I can’t remember exactly when I met Jessica, but when we did, we instantly clicked. Jessica McMahon, 34, is brilliant. She is so extremely talented and hard working, and she’s a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the fashion industry and beyond (she’s a Designer AND a Professor). I always love when I get to catch up with her. Jessica and her hubby, Jason, own Brass Thread, which is an incredible accessories project. Their work is handmade and absolutely beyond stunning and unique. I want everything they make. Enjoy reading below all about Jessica, Brass Thread, her favorite piece she’s made, who she’d love to have lunch with, and more.
How long has Brass Thread been around?
About 3 years.
What inspired you to launch Brass Thread?
Brass Thread happened when Jason (my husband) and I were on a trip to Mexico and were admiring some hand-beaded Huichol sculptures. I wanted a more wearable and sparkly version, but that did not exist. So, combining my apparel and accessory background and Jason’s fine jewelry background, it took us about 6 months to initially develop a process to create this. The process has developed further over time and we absolutely love what the pieces have become and represent. We create necklaces and now tabletop miniatures as well! They are gorgeous!
Have you always been interested in designing jewelry? If not, when did you realize this is what you wanted to do?
I have always been interested in design in general. All of it. My degree is a BFA from Pratt Institute where I majored in Fashion Design. So, my background is really heavy in textile and apparel but my husband is a jeweler and jewelry designer and has taught me a lot about that medium. I love everything tactile.
How would you describe Brass Thread?
Brass Thread is luxury, it is quirky, it is symbolic, and it is art.
Who is the Brass Thread customer?
The Brass Thread customer is anyone who falls in love with living life.
What is your favorite part about your job? Most rewarding? Most challenging?
I love that I am able to do what I love. I work in an industry that I have loved since I can remember and I never have a “bad day at work”. The most challenging part can be prioritizing and delegating. Sometimes you want to do everything and do it all at once. You have to figure out how to alleviate that in order to make yourself more efficient and successful. I will also add, that I absolutely love teaching and find it extremely rewarding to be able to guide young emerging designers on to having successful careers.
What’s your favorite Brass Thread piece and why?
Omg, this question is HARD!!! I do not think I have a favorite in particular, as they all have meaning to me and every time one gets finished, I think that is my favorite, lol. However, I just finished an amazing tabletop miniature elephant piece that is the largest piece I have ever beaded and it is beautiful. It is inspired by a combination of the painted and jeweled elephants (photo below).
Walk us thru a day in your life.
My day is always different. One day is never the same from the last. That is what it is like to own your own business. Some standards in my day are always quality time with my husband, Jason and 2 dogs, Audrey and Annabelle. I bike ride for at least 30-45 min per day. Everything else is a toss up! Some days I teach at HCC, some days I teach at The Glassell Junior School (MFAH) and I run Brass Thread with Jason all the time. We are either doing product development, producing, marketing, or just running the business. There is never a dull moment. Oh! And I definitely make friend and shopping time!
What advice would you give someone wanting to break into your industry?
Know the industry. Be well researched and knowledgeable. Understand what the industry is doing right now, what it will be doing in the future, and what it can do better than it did in the past. Make sure your skills reflect your knowledge.
What inspires you?
Color, art, texture, movement. Anything with passion.
What motto/quote do you always try to live by?
“Everything will be ok in the end. If it’s not ok, it’s not the end.”
If you could get a meal or drinks with one person, alive or not, who would it be and why (and what meal would you get with them)?
This is hard! Hmmmmmm…….This answer probably changes yearly. Right now I would say, I would want to get a meal with Vivienne Westwood and we would be eating fish & chips in the UK! She was my style icon growing up and I want to know everything. I would love to know the details of what it was like designing at a time where you were able to start a movement in the fashion industry.
See past interviews here.
If you or someone you know might be a good fit for this series, reach out to me. I’d love to hear from you!Leave a Comment