ACC Conference: Julie Lasky - “Men in White”
ACC Conference: Lydia Matthews -"New Models in the Marketplace"

ACC Conference: Robin Petravic - “Good Design + Good Craft = Good Sense: The Story of Heath Ceramics”

HeathOWNERS The last lecture on Saturday morning was by Robin Petravic titled,  “Good Design + Good Craft = Good Sense: The Story of Heath Ceramics”. The previous lecture about the industrial design profession was the perfect preface as Robin Petravic and Catherine Bailey (pictured at left) were both design professionals who decided that they didn't have enough connection to the making of the final product.  In 2003 they purchased Heath Ceramics continuing a long history as one of the last artist-owned potteries producing tableware in California (perhaps in the United States).  Heath has a rich history which you can read about on their excellent website. I highly recommend that you look carefully at how they present their story to the public to create an identity for Heath Ceramics and their product.

If you are thinking about designing your own website, closely examine the website for Heath Ceramics. It really helps the consumer understand the values of Heath and the value of the product. These issues were all discussed during the lecture:

  • History
  • Value
  • Local Manufacturing
  • The Real Cost
  • Products that last a lifetime
  • Environmental Impact,
  • The Big Picture.

What might be most relevant to everyone reading this blog or listening to the lecture at the ACC Conference is that these are two people who have chosen to make the craft of ceramics both a lifestyle and a livelihood not just for themselves but for a whole community of individuals. Their success depends on intelligent design and producing a quality product by employees that take pride in craftsmanship. Robin Petravic and Catherine Bailey have grown Heath Ceramic to 5 or 6 times what it was a few years ago.


WHAT DID I LEARN? Heath Ceramics exemplifies a superior business model demonstrating that good design, quality craftsmanship, dedicated employees, and intelligent marketing are viable in our consumer society.

LIFESTYLE OR LIVELIHOOD?  Lifestyle and livelihood for all participants.

SUMMARY:  Study the website. Look at how Heath Ceramics markets their products. Read every paragraph on every page and commit it to memory. This is what we need to communicate about what we make and why we make it. They raise issues discussed by other speakers in the conference such as buying local, environmental impact, hand craftsmanship, plus one more never mentioned, a  living wage with full health care benefits, retirement benefits, and workers compensation coverage.


This post was updated on January 3, 2022, to provide current links.