In an era of fast-moving technology, Heather and Myles Geyman are throwbacks, practicing a craft that is literally ancient. The couple is the husband and wife team behind STAK Ceramics, a Sharpsburg-based pottery design studio known for its household items–sold nationwide–that are both contemporary and functional. Not to mention beautiful.
Married in 2013, the Geymans are both alumni of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, but it was Pittsburgh that brought them together.
Myles was working as a sales engineer at Tri-Arc in Blawnox. “I was a product designer, very engineering-based, more problem-solving than artistic, and I wanted something more art-based,” he says. “I needed a hobby, so I bought a couple kilns off Craigslist and taught myself to make molds using YouTube videos.”
Heather had a studio in Penn Hills and the supplier to both thought they’d work well together. He set up a meeting for them, and so began a working partnership in 2011 followed by a wedding soon after.
Their business name, STAK, is also a Pittsburgh-based creation. “It was inspired by the houses on the South Side Slopes, buildings all stacked on top of one another,” Heather says. “Building stacks, smokestacks, and plates stack.”
Though they share a profession–along with two basset hounds–their approaches to the work are quite different. “Myles has a thousand ideas a day,” Heather says of her husband who is in charge of product development. “He just spews ideas on Post-It notes, napkins, graph paper. He has so many ideas, it doesn’t give me space in my brain to have ideas! But I stew on my ideas for a long time before I share them.”
Heather is the craftsman. One of their most successful ideas has been a series of phone docks. Myles did the initial design, and Heather then developed a desk caddy that incorporated the original dock. They’ve since expanded the idea to a kitchen caddy that’s part utensil holder, part tablet stand for easy recipe reference.
Also popular are Heather’s handcrafted sugar and creamer sets and small planters. “Heather is very good at coming up with designs that are timeless, like modern with a story behind it,” Myles says. “Realistically, our styles aren’t the same in any way, but it seems to work.”
The couple’s designs can be found in shops all over the US and Canada, from San Francisco to Providence to Edmonton. Their pieces are available at Anthropologie.com and West Elm, though they prefer selling through smaller, independent boutiques.
Locally, STAK products are available at Wildcard in Lawrenceville, The Shop in East Liberty, and the Warhol Museum shop.
The Geymans will be exhibiting at the Three Rivers Arts Festival this summer and plan to participate in the NY NOW trade show in August.
While Myles says he’d love to someday sell his designs to other companies, Heather has other ideas. “I have no interest in industrial scale,” she says. “I always want to be making stuff by hand.”