Sacramento Street

Living With Great Style

Workspace: Heath Ceramics

Heath Ceramics Creative Workspace | shot by Sacramento Street Heath Ceramics Creative Workspace | shot by Sacramento Street


Since moving to San Francisco almost 10 years ago I dreamed about having Heath Ceramics in my first home. I loved the classic lines, the aesthetic and most importantly, the fact that every single piece they create is made right here in the Bay Area. When I reached out to the Heath team about featuring their creative studio I was on pins and needles waiting to hear back. When I heard that Cathy Bailey – the owner of Heath was excited to meet, I was ecstatic. As I walked into the studio you could feel the creative energy. There were new designs being worked on, items that never went into production and shelves filled with pieces that dated back to when Heath was first born in 1948 by Edith Heath. I was in complete and total awe of my surroundings.


Today, I’m thrilled to bring you a tour of the Heath Ceramics studio where I had the pleasure of sitting down with Cathy Bailey to discuss the design process, how they look at trends and much more. Read on to get more of an inside look into their space.

 

Heath Ceramics Creative Workspace | shot by Sacramento StreetHeath Ceramics Creative Workspace | shot by Sacramento Street


1.) As a company that has been around for several years, do you find it difficult to keep up with the trends while also staying true to the company’s aesthetics that began over 60 years ago?


Since Robin and I bought the company in 2003, we’ve edited and expanded the Heath product line and brought it where it is today, but that’s been an organic process. It’s “on-trend” only in the sense that people today drink more coffee than they used to in 1947, so we designed a larger coffee mug while making sure that it still felt appropriate with the other shapes. What’s most important to us is that we honor the company’s roots and that we don’t change just for the sake of change. For example, in our core dinnerware line, I choose colors I believe will last for at least 10 years. That said, we also love exploring glaze colors and are excited to come out with some new colors that feel appropriate for the season twice a year. It’s a balance of using colors are feeling appropriate for the moment and keeping the core of what we do classic, not moving with short term trends.

Heath Ceramics Creative Workspace | shot by Sacramento Street Heath Ceramics Creative Workspace | shot by Sacramento Street

2.) Speaking of aesthetics, you are considered to be among the most enduring examples of mid century design. As your company grows, do you find it difficult to maintain the high level of quality while keeping costs low and continuing to work within the US?


We try to be really smart and efficient about how we do things without compromising the end product, and ultimately it costs what it costs. We do strive to be as transparent as possible so customers can see the time and labor that goes into making something seemingly simple, like a plate. There’s a lot of hand work/ labor in everything we make, it’s expensive to have factories in Sf and Sausalito, and we feel strongly that we pay a fair wage and provide health care for our employees. These factors dictate the price, we don’t compromise and we feel fortunate that our customers want to support what we are trying to do.

Heath Ceramics Creative Workspace | shot by Sacramento Street Heath Ceramics Creative Workspace | shot by Sacramento Street

3.) Can you tell us a little bit about the process of a ceramic piece from start to finish?


All our new ideas usually come out of our clay studio here in San Francisco. Tung Chiang, our studio director, constantly experiments with creating objects that embody the Heath sensibility, that push us forward while staying true to our history. Our candle holders that we launched last year were a result of those experiments. He starts with sketches, makes prototypes, puts them into CAD, and from there we create molds and we go through the making process— we form the clay with molds, we trim and finish the shapes by hand, glaze the pieces by hand, wipe the edges and feet, and then fire them for 9 hours in our kilns. The result goes through another sanding process and then to QC to determine if the piece is first quality and can be sold at any of our shops, or if it is a 2nd quality piece (most of our 2nds are sold at our Sausalito shop).

Heath Ceramics Creative Workspace | shot by Sacramento StreetHeath Ceramics Creative Workspace | shot by Sacramento Street


4.) After the ceramics are complete and ready to go, what’s the next step? How do you get the word out about new collections? (assuming the have some recent collections right aside from their old ones?)


We’re lucky in the sense that a lot of people who “get” Heath really love it, and we reach out directly to them through our newsletter and our social media. That’s really our favorite way of going about it, since it’s nice to feel connected to people buying our products. We also host factory tours so people can see how we make everything, and once people understand what goes on behind the scenes, it’s a great story for them to share. A lot of our bigger product launches are paired with some fun events, which we post on our website, and that’s been a great way for our products to come to life.


