My creative story all begins when I was little, with blond pig tales, sitting with my mom at a table and making small kiddie crafts. My mom knew that I needed to keep my ADHD hands on something to keep me still, so she showed me the world of crafting. Without knowing it, creating became a part of my everyday life. We experimented with different materials like paper, metal, paints, and clay. I was slowly becoming a Jack-of-All-Trades.

Jewelry started with my love for gems, crystals, and my growing knowledge of crafting. In the early years before high school, I would scavenge swap meets, street fairs, shops and anywhere else I could get my hands on unique stones to add to my collection. But how can I show off all my beautiful gems? I couldn’t just carry them around in my pockets, and have them all sitting pretty on a shelf wasn’t very satisfying either. One day I finally mixed crafts and stones together. There was a vendor at the local street fair that sold beautiful jewelry. Wonderful gems were showcased in their wire wrapped frames. I thought to myself, what a great idea! So I bought the cheapest tools and wire and got to work.

Tumbled stones from my personal collection

It looked awful, but I wore my twisted art everywhere with pride. I went back to that street fair, wearing one of my latest pieces, and visited a rock booth I looked every week. The vendor noticed my necklace and got really excited. He gave me six beautiful pieces to wrap and offered me 20$ when I returned the next week.

So it all began.

With breaking tools and cheap wire, I returned to him the next week with all pieces done and got paid. It happened every week for a summer. I would get a handful of beauties, wire wrap them, and then do it all again. Every week, I saw improvements in my wire work. The vendor moved on to a different street fair on his quest for profit. Now, I had dreams of having my very own booth and online store!

Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.  Albert Einstein

I continued to make jewelry and branched off into making wire sculptures as well. I bought better tools and better wire as I improved my skills. I never knew that one day I would be working with real silver! It is very important to me that I stay true to my roots, and continue to use genuine stones and crystals in my work. I have also found it important to use very skin friendly metals in my artwork, as I have very sensitive skin myself. I have never taken any classes in wire wrapping or jewelry making! I am self-taught with the help of a few books and online tutorials.

My “practice bars” I use to learn new wire weaves

The process in which I create a new necklace or other jewelry design either starts with a stone or an inspiration in my life. I rarely sketch before I start wire wrapping a stone. Instead, I sit and I think about that particular stone. It may sound silly, but I listen to what it has to say. Should I wrap it in silver, copper, or another metal? Should I cover most of it with wire, or let the stone do most of the talking? Should I focus on an elegant wire weave, or simply frame the stone? When creating a piece that doesn’t have any stones in it, it often sources from an experience or inspiration from another artist. Sometimes a walk in the woods can have me running home to make a tree of life necklace. Other times a swim at the beach might make me running home to make a jellyfish pendant. 

More times than not, my pieces for sale are one of a kind. I find it more enjoyable for myself if I keep the art unique. I feel as if I was shopping for a piece of jewelry, I want something original. I don’t look for a cookie cutter ring, that hundreds of other people may have. Not that it’s a bad thing, that’s just not my style. I like funky, fun, and one of a kind. I hope that customers can appreciate that no one else will ever have that necklace that is adoring their neck or that dreamcatcher that gives inspiration on their wall. I want to make art that inspires and brings joy.

Starting a business just to pay for my rocks.

Silver & jade custom order. I never knew I was going to be working with such high-end materials!

I opened my Etsy shop in 2014 without knowing the first thing about it. I all knew is that I make something, take pictures of it, post it online, and hope someone will take it into their home. I wasn’t looking for a profit. I wasn’t looking to make a career out of it. When I opened my store, I was still in high school and only wanted an excuse to continue making my little wire wrapped arts. Only after a year of college and experiencing what jobs are like out there, I began to wonder what I really wanted from a career. I didn’t want to do something without passion. In the summer of 2016, I decided to throw myself into this small business I have. I want to make art for a living. I want to help people feel beautiful through my artwork.

Now I go to several shows a year, have my jewelry in galleries and art events, and now I have my very own website. Who knew starting a business just to pay for my rocks can actually turn into a job? I am looking forward to seeing where this crazy road takes me!

Michelle Shearer

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