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We Wanna Be Friends With: Catherine Bailey of Heath Ceramics

Photo credit Renee Zellweger

Our city is chock-full of interesting people and wild personalities. Overwhelmed by the coolness? Every week we'll pick one standout local we'd love to be friends with to answer seven essential questions about their life in San Francisco.

Edith Heath founded Heath Ceramics in 1948. An accomplished potter with a midcentury, utilitarian style, Edith opened the company's original factory in Sausalito and began producing her iconic tableware. Fast forward to 2002 and Heath Ceramics was in a state of disrepair. Edith herself was ailing (she passed away in 2005), and the factory was close to shutting down - that's when Catherine Bailey and her partner Robin Petravic stepped in. 

They purchased the company, and began to overhaul the business - bringing in exciting artist collaborations and opening up new studios in LA and the Mission, all while maintaining the integrity and soul of the original brand. 

As co-owner and creative director, Catherine is in charge of the creative vision of Heath. We just got a peek of their Winter '13 collection and were blown away (as per usual) with the way Heath continues to use glaze in such interesting ways without taking away from the classic shapes and organic forms they're famous for. Keep up the great work guys and big thanks to Catherine for answering out We Wanna Be Friends With Q&A!


1. What neighborhood do you currently call home? Would you ever move or are you happy in your 'hood?  

I split my time between Sausalito and the NE Mission (where the new Heath facility is). I've had a studio in this neighborhood since 1995 and have seen it transform through the years. It's always had a great vibe, but it's now safer and there's a lot more interesting food spots. It's pretty exciting to bring Heath to the neighborhood (in an old linen laundry space) and to bring manufacturing back to the neighborhood and open it up to the community.

Sausalito is beautiful and we love being close to the water and incorporating some outdoor space into our home, and our neighborhood in SF keeps us connected with our friends and cultural stuff that's important to us. We're pretty satisfied with our "dual life" and wouldn't trade it.

2. What's your hands-down, absolute favorite thing to eat in SF?

There's so much! It’s hard to pick just one. The morning bun from Tartine Bakery is decadent and so delicious, but it's tied with the Salted Caramel ice cream from Smitten.

3. What's your perfect night on the town?

It starts with going to see something or someone interesting. There is often great stuff happening at the NWBLK or Southern Exposure. After that, I'd grab a bite at Local Mission Eatery (24th street). I used to head to The Wild Side West on Bernal Hill for late night pinball (that was the perfect end to an evening), but unfortunately those machines are gone now, so I'm searching for a new spot with some good pinball.

4. When you need a low-key afternoon, where do you go for down time?

I'd head to Rainbow Foods to stock up on some delicious food for a picnic and then head to Golden Gate Park with my family (our dog Carlo doesn't have enough grass in his life). We love to check out what's going on at the De Young Museum and our son loves to check in on the penguins at the California Academy of Sciences.

5. What's your favorite place to go on a day trip from the city?

Tomales and Pt. Reyes Station are really the perfect day trip for us. We love to go to the beach or for a hike, or even walk out to the lighthouse on a foggy day and then stop at Bovine Bakery or the Pine Cone Diner. One of my favorite things to do when I don't have time for a full day trip is to wake up early (on a weekend) and get out to Muir Woods before 8am when it opens. If you get there early enough, it's magical to walk around there with no one around.

6. Quick-fire round: 

Burrito or Burger?

Veggie Burrito.

Presidio or Golden Gate Park?

Golden Gate Park. I love that the park and the museums are in the same spot.

BiRite or Mitchell's?

I used to live a few blocks from Mitchell's, so nostalgia wins out here.

Bike or MUNI?

Bike.

Fort Mason or Dolores Park?

Fort Mason for all the events.

The Independent or the Fillmore?

Fillmore.

Baker Beach or Ocean Beach?

Baker Beach, but only if I couldn't get back to Marin Beaches.

7. Three words that describe your life in SF?

It's about community.

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