Heath Ceramics Creative Workspace | shot by Sacramento Street

5.) What would you recommend to a small business owner starting out?


Think about what you want your job to be. If you like throwing pots and you’re starting a ceramics business that you intend to grow, you’re probably not going to end up throwing pots because most of your time will need to be spent on things like human resources, marketing, accounting…and the list goes on. There is nothing worse than having to deal with accounts payable when your passion and skills lie in design. So make sure that you go into business doing what it is you enjoy doing, and partner with the right people to handle the other responsibilities (ideally the ones they want to focus on).


A huge thank you to the Heath Ceramics team for welcoming us into the creative workspace. It was incredibly inspiring!


Photos by Claire Giffen

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Workspace: Ashley Morgan Designs

Ashley Morgan Design Workspace | Sacramento Street 1

 

When you see a piece of Ashley Morgan’s jewelry your heart might skip a beat. I first had this experience when I was working at Erica Tanov in college. We got a handful of her pieces into the shop and like any shopgirl I was in awe of the beauty and details that went into her pieces. They are handcrafted here in San Francisco. When I reached out to Ashley about showcasing her beautiful work here on Sacramento Street she was excited to give us a glimpse into her jewelry box. Let me just say, I walked out of this shoot with a wish list of pieces that I want to add to my very own jewelry collection. Ashley’s creative eye for creating unique pieces for her clients is what sets her apart from other designers. Read on for a peek into Ashley Morgans stunning workspace.
 Ashley Morgan Design Workspace | Sacramento Street 2 Ashley Morgan Design Workspace | Sacramento Street 3


 1. What sparked you to begin Ashley Morgan Designs?


From a very young age, creating jewelry was a passion and something I knew I always wanted to pursue. However, I’d say that the catalyst and inspiration behind creating AMD, honestly started on the playground making personalized friendship bracelets for friends and family as a child. Jewelry has allowed me the path and forum to live out my dreams and explore through the creation of jewelry- it’s truly intertwined with who I am.

2. We love your passion for design and can see it shine through in your collections. What keeps you inspired?

 

Embracing the beauty of Nature and all of her magical moments is a strong source of inspiration; capturing a flower in all its glory as the sun casts a warm embrace, or the whimsical patterns neatly tucked inside an intricate spider’s web. My passion is to seek out the beauty found in the everyday; mindfully accepting the stunning images that dance before our eyes. It’s for this reason, my designs hold such honesty and vibrance. I chose each stone specifically because of the emotional response that I have seeing their raw nature and beauty. They are amulets that constantly reflect the beauty found in truth and the humbleness of strength. 

 

Ashley Morgan Design Workspace | Sacramento Street 4 Ashley Morgan Design Workspace | Sacramento Street 5

 

3. You have two adorable girls! How do you seem to balance your work and personal life?

 

On the days that I think I finally have it figured out, something happens that bring me back to the drawing board to try again. My priorities at this stage are very concrete: Family, Friends and Work. I am not one that strives to do it all [all the time], but the singular things that I do get involved in, I dedicate my entire self to. Being a mom is the most exciting gift. And while it’s true that my little ones might not have their hair perfectly brushed at every moment or in an outfit void of paint from an afternoon of drawing, they are happy. They are experiencing an innocence and sweetness of childhood that I consider most important and that makes me happy as a mom. Work is my time to experience what it is that excites and inspires me, and in turn, it’s what I’m teaching my children and channeling in our home!
 
4. For your custom pieces, does the inspiration for their jewelry come from the client or do you find unique stones and bring ideas to the client? (Or maybe it’s a mix of both!)

 

Its a mixture of both. By the time a project comes to fruition, it typically reflects a strong, personalized aesthetic of the individual client, highlighting those specific components that they conveyed were important to them in the design. Fine jewelry has an heirloom-like quality about them, so it is important that each client have a design that reflects their own story.

