I [Kimberly] consider myself one lucky person as the stars aligned and multiple folks directed me to consider hiring and working with this lovely human when I was searching for a studio assistant. I remember (last year, pretty much to the date) how calm and quiet Genevieve was (first time meeting anyone I too was like this) but that just meant I should be careful what I say! Because, hey, us listeners... oye, we hear everything! Especially the words not even said. [Wiggles eyebrows] Genevieve was obviously and purely excited about constant learning and the creative world. I recall her sharing her natural tendency to clean and tidy and then I was suddenly all, go on, tell me more....
But more than her good habits, I loved hearing how Genevieve is a constant learner because this is the rule I go by in life. (Ex-environmental design architects be hard to quit that research/learning life.) To challenge oneself, to learn from failures, and keep going is a big yes for me. In some ways I love to fail as much as I love to reach my goals because you gain so much knowledge from those failings. Plus, Genevieve also aspires to continue to help others through her creative endeavors. Which told me she was a caring person. It wasn't so much the words spoken, but how they unfolded naturally since it was just an initial meeting. With nearly a full year of officially working together under our belts, I can attest to all of these initial assumptions I gathered of Genevieve to be true. But more than that, she's also funny, thoughtful, adores animals, and has good ethics and drive in life. I have zero doubts for her creative contributions to our world.
So thankful to have Genevieve be a part of the Porcelain and Stone story.
This is her interview!
Tell us a little about yourself and your practice
Hey, I'm Genevieve Montante! I recently completed my BFA in Metalsmithing from MassArt, and now I'm a jeweler for Porcelain and Stone! I think of my own work as wearable sculpture. I make narrative pieces that pair silver with more unexpected media - like moss or concrete. I love to incorporate fiber techniques in metal, like weaving, knitting and lacemaking in steel wire.
What did you do before working with Porcelain and Stone?
Before PS I was working at SoWa’s Bead and Fiber (still am part time!) and teaching in Boston public schools. I've been a student, a gallery attendant, a kindergarten teacher, a bench jeweler- and those experiences have really shaped the person I'm growing into, and the work that I'm making.
When did you start and what motivated you to join PS?
I started at Porcelain and Stone soon after graduating from MassArt in 2019 - pretty close to one year! Coming to Porcelain and Stone was a spontaneous leap of faith that grew into a really amazing job. Working in creative spaces has been fundamental to my growth as a maker, and after my first interview with Kimberly, it sounded like I would be learning a LOT if I started at PS, which was true! Being there has given me opportunities to improve the skills I came in with, and also learn about mediums entirely new to me.
What has been the biggest challenge for you so far?
The biggest challenge has been working in porcelain! I had minimal experience with wheel thrown ceramics, and I had made one pinch pot, so I had no idea what I was getting into until I started shadowing Kimberly around the studio. Every style of our jewelry at PS is unique, and learning to work with the porcelain to make each of them the right way was both challenging and rewarding.
Since starting, what are you most proud of in your work at PS?
I'm most proud of overcoming my anxiety in the studio. Coming in I felt strongly about my ability as a metalsmith, but the porcelain worried me. I felt like I wouldn't be good enough right away, and I wasn’t, but with time and practice I got there. I'm happy I didn't let insecurity get the better of me.
Tell us about your personal creative inspirations! What are you working on now, or hope to in the future?
Obviously right now is a weird time, and my practice has moved to my couch. I had been collecting early black and white photography and some tintypes from the late 1800’s - I'm working on creating narrative pieces to give the people photographed a ‘second life’ together through the pictures they've left behind. Now I'm sketching instead of making, and I've been giving more time to other projects I wouldn't normally work on - like getting a lot better at brick stitch beading, a skill I didn't anticipate picking up this spring.
I'm so inspired by my environments, wherever they may be, and the people I come across in them. A lot of my work comes out of conversations with acquaintances and fuzzy memories, narrating the complex relationships between people, place and self. I grew up split between the suburbs of Philadelphia, and the Pocono Mountains in Northern PA, and those childhood memories help flesh out my understanding of duality, and the impact our environment has on our perception of reality.
Find more of Genevieve’s work on instagram @gem_montante