Vintage Heath: Uncovering the Archives and Finding Inspiration
Recently, we unpacked for the first time ever, in one room, 120 boxes of vintage Heath pieces. It was so inspiring to see Edith Heath’s life work displayed in one place. A surprise highlight: an extensive collection of hand thrown work that Edith and her assistants did for Gumps in the mid 1940s (cup from the set shown in photo 5). The palette was beautiful earthy greens, blues, and tans that melded together with the brown clay and it seemed quite evident that the Coupe dinnerware line was a direct evolution from this work.
We also discovered and were particularly inspired by two glaze techniques Edith experimented with – the layered glaze applications (in photo 8) were inspiring as were a small collection of pieces we found where a combination of matte glazes and engobe (clay like glaze) produced really interesting tactile and textural pieces.
There’s still so much to digest and find inspiration in from the collection, and we’re always looking in the work we do now to continue that spirit of experimentation with glazes and technique. Much of the spirit of that early work makes its way into our seasonal collections each year, and in that way we can share it with you.
1 - Color tests
2, 3 - Hand scribing on jiggered and thrown pieces
4 - Experimental glaze colors for early production
5 - Hand thrown work for Gumps
6 - Early hand thrown jar
7 - Prototype Wedgewood teapot, designed by Edith Heath, produced by Wedgewood in England.
8 - Large vase with layered glaze technique and ribbed texture
9 - Earliest know work in clay by Edith Heath, dates early 1940s