California history.


Publishing Edith Heath: Philosophies is only possible with the generous contributions from donors like you. With an anonymous dollar for dollar matchyour donation will go twice as far! Help us make this publication possible by making a gift today.



Page count: 320

Estimated word count: 80,000

Estimate image count: 250



Information Office is an art book publisher and design practice based in Vancouver, Canada. The office approaches publishing as a meeting of curation and design, emphasizing projects that collaborate with artists and cultural institutions. IO partners with Distributed Art Publishers, Inc. (D.A.P.: USA) and Idea Books (NLD), leaders in the distribution of art books and special editions from publishers, museums, and cultural institutions worldwide, to ensure the widest possible audience.

“What I do is going to change things. Things aren’t going to be the same anymore.” - Edith Heath


Edith Kiertzner was born in the farming community of Ida Grove, Iowa in 1911. The second of seven children born to Danish parents, Edith often took on a mothering role with her siblings, an experience that laid the foundation for her decision to become a teacher of art for children. In 1921, at the age of twenty, Edith studied at the Chicago Teachers College. Upon graduating, she worked for the Work Progress Administration (WPA) as an arts and crafts teacher with the Community Recreation Service in Chicago, while living in the Howell Neighborhood Settlement House. At this time she also enrolled part-time at the Chicago Art Institute. In 1938, while teaching art at the WPA Community Recreation Service summer camp in Batavia, Illinois, Edith met Brian Heath, a social worker born in 1913 in Bridgeport, Connecticut. They married in August that year. 

Edith and Brian Heath on the shore of Lake Michigan in Chicago, after their wedding in 1938.

The couple moved to California in 1941, settling in San Francisco. Edith taught art at the Presidio Hill School and took courses at the San Francisco Art Institute and ceramic chemistry classes at the University of California Extension. Here she pursued knowledge that led to her deep understanding of raw materials and informed her clay and glazes.

A drawing by Edith Heath depicting her and Brian’s life together in their first few years of living in San Francisco, California, circa 1943.

Edith and Brian established Heath Ceramics in 1944. They shared a strong vision for the modern dinnerware; Edith was in charge of design and production, while Brian managed the business. Their goal was to create a durable and attractive product fired at a low temperature and made with California clays and glaze minerals.

Edith Heath styling a large table full of Heath dinnerware and ashtrays, circa 1955.


Edith Heath at work in front of the Heath tile skin of the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, California during installation, 1969.

Heath Ceramics added architectural tile to their production in the late 1950s. In 1971 Edith received the American Institute of Architects Gold Medal for the exterior cladding on the Pasadena Art Museum, now the Norton Simon Art Museum. After Brian’s death in 2001, Edith’s involvement with the company diminished, and she was pleased when Robin Petravic and Catherine Bailey purchased the company in 2003. Edith Kiertzner Heath died in 2005.




The Environmental Design Archives (EDA) is a non-profit, self-supporting research unit housed in the College of Environmental Design at UC Berkeley. One of the largest archival repositories of its kind west of the Mississippi with more than 200 collections that document the work of many of the San Francisco Bay region’s historically significant architects, landscape architects, planners, and designers, the EDA is committed to collecting, preserving, and providing access to the primary records of the designed environment.


With your help, Edith Heath: Philosophies will relaunch the Berkeley Design Book series as book number eight. Started in 2008, the Berkeley Design Book series produced seven books promoting historical and critical scholarship on subjects drawn from the holdings of the EDA. In the series’ second iteration, an exploration of the rich and neglected history of designers based and practicing in Northern California will: publicize the wealth of the EDA’s collections, promote scholarship, provide outlets for scholarly publication, and contribute to the greater promotion of architectural, landscape, planning, and design history.


For more information on Edith Heath: Philosophies see the EDA's website.


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Questions about the campaign?

Contact the Environmental Design Archives



Our way
of Thanking You


A HUGE thank you

See your name in lights! Shout-out on the EDA website’s recognition wall.

28 of 1000000000 Claimed
Estimated Delivery: July 2019


Supporter Sticker

Pledge $50 and you'll get an exclusive Edith Heath sticker to put on your laptop, chair, or water bottle to show the world you support the EDA and Edith Heath: Philosophies. Bonus = a special thank you on our website’s recognition wall!

22 of 150 Claimed
Estimated Delivery: July 2019


Supporter Sticker + Enamel Pin

In addition to a supporter sticker and a shout-out on our website, you will also receive a limited edition enamel pin modeled after 1940s Heath letterhead and the glaze used in Edith’s early Heathware produced for Gumps. This pin will add a little extra flare anywhere you decide to place it!

41 of 100 Claimed
Estimated Delivery: July 2019


Edith Heath: Philosophies

Bring the story of Edith Heath and Heath ceramics into your home with this donation. Receive a copy of Edith Heath: Philosophies and discover how Edith was able to forge her own path as a designer, artist, and entrepreneur in post-WWII America.

31 of 30 Claimed
Estimated Delivery: July 2020


Book + Talk + Signing

Not only will you get a copy of Edith Heath: Philosophies, but you will receive an invitation to attend a special, one night only, book talk given by editor Jennifer Volland and contributors. Authors will discuss how the book came to be and the research behind each chapter, followed by a Q&A and book signing!

4 of 30 Claimed
Estimated Delivery: July 2020


Glaze Experimentations + Book

Edith Heath hand-decorated these twelve dinner plates in the 1960s and 1970s as a way to experiment with glaze application. The blending and layering of different glazes in an expressionist style exemplifies Heath’s nature of constant experimentation. You will also receive a copy of Edith Heath: Philosophies.

12 of 12 Claimed
Estimated Delivery: July 2019


Factory Tour (weekday) + Book

Take a trip back in time to 1959, when the Heath Factory plans were being drawn. Join Catherine Bailey and Robin Petravic for a one of a kind tour of the Heath factory in Sausalito. This special visit will be hosted by the current owners of Heath Ceramics and is sure to blow your mind with fun facts and behind-the-scenes glimpses. In addition to this once in a lifetime opportunity, you will also receive your very own copy of Edith Heath: Philosophies and acknowledgment in the publication! This tour, slated to take place on a weekday in August 2019, can accommodate 12 people.

0 of 12 Claimed
Estimated Delivery: July 2019


Factory Tour (weekend) + Book

Want to take a behind the scenes tour of the Heath Factory but can’t make it during the week? We have an additional opportunity for a weekend day in August, 2019. You will also receive acknowledgment in the publication and a copy of Edith Heath: Philosophies! This tour can accommodate 15 people.

0 of 15 Claimed
Estimated Delivery: May 2019


Behind the Scenes + Book

Join the EDA team for an extraordinary look behind the scenes at the EDA. Donors will be given exclusive access to view where collections are housed and participants will be guided through the collection by Curator Chris Marino and Heath Scholar, Author, and Ceramist Rosa Novak. You will also receive your very own copy of Edith Heath: Philosophies.

1 of 15 Claimed
Estimated Delivery: July 2019
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