 

Ashley Morgan Design Workspace | Sacramento Street 6

 

 5. What is your all-time favorite stone to work with?

Hands down: TOURMALINE… I love the varietial flavoring of colors, textures, and imagery that’s distinct to each piece. Tourmalines are harder to control and therefore require that you come to know the stone inside and out before knowing what context they can be a part of.

 

6. When you’re not at work or at home with the kids, where can we find you?

 

I like staying active and taking advantage of all that the area has to offer. To relax the mind and body, you can typically find me engaging in any one of the amazing yoga classes from my favorite, inspiring instructors, or hiking the vast mountainous trails nearby. A family favorite also involves a trip to Chinatown or a fun day at any one of the incredible museums San Francisco so graciously offers up!

 

Ashley Morgan Design Workspace | Sacramento Street 7

A huge thank you to Ashley for letting us into her beautiful workspace – I’ll be dreaming of jewels tonight!
 
Photos by Caitlin Flemming
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Workspace: Madeline Weinrib

Madeline Weinrib | Sacramento Street

Madeline Weinrib’s design aesthetic holds a special place in my heart. I vividly remember the first time I came across Madeline’s stunning collection of rugs and fabrics in ABC Carpet & Home. It was my freshman year of college and my mom and I were on an inspiration trip in New York in the dead of winter – it was freezing. When we walked into ABC Home it was as though we had walked into a toy store at the age of three. Our jaws dropped. To begin with, one entire floor of the store had been converted into a red tent.  Women were invited to come to this reprieve for a rest from their hectic world. It was one of those moments that totally solidified that I have to work in a creative space. When I happened upon Madeline’s textiles and rugs I was in captivated – the colors, details, everything was so authentic and beautiful. From that day forward I knew that I wanted a little bit of Madeline Weinrib in any home I lived in or designed.


This fall, I was planning a trip to New York and I reached out to Madeline Weinrib about featuring her in this series – she jumped at the chance. I was over the moon and a little nervous. When I arrived at her 2,700 sq ft showroom on lower Fifth Avenue I was in awe. Friends, it was beyond what I had imagined – the rugs, textiles, pillows, and so many more goodies were being showcased that were out of this world. Quite honestly, I wanted to move right in. I was welcomed by Madeline and her assistants with open arms. To have the opportunity to hear the stories behind where theirinspiration comes from, where the fabrics are made and by whom, along with the history and evolution of her rug collection was one of my favorite design experiences to date. To hear things first hand from a woman I’ve admired for years was a once in a lifetime experience. As a designer it’s important to be inspired by other creative people and Madeline Weinrib is definitely at the top of my list. Her work is breathtaking.


Now, it’s time for you to get a glimpse into her beautiful showroom and studio and also get to know Madeline Weinrib herself from our lovely conversation.

Madeline Weinrib | Sacramento StreetMadeline Weinrib | Sacramento Street


I noticed you have a background in fine art and painting and later got involved in creating your carpets and fabrics.  How did your training as an artist help to form your aesthetic?


I initially approached textiles in the same way I approached painting. As a fine artist, it’s important to cultivate your own point of view and create a body of work that reflects your individual voice. This continues to be a very important aspect of my work to this day.


What motivated you to move into textiles as an art form?


I was represented by a gallery in Chelsea and exhibited my paintings regularly when I started experimenting with textiles. I was interested in textiles as a medium, but not fully committed. The more I worked with textiles the more my voice as an artist and point of view started to emerge. Eventually design took over from painting, but it was a slow process, not something that happened overnight.


Madeline Weinrib | Sacramento StreetMadeline Weinrib | Sacramento StreetMadeline Weinrib | Sacramento Street


I was first attracted to your design aesthetic because it seems like a perfect balance of traditional style with a more modern twist.  How do you manage to combine both?


Thank you, Caitlin, for recognizing this. From the beginning this has been a very important part of my creative process. As a designer, it’s my job to create designs that can be integrated into a variety of spaces and environments. This is an important distinction between being a painter and working in decorative arts.


My patterns are often inspired by traditional motifs, but by playing with the scale and color palette, I’m able to translate a familiar, traditional form into something completely new and fresh.


When you walked me through the process of producing your textiles and carpets from the start you were incredibly passionate about where they were produced. Can you tell us about your teams process from beginning a design to finding the right people to produce it.


