Jasmine Parks is #MadeForKnoxville.

Honoring her inner child’s imagination, Jasmine is making things “for the joy of beauty and the sake of fun.” She seeks to invite others into a space of solace with her as she navigates the chaos of the world and finds healing through art and play. Whether she is designing a handmade piece of jewelry or a room in your home, Jasmine seeks to stay rooted in the grounding practice of creating. 

For the first few years of her life, Jasmine didn’t realize she was an entrepreneur. She doesn’t come from an entrepreneurial family and didn’t know the business terms for her propensity to create independent ventures until adulthood. It wasn’t until she began pursuing a Master’s in Architecture that Jasmine realized her need to create out of a search for solace and community. She feeds this need through Childlike Creative, an online shop to sell creations of her own–including hair clips and jewelry, handmade cards, and styling and design services. Jasmine’s motivations as an artist are to create an environment for herself to heal, process the world, and provide a space for others to do the same. 

“Any act of creativity or making something for the world is an act of vulnerability.”

In Their Own Words…

Childlike Creative was created by me, Jasmine “Jaz” Parks–transdisciplinary and multi-medium artist and current Master of Architecture candidate at the University of Tennessee. I am very influenced and inspired by children and how they navigate and negotiate life, experimenting and responding to everything. Kids are wise, candid, honest, bold, and they believe they can do anything and be anything or anyone. I admire their resilience, reliance on intuition, and playful experimentation and simple discovery of what it is like to be a human in the world through questioning and doing. My undergraduate degree in Child and Family Studies coupled with my first Master’s degree in Philosophy have resulted in an interesting personal and professional approach to making. Childlike Creative is the manifestation of both my personal ethos for making and the name of this shop and brand I have created.

Born out of my terrible experience in graduate school for architecture, I constantly feel like my experience is one of transitioning between constant chaos and retreating into spaces of solace each day as I approach the final year of my program. I started to notice this pattern of spaces in which I felt unsafe versus the areas I would hide away in for moments of reprieve. I am observing what those spaces feel like, the people I occupy those spaces with, what I (or we) do in those spaces, and what makes them feel safe and comfortable to me. These are observations that are both spatial, psychological, and emotional.

I have decided that good design and true spaces of solace are constantly changing and have a capacity to hold space for the flux of the human condition. I find myself in these spaces doing things to center myself, reflect, relax, go inward, and preserve myself in preparation for the next bout with the chaos of my environment and circumstance. Out of this, my brand and small online shop, Childlike Creative, was born. For now, it is an online shop, where I sell things I make for the sake of beauty and the joy of fun for lovers of beautiful things as a way to resist the sadness and difficulties of my experiences in grad school, in a very similar way to the ways I would have coped with hardships in my childhood. I do feel though that the concept of a “space of solace” can be applied to communities everywhere because hardship, and the need for reprieve from it, are universal to the human experience. My hope is that Childlike Creative will eventually become this thing that inspires both individual healing and wholeness for its participants and also communal wholeness and healing through the chance to know oneself and one’s community through engaging with art, fashion, design, food, health, and wellness-which includes and emphasizes mental and emotional health and wholeness, especially by way of one’s environment and means of expression through art and style.

My parents don’t own businesses. In fact, my dad is disabled and is no longer able to work. But my parents instilled in me work ethic, drive, ambition, and doing things for the benefit of all rather than profit, and I hope my business and brand embody those good qualities as I get started with it. I did start several “businesses” when I was in elementary and middle school, as I was driven by my desire to be independent and have my own money so that I could save up enough to buy a clubhouse for myself. That was my lifelong quest. These “businesses” include a “perfume” company, snacks sold at snack time to my classmates, and a school supply station at one point. I have always been very entrepreneurially inclined, just never had the language or understanding of this skill and ambition that I had. I still don’t, but I am exploring, and learning so much on the fly, about those skills and all the things now with Childlike Creative.

My shop launched on July 15th, 2022, but the main thing I have learned from this process is that you have to take the risk. Starting a business is vulnerable. It is scary, and any act of creativity or making something for the world is an act of vulnerability. But I think it is worth it because I believe that the joy of fun and the sake of beauty can make real and lasting impact and connection. I believe those qualities set up the conditions for resilience, resistance, and change. My heart-driven goals are that of creating community and spaces of solace from the complexities, difficulties, and anxieties of the world by way of spaces of contemplation, creativity, craft, and connection through art, design, and space/placemaking. The biggest lesson of taking risks, of vulnerability, and putting yourself out there is failure. And I have experienced a lot of it. Several things have not worked out the way I hoped or anticipated. AND YET, I have recovered and turned those into some of my most wonderful opportunities. Grad school especially has been an area of lots of failure, struggle, pain and sadness. But my business is born out of that, a hopeful, fun, joyful thing that would never have happened had I not enrolled in grad school. Lots of products I have made don’t turn out. It’s a wonderful lesson in living with an open hand, embracing change and flexibility, trying anyway despite the opportunity for failure and things not working out. The tensions of both things can be held all at once, great sadness and disappointment as well as great joy and anticipation for hope and what’s ahead. Both of those are what it is to be human, and I get to be reminded of that in the circumstance of starting a business and the small pits and peaks, victories and failures within it each day. What a gift!


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