Since antiquity, we humans have been adorning our homes and bodies. Items we collect and attribute meaning express our creativity and heritage. Jacoba’s Jewelry Studio was created to empower the human spirit and honour the soul of Mother Earth.
Alecia Schreyer lives in the rolling green expanse of central Alberta with her husband and two cats, Juniper and Fireweed. Drawing inspiration from the rich surroundings of nature, her designs come from a place of gratitude for the wild natural world. As a long-time herbal practitioner and educator, she finds the outdoors the place in which her creativity flows freely.
Join us in conversation with Alecia of Jacoba’s Jewelry as this season’s Kolya Box feature artisan…
How long have you had a penchant for creative expression? When did you pick up jewelry specifically, and how did you discover it?
I would say I’ve been crafting an assortment of art since a young age. I’m a tactile person, so naturally, I love working with my hands. The seed for jewelry making was planted a very long time ago by two people: my mom and a good friend. My mother wore beautiful jewelry and at one point was making jewelry with a clay-like substance while she was studying art in college. This was the first seed. The other was a girlfriend who was showing me her collection of gemstones and components for jewelry she was making. Years later, I would put wire to gemstone and make some very simple wraps. It was fun. I mostly made pieces that I enjoyed wearing and gave many other pieces to family and friends. It wasn’t until 2019 while I was beachcombing out on Vancouver Island that I was inspired to pick up the craft again, but this time, to learn and refine the technique.
Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
I mostly find inspiration when I’m in nature (nature does it best), sometimes from things I see that others have created or are wearing that I would like to make in my own way. I’ve recorded descriptions of the colours I would see in nature from road trips that my husband and I would take, which I sometimes use for colour matching. Other times I just have clear visual ideas pop in my mind as I settle to go to sleep, which I get up to describe and make a rough sketch. But really, it’s whenever I’m in a “flow” and the mind chatter is off that inspiration comes.
What is your creative background, either educational, through family, or otherwise? How have these life experiences influenced your work? Do you have any specific memories that led to your formation as an artist?
Oh gosh, I have no formal training. I’ll have to explain that my mother is someone who is constantly creating, and there are other artists in the larger family, but it was mostly through her ability to create while she was in school and later as an entrepreneur that led me on this path. I’ve studied books, done tutorials and videos, the rest is through trial and error which is also a humble teacher. She also taught me techniques that she was learning while studying art in college, which I deeply enjoyed. I would say that I enjoyed drawing from a young age, like when my mom showed me how to draw an avocado in 3D, and some other drawing techniques. I still fall back to these earlier memories while I create.
You incorporate natural minerals, stones, or crystals into nearly every piece you produce. In a modern climate-affected landscape, constantly shifting, do you feel your work addresses any particular theme(s)?
I love working with natural elements, metals, gemstones and crystals. It’s a really big passion of mine to be considerate of the climate crisis that is all around us. I do everything I can to make a difference, like reducing water waste/use, avoiding pre-packaged goods as much as possible, being aware of the energy I use/consume, buying local and organic, and I continue educating myself with environmental issues and alternative solutions.
I try to source supplies that are ethically sourced, which is kind of challenging I’m going to admit, and also very expensive. I mostly support local shops and individuals as much as I can. I do order supplies in other parts of Canada as well as in the United States but most of my gemstones come from local suppliers. I believe quality is very important for long-lasting products. When I think of what I do as a jewelry maker, I think these pieces should be worn for years and become a part of a collection that might be passed on, or just really well-worn by someone who enjoys it. I don’t believe in fast fashion, at all, and I think that jewelry has a very unique place to be long-lasting. Just think of the ancient jewelry found in museums and in books...
What are some of your favourite interpretations or comments you've received on your work?
I’ve had such lovely comments on my pieces, ranging from stunning, bold, witchy, unique, and beautiful. I really appreciate that people can see and feel the connection between nature and my pieces. That’s usually what stands out the most when I’ve received feedback.
What inspired the piece included in Kolya’s Autumn box?
With most custom pieces I’ve made for individuals, I try to get a sense of that individual by looking at a photo of them. If it’s a gift, I have them described to some degree. For Kolya specifically, since I work there, I came up with a design that has clean lines and is minimalist in style. This is different from many of the pieces I’ve created thus far. These little pendants have a lot of energy infused in them due to the work involved in shaping and hardening. In other words, there was a lot of hammering, filling, sanding, and polishing of each piece.
They are made of pure copper wire, which is a soft material to work with and shape, and includes either a lapis lazuli bead or a frosted white jade bead. The beads are subtle, adding to the minimalist theme. To finish the pendant it is hung on a rose gold chain. The pendant will tarnish over time, which I feel adds charm, but can easily be polished out with a jewelry polishing cloth if one wishes.
What are you listening to while you’re in the creative zone?
Truly a range of music! The ones I’ve been most drawn to where I sit and create the longest are Joshua Van Tassel’s Dance Music Volume II: More Songs For Slow Motion, Mogli’s Alaska, and Oxlip’s Wolves! Cried the Maiden. But really there is so much.
Jacoba’s Jewelry is mindfully made. They use found and ethically sourced materials wherever possible, and are continuously seeking to support the local creative pulse.
Made to inspire, the hope of Jacoba’s Jewelry is to encourage us to live our own authenticity & truth. Live intuitively, harmoniously, and inspired. Do what we can to care for the planet, honour our bodies, and strengthen awareness for the wonder of Mother Earth and all her magic.
Autumn is fleeting. Adorn yourself with Jacoba’s beautiful custom piece in this season’s Kolya Box, while it lasts…
Follow Alecia on Instagram and Etsy!