There is no formal process – I do all of my own designing, and each of my designs evolves in a different way. Sometimes I have a concept in mind and I look for a particular type of fabric or material, and sometimes I discover a unique new material or process and then create the design that best showcases the raw components.


Madeline Weinrib | Sacramento StreetMadeline Weinrib | Sacramento StreetMadeline Weinrib | Sacramento Street


It’s amazing that you support these small communities and have seen them grow to love what they produce for you. Tell us a little bit about the relationships you’ve built with them throughout growing your business.


Part of my passion for designing textiles stems from the fact that it allows me to visit different countries and develop relationships with local artisans. This can be very challenging at the start when everything is unfamiliar and new, but over the years I’ve developed a dialogue and created strong bonds with the people I work with. You learn a lot about a culture by working alongside its people.


I also feel a great sense of responsibility towards the weavers – although I’m committed to working with them, the growing number of machine-made knockoffs are a real threat to their livelihood and the preservation of their craft.


Madeline Weinrib | Sacramento Street Madeline Weinrib | Sacramento Street


Where does your inspiration originate?


Travel is and always has been a big source of inspiration to me. I visit India, Morocco, and Turkey regularly, countries with rich visual histories and iconographies. The art and architecture are incredible, but they’re often very ornate and lack a modern sensibility. When I first started designing, I extracted motifs from the traditional art, objects, and architecture I discovered on my trips and translated them through my own contemporary lens to create some new and unique.


You and I both love to travel and find our inspiration from the places we go.  Where have you gone lately that has made an impact on your choices in design?


I went to the opening of the Venice Biennale this year with one of my best friends, who was the American curator. Venice is one of my favorite places to visit. It was one of the first European cities to trade with East, an influence that people often forget but that is evident in everything from Venetian architecture to the beautiful textiles, such as Fortuny. The dialogue between East and West has always inspired me and my work.


Madeline Weinrib | Sacramento Street 11jpg Madeline Weinrib | Sacramento Street 12


Where are you traveling to next?


I just traveled to India in late November. I be visited Mumbai and Jaipur for work, two cities that I visit often and have really grown to love. Mumbai has a wonderful urban energy, and Jaipur is a beautiful town, but it’s changing quickly and becoming more and more westernized.


Afterwards I took some time off to visit Darjeeling, which I had never visited before. This is the region where the Darjeeling tea originates and it’s filled with historic old plantations, perfect for R&R. There are a few more trips in the New Year on the horizon.


What are three essentials you find yourself bringing on each journey you take?


- iPhone/iPad – it’s funny that these are relatively new in my life, but I can’t imagine being without them, even for just a few days.


- Drawing Pad and pens


- Sunglasses


Madeline Weinrib | Sacramento Street 13Madeline Weinrib | Sacramento Street

Madeline Weinrib | Sacramento Street


What’s next for Madeline Weinrib? Do you have any new collaborations you are working on? I love what you’ve done with Barneys New York and Manolo Blahnik.


When it comes to collaborations, I prefer to consider them very carefully. I am working on a few new projects, which I’m very excited about, but I don’t want to say anything and jinx them. Experience has taught me that speaking too soon brings bad luck.


A huge thank you to Madeline for opening up her studio to us. It was such a special treat getting to meet her and be able to share her work space with Sacramento Street readers!


Photos by Caitlin Flemming

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Workspace: Margaret Elizabeth

Workspace: Meg from Margaret Elizabeth | Sacramento StreetWhen I first met Meg from Margaret Elizabeth four years ago we had tons in common. One major connection was trying to brainstorm how both of us could follow our dreams and take that leap into having our own businesses. We’d meet for lunches every month to discuss our plans, dreams and exit strategies. Now, both of us are on our own and we haven’t looked back. It’s amazing how your dreams can turn into a reality. That’s why today I’m honored to have her here today sharing her brand new workspace – it’s a beautiful shop here in San Francisco on Union Street. Her jewelry can be found across the country at tops stores, but seeing it all together in her new brick and mortar shop feels like a girls dream jewelry box.


I’m so proud of how Meg has built her business from her dorm room to now. She has successfully shown that following your gut and passion while staying true to her own style can build a brand women love and wear on a daily basis.


