I visited the Heath Ceramics factory in Sausalito last week. My friend Mamie summarized our trip:
They do not optimize for efficiency. It is not scalable. Heath’s bus factor (the total number of key people who would need to be incapacitated to prevent the production from proceeding) is dangerously low. They aren’t trying to 10x their velocity. There is only *one* person who mixes the colors of the glaze — and they can take up to 2 years to develop a new color! But that’s what I loved about it. Each piece is truly cared for by this small team of passionate designer-makers.
I wonder if part of my attraction to Heath is that it provides balance to my 21st century technology-immersed existence. It is made from the earth and you grasp it in your hands.
And speaking of hands. My favorite fun fact from the tour: the Studio Mug’s handle is not just aesthetic. No “form over function.” It was designed so Edith could hold her coffee & cigarette in one hand and have the other hand free to work!