Second Offering in Biannual Series Supported by Van Cleef & Arpels
This May, the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum will present the next installment of its Design by Hand series, which focuses on the craftsmanship, innovations and merits of pioneering design organizations. Held May 6–10 during NYCxDESIGN, the weeklong program will spotlight Heath Ceramics, whose iconic tableware and tile are still made in small runs on the premises of its Sausalito, Calif., dinnerware factory and new San Francisco tile factory, just as they have been since 1948.

“Launched to sold-out audiences in fall 2013 with Marimekko, the Design by Hand series demonstrates the appeal and ongoing interest in the role the human hand plays in the design process,” said director Caroline Baumann. “From its very beginning, Heath Ceramics has focused on hand craftsmanship, material exploration, concept development and design process, making them a perfect study for our Design by Hand series.”

Considered among the most enduring examples of mid-century modern design, Heath is known for its simple, functional and thoughtfully designed tableware and tile. Today, Heath employs 60 skilled craftspeople who form, glaze, trim and fire the ceramics using socially responsible methods. In its new San Francisco campus, the company also has developed the Heath Clay Studio, a hands-on design environment, which allows the studio director, creative director and design team to think about and work in clay in a thoroughly experimental way.

Cooper-Hewitt’s spring programs with Heath Ceramics include a teen hands-on workshop, adult workshop, college workshop, public lecture and family workshops. The hands-on workshops will feature a mini-kiln, in order to offer participants a complete engagement in the Heath design process.

Design by Hand is made possible by the support of Van Cleef & Arpels.

Teen Workshop; Tuesday, May 6; 4:30 p.m.
Cooper-Hewitt Design Center (111 Central Park North, New York)
Cooper-Hewitt’s teen programs are essential to the museum’s goal of developing the designers of tomorrow. This hands-on workshop will focus on creating ceramic beads. The teens will work with Heath designers to explore texture, pattern and glaze. Free.

University-level Workshop; Wednesday, May 7; 2 p.m.
Cooper-Hewitt Design Center (111 Central Park North, New York)
Students will work with designers from Heath Ceramics and use paper cutouts to design tea sets, gaining a deeper understanding of line and ergonomics. Free.

Adult Hands-on Workshop; Wednesday, May 7; 6:30 p.m.
Cooper-Hewitt Design Center (111 Central Park North, New York)
Participants will explore texture, pattern and glaze to create ceramic beads at this hands-on workshop led by Heath Ceramics. Cooper-Hewitt members, $25; general admission, $50.

Public Lecture; Thursday, May 8; 6:30 p.m.
WNYC Greene Space (44 Charlton Street, New York)
The public program will feature a discussion about Heath Ceramics’ history and the inspiration behind the iconic American brand. Panelists include Catherine Bailey, creative director; Robin Petravic, managing director; and Tung Chiang, San Francisco studio director. The program will be webcast live and the broadcast will be archived on Cooper-Hewitt’s website. General admission, $10; senior citizens, $8. Cooper-Hewitt members and students are admitted free with registration.

Family Workshops; Saturday, May 10; 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
Cooper-Hewitt Design Center (111 Central Park North, New York)
These family workshops will be inspired by the designs of Heath Ceramics and will feature a creative, hands-on program, led by museum educators. Free.

Program Registration
All programs require advance registration at For further information, call (212) 849-8353.

About the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum
As the only museum in the nation devoted exclusively to historic and contemporary design, Cooper-Hewitt educates, inspires and empowers people through design. The museum is undergoing a transformative renovation resulting in 60 percent more gallery space and will open in fall 2014 with an entirely new visitor experience. During the renovation, Cooper-Hewitt’s events and education programs are popping up locally at the Cooper-Hewitt Design Center in Harlem and nationally with the Design in the Classroom program in New Orleans, New York City, San Antonio, Washington, D.C., Cleveland and Minneapolis.


Photo: Jeffery Cross