Education Fuels Creative Life
For Alum Lynn Montes
Montes '71 (A.A., Fine Arts) taps into her artistic sensibilities
regularly in both her professional and personal life. As a
bathroom designer, she facilitates design and installation
projects for Grant Supplies' Elegant Bath & Kitchen Shoppe
in Pleasantville, NJ. Her creative life outside the store
includes fabric weaving, photography, painting and more.
In her "day job," Montes is an integral part of
the design and sales team, working with plumbers and builders
to assist customers with the selection of fixtures, vanities
and countless other details. Her goal is to create functional,
intimate spaces that reflect individual style and personality.
"I do everything from the initial design and selection
to the follow-through of ordering and shipping material,"
Montes said. "I've painted murals for Kohler Company
and other manufacturers and have gained much technical knowledge
in this industry through the years."
Montes' entrée into the bathroom design field began
as a lark. Starting out 25 years ago as a receptionist for
L&H Plumbing Supply Company on the Jersey Shore, she soon
became a jack of all trades. Each day, when clients approached
her with questions, she found herself drawing on the principles
she had learned as a Fine Arts major at Mercer County Community
College, from which she graduated in 1971.
MCCC, I was taught by artists who were celebrated in the art world
- Mel Leipzig and Larry White, to name just two," she said.
"They not only fueled my creativity, but helped me perfect
my techniques and present my work in a clean and professional manner."
She notes that her field combines presentation with technical aspects
of the arts. "It's all about taking my client's vision and
translating it into something that realistically works in their
desired space. This enables me to be creative all day long, seeing
a project through to completion."
For Montes, MCCC was her educational bedrock. She fondly remembers
the Trenton campus of the late 1960s on State Street. "We had
some really fun times hanging out at the Old Hildebrant Hotel lounge,
having band practice at the War Memorial Building, and intermingling
with students around the city. I will cherish those memories forever,"
Upon graduating from Mercer, Montes went on to Moore College of
Art to study printmaking, photography and graphic design. Then she
worked for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
in Trenton, designing signs, magazine covers and ads. Her road signs
are still in use today. She also worked as a painter for Boehm Porcelains,
among other jobs.
Her entrepreneurial spirit and budding passion for fashion design
led Montes to launch Chrysalis in 1973, a home-based fabric-weaving,
artwork and photography enterprise that she continues to operate
today in her studio in Delaware City, DE.
Her personal style reflects her out-of-the-box aesthetic. A race
car and motorcycle enthusiast, Montes may choose to wear pearls
and Prada motorcycle boots when she hits the road.
She credits MCCC with being a springboard for her spirited life
and providing her a well-rounded educational experience. "Who
would have thought that a non-Euclidian math course that I took
at Mercer would help me in warping my loom today?" she said.
"Mercer professors gave me the key to unlock the door to a
lifetime of endless possibilities."
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