Originally from an idyllic lakefront town in Vermont, Kimberly Huestis is now based in Boston, MA, where she carefully creates her beautiful line of sculptural, nature-inspired fine jewelry called Porcelain And Stone.
WHERE DID YOU ATTEND SCHOOL AND WHAT DID YOU STUDY?
I attended Wellesley College and MIT. I studied Architecture and French Cultural Studies at Wellesley and did my architecture studio classes at MIT. Professionally, I worked as a 3D Mulitmedia Visualizations Developer (3D graphics/animation). I then worked as a design architect for about four years, while also transitioning to being a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Accredited Professional.
Worked on a tech-startup out of Cambridge related to food and ventured into the world of chocolate making as part of my research in the food industry... which only lead me to awesome conversations with our wholesale clients that were just starting their businesses. Probably the best thing I loved about working at a small-batch chocolate factory that was scaling: talking with all of our lovely customers about how their businesses were doing! As you can imagine, this was all just a great reminder about how I was choosing to not do certain things in my life... yet.
WHAT WERE YOU LIKE AS A CHILD GROWING UP? HOW HAS THIS INFORMED YOUR CREATIVE ENDEAVORS?
I was a secretly chatty and hyper little kid. Fast and clumsy, goofy but publicly quiet as I liked to observe. I loved to explore and figure things out. If it wasn't hammering a rock to see what was inside, it was hunting for nails around our newly built house to collect for building my own little "club house." Strangely, I have always been a rule follower, but when it comes to creativity or invention I don't mind thinking outside of the box and trying to do something just to see if it works.
HOW DID YOU COME TO START YOUR OWN LINE OF JEWELRY?
I started making jewelry a long time ago after I had terrible reactions to certain types of jewelry growing up (i.e. nickel!!). I like something that looks a little different than mainstream, but also represents my aesthetic. So, after decades of not being able to really wear jewelry all that much, I kind of released my stubborn avoidance of making jewelry as a profession and have been surprisingly happy!
WHAT ARE YOU INSPIRED BY IN THE CREATION OF EACH PORCELAIN & STONE PIECE?
I am mainly inspired by the clay itself. I love a good chance to show off it's strength and what others expect out of ceramic jewelry (if at all). Porcelain has an amazing strength compared to many of the other ceramic clay bodies. This high-fired strength bodes well for clumsy people like myself. Other inspirations come from nature and nautical life... as a long-time recovering Vermonter, the ocean waves and what's underneath our vast bodies of water seem beautiful and fascinating.
WHAT IS YOUR DESIGN PROCESS WHEN YOU DEVELOP A COLLECTION?
Sometimes it's just as simple as assigning myself a topic that interests me and I know little about... for example. Seaweed! Love to eat it, used to get teased about having it as a kid when I had it packed in my school lunches; but, it is full of motion and quite beautiful when it is in the water; and there are so many varieties. So, my mind might go off on a tangent like this and I'll begin to sketch out ideas and conceptual movement. But, very quickly I might transition to another stylized concept just from looking at my sketches and refining it. I used to do the same when I was a kid and would not look at the paper, scribble some mess... and then pull out a picture from the mess. Most of the time my design process is very intentional probably because it's somewhat fun to dictate how you perceive something should be presented.
"The jewelry lines I make are usually very sculptural, so I love to push them to be more of a simple and elegant statement piece. Essentially, the body acts as the gallery display for the jewelry."
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF AND PORCELAIN & STONE IN A FEW YEARS?
I see myself still heavily involved with Porcelain and Stone... until. I. die. :) I fancy it growing to be much more like a design house. Because I love working together with others, my hope is that I'll eventually find a few other obsessives like myself who want to own and express their own line of ceramic related items: kitchen, living, decorative. This also excites me, but there is a long way to go!
YOU PRODUCE ALL OF YOUR WORK IN SMALL-BATCHES, LOCALLY. WHATS DOES THIS MEAN TO YOU AND THE BRAND? WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES?
It means a lot to me to be able to have a hands-on aspect of a produced jewelry item. The common, if not overly trite saying goes, "each one is unique and one of a kind!" For me, I really push to be able to make it handmade... but quite reliably similar. That is most likely the little factory inside of me that I would call a perfectionist.
The advantages to working in small-batches is that I am not over-producing and I can turn-around products rather quickly because I can swap in/out what might be ready for a couple of firings. Disadvantages? My ability to turn-around an item quickly for shipping might not seem as fast as say... factory produced on a larger scale. But, regardless of this disadvantage, I am technically reminded by my LLC that I am officially considered a manufacturer. I do things differently. It may be a naive matter of pride. :)
WHO ARE SOME OF THE DESIGNERS AND ARTISTS YOU ADMIRE?
An Architect that studied as an Engineer that I love is Santiago Calatrava. I happen to really love bridge design, for their functional beauty and awesome strength. I admire that he always had a sculptural side to him and chose a more structured academic life with engineering and then married his two interests through his architectural works. Perhaps this sounds like most architects and their backgrounds, but alas... he is my favorite.
WHAT'S YOUR MANTRA?
"Everything is a choice. Choose to do something, choose not to do something. But you are choosing your actions, reactions, and feelings every day."
FINALLY, AN IDEAL DAY IN YOU TOWN ALWAYS INCLUDES THESE FEW THINGS:
Hmmm, an ideal day. Running into someone I know! Usually a wonderful black cup of coffee is in hand. I happen to be a fan of a warm rainstorm or a perfect setting sun while catching the last few miles of a run in for the day.