ALICIA MATHEWS
ALICIA MATHEWS
 

Kristin McKinney

Jackman Jewels, East Nashville, TN

 Photo: Ashley Wilson

Photo: Ashley Wilson

 
 

"WHEN YOU'RE CREATIVE, YOU'RE VULNERABLE. YOUR CREATION IS AN EXTENSION OF WHO YOU ARE. NATURALLY, AS HUMANS, WE'RE AFRAID OF WHAT PEOPLE ARE GOING TO SAY, OR THAT THEY WON'T LIKE IT. YOU JUST HAVE TO GET TO A PLACE WHERE IT DOESN'T HOLD YOU BACK FROM CREATING. THE CULTURE IN NASHVILLE SUPPORTS INDIVIDUAL CREATIVITY. YOU HAVE TO BE WILLING TO GET UP ON THAT STAGE AND DO WHAT YOU DO." - Kristin McKinney, Jackman Jewels

Kristin McKinney, designer of the East Nashville collection, Jackman Jewels moved from Washington to Nashville 7 years ago while managing a rock & roll band. Prior to her move, she spent some time in corporate America before transitioning into a more creative work environment. Once she arrived in Nashville, it took very little time for her to see that she was free of the shackles that bound her to being a specific person or dressing a certain way.

"THE PERSON I WAS 7 YEARS AGO BEFORE I MOVED HERE WITH THE BAND, IS NOT THE PERSON I AM TODAY."

Upon her arrival, many aspects of Kristin's life began to tie together. She came into her own style and began working with different types of people, learning to play instruments and designing jewelry. Kristin's journey with jewelry-making began with her love of bold, unique statement pieces that were otherwise expensive to purchase. After spending time with a friend who was willing to show her tips and techniques, she began to design her first pieces. Kristin's training in jewelry-making is limited to a couple wire-wrapping classes at Red Dog Beads in East Nashville, and a YouTube video here and there, but her pieces speak volumes of her raw talent and eye for a beautiful design - no formal training necessary here. 

Growing up, she felt as though people boxed her in as being a certain type of person and made her feel that she didn’t have any creative talent. Because of that, she never allowed herself to explore her creative side. Now, she describes her work at Jackman Jewels as a “safe place.”

“It’s hard to let go and allow yourself to be free and know that it’s ok to make mistakes. What you make is a reflection of you and it doesn’t have to be a reflection of anyone else. There are no comparisons to other artists or designers. It’s a little safe place. Sometimes I wake up thinking about a design and say, ‘What? Am I actually designing something? That’s so wEIRD!’”

But it’s not weird at all. After moving to Nashville, Kristin became inspired by all of the creative people around her, who while being creatives themselves, made an effort to support the creative efforts of others. Nashville has afforded her the opportunity to tap into her artistic nature, something she may have never done in in her hometown.

"CREATIVITY COMES WHEN IT'S TIME. IT'S BEING COURAGEOUS ENOUGH TO LEAVE THE LIFE THAT YOU KNOW AND ALL OF THE AMAZING THINGS THAT COME FROM THAT. Surrounding yourself with people who are inspired to create makes you want to create something too!"

The beauty of Kristin's design process is that it's never perfect. Kristin's designs can sometimes change four or five times before the final version of the piece, but there are always the tiny flaws that give the pieces a "cool factor". 

"A lot of people think that beaded necklaces are really simple - and it is really simple to put the beads on a tray and string them, but it's not as easy to put them together in the righT ways - the shapes, sizes, colors and textures of the beads. Every now and then, I nail it the first time!"

Kristin’s personal style is cool, with a rock & roll edge and she always dresses with a statement. All of the pieces are designed with this style in mind. At Jackman Jewels you will find beautiful, unique, bold, Southwestern designs that are detailed but not dainty, drawing all eyes to the central piece. She especially enjoys working with African beads, turquoise, leather and the natural stone pieces her friends collect for her while traveling.

In addition to her personal style, Kristin looks to music and the surrounding culture for inspiration. She would love to see artists who resonate with her personal brand wearing Jackman Jewels on stage.

"A bold artist with a certain level of confidence (think Michelle Branch) would look great in Jackman Jewels. It has to be an artist with a specific voice who can carry the free-spirited vibE."

The name “Jackman Jewels” came to her mind one day as she was walking through Shelby Park. She was reflecting on her childhood and the lives of her parents. Her business did not yet have a name, so she decided to name it after her father Jack, the colonel of her family, in hopes to use her business to give back to them for all they’ve done.

In the coming months Kristin plans to continue honing in on her designs and brand while exploring more opportunities in retail locations as well as wardrobing opportunities with local artists. You can shop her designs on her Etsy page at the link below!