ENGLAND'S LAST WILDERNESS
I'm 22-year-old Alexandra Jackson, a self-taught jewellery maker and the owner and designer behind FEATHEROAK. I was born and raised in rural Northumberland and now live in the rough and wild landscape of the Scottish Borders, my work in everything I do has always been inspired by where I live. Northern England and the Scottish Borders are both places renowned for their rich and diverse and history and legend from mining and industry to outlaws, powerful clans, Romans and Vikings! The stunning and wild landscapes make it the perfect for who I am and the jewellery I make. Having being brought up in the North Pennies or 'England's last wilderness' as it is known as, It is this land that has shaped me into the wild, free-hearted (and slightly feral) girl I am today!
My jewellery is no different! Rough, wild and inspired not only by the land of my ancestors (both English and Scottish) but my love of the entire Earth and sea itself. I search and hunt for many of the stones I use in my jewellery, from English sea, glass from the famous beach of Seaham to rare English quartz and Fluorite crystals, even coal dug from our stream and stones from the river. I have been fascinated by gems and fossils my entire life! During our summer holidays, we would often visit the small fishing town of Whitby on the North East coast of England, known for its fossils and Jet. I'd spend hours searching for fossils with my little brothers and have to be eventually dragged from the local 'rock shops' when trying to pick out my favourite gem! Ever since I can remember I've collected gemstones and crystals.
HOW IT ALL BEGAN. SPRING 2016
My little shop came into existence, honestly, because with living in the countryside comes with its drawbacks. Finding a job after leaving school was tough, actually impossible! School had never really worked for me, I grew up with poor grades that would only convince me I was in fact just stupid, and for a long time, I truly believed I was! I was worried I'd struggle at University just the same, and didn't want to feel like I was incapable of making a successful future anymore! So, I took the decision when I was 17 to somehow find a different path in life, I think I've always felt I was never going to have a conventional life anyway. I tore up my 6th form exam results and decided to put my creative abilities to use. I'm a keen photographer and I inherited my creative talent from my amazing Mum, Gail. It was Mum who suggested we open an online shop together after she stumbled across 'Seaham sea glass' on the internet.
Part of our amazing sea tumbled glass collection from Seaham, County Durham
After collecting buckets of this colourful sea-washed waste glass, we wondered what we could do with it all! The idea of making jewellery seemed to come from nowhere and before we knew it we were making and designing jewellery from found objects; everything between pebbles to Roman coins! Our new taste for treasure hunting sparked something in us both that made jewellery making a new passion. After working together I started to develop my own style and technique, finally, after a little support, I decided to put everything I had into building my own shop, and perhaps even start to make a more positive future for me and my family. I oddly actually started by selling sheep skulls on the Internet (lots and lots of sheep skulls!) I found them, then spent hours washing and scrubbing until I made enough money to buy my most prized possession - my camera! Which was, and still is one of my most important tools and my passion! I then moved on to selling the supplies my mum and I gathered (shells, sea glass and driftwood etc.) until, finally, after endless research, a LOT of trial-and-error, sourcing tools, collecting and hunting for gems and photographing, I opened FEATHEROAK in Spring of 2016 and have never looked back!
Thank you for reading!
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