A few weeks ago I walked over to the Oakland Museum of California* to see “Edith Heath: A Life in Ceramics,” a new exhibit that spotlights the life and work of Edith Kiertzner Heath, who founded Heath Ceramics in Sausalito in 1948.
Edith Heath (1911–2005) looking nerdy-glam in her studio. Via “Edith Heath: A Life in Ceramics”
I love this type of museum exhibit, which focuses as much on social and cultural context as on objects. Edith Heath rebelled against the mid-20th-century dogma that said only fine porcelain china was suitable for entertaining; her Heathware, by contrast, which was intended for every occasion, used humble but beautiful California clay, sculpted into elegant shapes and glazed in striking color combinations. She was both the chief designer and the chief executive of the company she founded—an uncommon dual role for a mid-20th-century woman.
A tableau of Heathware at the OMCA exhibit. (My own not-very-good photo.)
What about the word(s) of the week, you are asking by now. Well, one of the wall texts was headed “Jiggering and Jollying.” I’d never before seen either jigger or jolly in connection with ceramics or indeed any of the arts.