Words by Ashley Herrin
Photos by Jenn Bakos and Ashley Herrin
We arrived at the Myrth Ceramics studio one Saturday morning in late February. Ourselves having risen early for a previous photography job that largely kept us in the chilly threshold of a New England winter morning, were more than eager to step indoors and witness the creative magic that is Myrth.
Our journey took us to 119 BSR, a familiar building in Allston that houses a bounty of creative talent. Abby, one-third of the Myrth team greeted us in the lobby and whisked us away to the pottery studio upstairs. We stepped foot into the white-walled and airy space that Myrth calls home and were immediately overjoyed. A photographer’s dream; every nook and cranny was packed with visual stimulation and we couldn’t wait to document it.
We were instantaneously drawn to Myrth Ceramics after receiving their submission back in February for this issue. As Abby described in her email; “morning is our time for quiet and contemplation and then creation. The repetition we find in our creative process, especially that of throwing, is meditative and soothing.” This was exactly the feature we were hoping to bring forth to our readers.
Myrth is a collaborative of three Boston-based creative professionals; husband and wife Abigail & Eric Smallwood and Beth Connolly. The team began throwing a few years ago in a small South End community studio – it served as their temporary release from the hectic work schedule and chaos of life. Over time, they grew to love throwing and the hobby turned into an idea, and eventually, the idea into a business. Today, Myrth Ceramics has taken roots in Allston and within the greater Boston community. Their line of modern hand-thrown stoneware vessels have already established a presence on the shelves in a handful of shops across Boston, with a handful more already slated to be added to their stockist list this year.
The beauty of the team is found in their impeccable work-life balance… something that I, like a lot of people, am constantly striving to perfect. I was amazed, and also delighted to learn that Abby, Eric and Beth all held full-time jobs in the Boston creative industry – and those jobs were not at Myrth Ceramics. Like most, they held regular nine-to-fives that usually turned into nine-to-six (or seven) jobs. Myrth was their creative outlet. Their studio was their oasis from life’s chaos whenever life allowed. They were weeknight and weekend warriors. And I was totally in awe... as if I had stumbled upon the mythological unicorn. (As a brief departure, and to explain my “awe”, I must admit that as a full-time Art Director at a Boston advertising agency who only has time on week nights and weekends to make t.e.l.l. a reality, I was SO happy to find that I was not the only one. This actually IS possible.)
When the team has spare time to spend in the studio, they savor every minute. And, weekends are usually their favorite. They arrive early in the morning and will spend all day in their space. Together, they share a warm cup of coffee or tea, hearty conversation and indulge in the creative journey.
As we hovered around the team snapping photos and documenting the process as they sat at the wheel, we couldn’t help but notice just how calming and soothing making ceramics truly looks. In a world where we are constantly adjusting, being pushed and mentally taxed, the practice of throwing clay – where one can mold, shape and form at their will, is a necessary departure from everyday life.
For Beth, Eric and Abby of Myrth Ceramics, most mornings in New England are spent within the peace and quiet of their pottery studio, fulfilling a few more orders or experimenting with a few new vessels before hurrying out the door to work. Tucked away from it all, finding meditation in the repetition that is their creative process, even if only for a few, perfectly serene minutes.