Read on for wonderful interview with the every so lovely Meg.


Workspace: Meg from Margaret Elizabeth | Sacramento Street

Tell us about Margaret Elizabeth Jewelry.

Margaret Elizabeth is wearable jewelry for the every woman. We aim to design pieces that are simple but chic…classic with a modern twist.


You worked at Google before deciding to take the leap and go full-time Margaret Elizabeth. Was it a hard decision to make?

It was a hard decision. It’s scary going from something so safe and corporate to something that doesn’t have much structure around it. I knew it was the right decision, but it’s nerve wracking taking the leap, becoming your own boss, and leaving something so secure. I love what I’m doing now and can’t imagine it any other way.


Workspace: Meg from Margaret Elizabeth | Sacramento Street

Workspace: Meg from Margaret Elizabeth | Sacramento Street

What inspires the pieces you design?

I’m so inspired by the sea, traveling, the intermix of unexpected shapes and textures, and the amazing stones we use in our pieces.


 I love that travel plays a key role in your inspiration. When you travel where do you look for inspiration?

Travel is probably my greatest source of inspiration. I love seeing the way things are done in other cultures – the way women dress, the role of certain objects and stylistic elements in home decor or customs. One of my favorite things about visiting other countries is taking in the colors of the place. Those colors often spill into my collections.

Workspace: Meg from Margaret Elizabeth | Sacramento StreetWorkspace: Meg from Margaret Elizabeth | Sacramento StreetWorkspace: Meg from Margaret Elizabeth | Sacramento Street


If you could pick one or a few Margaret Elizabeth essentials that you couldn’t live without, what would they be?

I love my Mira earrings and emerald cluster ring. I wear the ring almost every day and the Mira’s have become my go-to earring!


Let’s talk about your new workspace – you must be thrilled to have grown so much to have a brick and mortar on Union Street. What inspired you when dreaming up the space?

It has been so much fun designing and settling into our new space! I fell in love with how bright the studio is. We have this giant skylight that lets in the most lovely, warm light every day. I wanted it to feel bright, airy and crisp. The studio is just one big open room, which made hiding all of our back inventory and shipping supplies tricky. We ended up sectioning off the back corner with linen drapes, which has created a nice separation.


Workspace: Meg from Margaret Elizabeth | Sacramento Street

Workspace: Meg from Margaret Elizabeth | Sacramento StreetWorkspace: Meg from Margaret Elizabeth | Sacramento Street

Did you always dream of having your own store?

I have! I’ve always thought it would be so much fun to have a space to sell our pieces and meet our customers. It’s been amazing getting to see the women who wear our jewelry on a daily basis! Totally beats meeting them via email.


I know you’ve just opened the store but what’s next for Margaret Elizabeth? Any collaborations? New stores we can find you in?

We have so much in the works! We’re working on a few fun collaborations that we have to stay hush-hush on for now – but we will be sure to let you know when we can! We’re also going to be starting a monthly event series with other local designers. We’ve got a flower arranging class coming up in November with Sacramento Street’s “Blooms in Season” contributor, Natalie Bowen that I think is going to be a blast!

Workspace: Meg from Margaret Elizabeth | Sacramento StreetWorkspace: Meg from Margaret Elizabeth | Sacramento Street

One last note, if you could give a piece of advice to others starting their own business or jewelry line what would it be?

It sounds so cliché, but I think if you follow your passion and do what you love, great things will happen. My biggest piece of advice would be to stay true to yourself and your aesthetic.


A HUGE thank you to Meg for letting us tour her workspace today. It’s quite an inspiration for all of our own offices!


Photos by Caitlin Flemming

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Workspace: The Podolls

The Podolls | Sacramento StreetWith New York Fashion Week just a few days away I’m excited to bring you a little slice of fashion here. I met The Podolls about five years ago when I worked at Erica Tanov. I remember when they first started out with their organic cotton t-shirts – let’s just say, all of us were obsessed with the graphics. Fast forward to now and the Lauren and Josh Podoll have made a huge name for themselves in the ready-to-wear industry. Who doesn’t love silk pants in stunning prints? Or blouses you can throw on with a pair of jeans and feel put together. They have created an effortless line that carries you through from one season to the next.


