On April 19, Robin Petravic and Catherine Bailey spoke here at Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum about their work as owners of the legendary California pottery maker Heath, founded by Edith Heath in the mid-1940s. Their presentation had everyone thinking about the role of craft in manufacturing.

They explain, “We believe that the craft of manufacturing has, to a great extent, been lost as a value in American culture….All facets of our production are executed in our Sausalito factory and blend a mechanized process with hand craftsmanship to obtain the highest quality product….Local manufacturing has social and cultural rewards in bringing local pride to a community, which can’t be said for a service oriented market or a society without a diverse economy.”

Bailey and Petravic talked about how they resist the use of CAD tools at their firm, preferring to work the clay by hand when developing new products. They want each product to express the act of making in a tangible way. They are also committed to socially and environmentally sustainable business practices. Bravo, Heath!

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