Variation and Heath Tile go hand-in-hand. We rate each of our glazes with a number, indicating its likelihood to exhibit a range of texture and tone. A low variation rating (1 or 2) means that the glaze is fairly consistent. Glazes with a high variation (3, 4, 5, or 5+) show very high tonal and hue shifts. These shifts can be from one tile to the next; they can also be within a single tile.
For glazes with a variation of 3, 4, 5, or 5+ it is recommended to order several samples of the same glaze to accurately depict the effect the variation will have on the installation. No matter high or low, all variation is worthy of celebration.
At Heath, we offer two clay bodies: white and brown (also referred to as Manganese). Each has distinct characteristics, including the amount they shrink during firing. In general, we do NOT recommend using two different clay bodies in a single installation, since the differences between the two may unnecessarily complicate the installation process.
Additionally, the clay body plays an important role in giving character to the tile. Depending on the translucency of the glaze, a white clay body provides a neutral background for the glaze itself and emphasizes the color variation. For other glazes, the brown clay body imparts an earthier richness.
We are currently prototyping a third clay body, Recycled, which is made from glaze and clay scraps generated during the manufacturing process. It is available with select glazes in the Stan Bitters collection.
Most glazes are either matte or glossy, but we have a small assortment of glazes in textured matte, unglazed, and glossy crackle finishes. The finish can have an impact on the installation — for instance, we recommend sealing textured matte, glossy crackle, and unglazed tiles both before and after grouting.
The finish of a glaze is a result of its chemistry and formulation. For that reason, it's not possible to take a glaze color and change its finish.
Thanks for asking. Since 1967, when Edith Heath, forever tinkering, began cutting shapes into extruded sheets of clay. This experiment became Heath Tile. Over the years, we’ve upgraded some machinery and continued improving the making process, however every single piece of our tile is made right here in San Francisco, California.