The Podolls | Sacramento StreetThe Podolls | Sacramento Street 1


I was thrilled to have the chance to sit down with both Lauren and Josh to hear about the two masterminds behind the brand. Photographing their beautiful workspace was so inspiring – I wanted to walk away with everything in sight.


1. What inspires your work and how is that manifested in your workspace?

One of our favorite things about our studio is the garden access. The home office is small but has double doors to the deck and garden for moments when we need to take a break to ground ourselves, or brainstorm without the buzz of computers and cell phones in our faces. The greatest ideas often pop up when you allow yourself some time to relax, breathe and be quiet.


2. How would you describe your style and brand?

The Podolls has been making handcrafted garments here in the USA since 2004. We have remained committed to sustainability and our motto is ‘tread lightly on the earth without sacrificing the delight of creativity.’  We aim to design versatile, modern silhouettes that fit well, last a long time and bring the wearer some joy. Textiles are an obsession of ours and we choose natural fibers, often hand spun and hand woven, to make our clothing. We design our own prints every season to create supple sand washed silk dresses, tops and pants, which have become a signature. The woman we design for is discerning, conscious, and young at heart.


The Podolls | Sacramento Street 33. What is your favorite piece of decor in your workspace?

Lauren: The Astier de Villatte white owl who watches over us.

Josh: Our Dan Attoe painting.


4. How was the transition from an out-of-home studio, to an in-home office?

It was a bit challenging at first to down size from our spacious studio in the Dogpatch, but ultimately we embraced the practicality of working from home with a young baby. We miss that space and how it enabled us to separate work and home life but appreciate how a home office supports flexible hours around Dashiell’s schedule. In reality, when you have your own business you’re always working anyway and there’s a great deal of overlap between work and home.


The Podolls | Sacramento StreetThe Podolls | Sacramento Street

5. How has living in San Francisco influenced your career?

A huge influence! We met here, started our line here, and continue to manufacture the collection here. The Bay Area has such a long history of entrepreneurship and is generally super supportive of local businesses. There must be something in the water here that supports such amazing innovation in technology, food, design, etc. We just feel fortunate to be part of such a thriving creative community.


6. What do you want people take away from your design and your brand as a whole?

The ultimate goal is making our customers feel comfortable, confident and happy in our clothes. We try to make effortless, beautiful garments that simplify dressing rather than complicate it. Life provides plenty of challenges; getting dressed doesn’t need to be one of them!


The Podolls | Sacramento StreetThe Podolls | Sacramento Street

7. What is your design process like? How do you begin and bring your ideas to life?

For us, the design process doesn’t have any set parameters. We might be inspired by a trip to Kyoto (Spring 2011) or a visit to the textile collection at the Deyoung (Fall 2013.) We also like to hang out and people watch at interesting cafes like Intelligentsia on Sunset in LA or The Mill on Divisadero in SF. We’re very inspired by street fashion and the way people put themselves together.


8. Aside from your office, is there anywhere you go to get inspired and get work done?

When we’re starting to design a new collection we love to step out of the office and visit a museum or botanical garden or simply take a long drive together and brainstorm. Inspiration truly is everywhere. It helps to create space for it to strike.


The Podolls | Sacramento StreetThe Podolls | Sacramento Street

9. What have you learned from being small business owners? Do you have any advice for people who are just starting out?

The value of perseverance! Stay focused on your own ideas and goals and as cliché as it sounds, believe in yourself.


10. What are your future plans or dreams for the future?

We’ve been dreaming for awhile about opening our own retail store for The Podolls and we’re happy to announce it’s coming true! We just signed on a space in Burlingame and are in the midst of the build-out. We’re so excited about this new chapter for our brand. The brick & mortar store will give us an opportunity to interact with our fans directly and merchandise our collection the way we envision it. And there are a few other fun projects in the works scheduled to coincide with the opening . . . think childrens’ wear and collaborations and exclusives. Come visit us in October for the grand opening!

 

A big thank you to The Podolls for letting us get a glimpse of their workspace. If you live in the Bay Area be sure to keep an eye out for when their store opens this October!


Photos by Caitlin Flemming

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