By Lexington Howe
Staff Writer 

A skilled hand weaves wire into beautiful jewelry

 

Last updated 8/20/2020 at 4:01am

An ammonite fossil is wrapped in intricate wire weaving.

Local 23-year-old Michelle Shearer has been weaving wire into intricate jewelry since high school.

"I got started doing jewelry because I was really into stones and fossils and minerals, and this was middle school," Shearer said. "I would find these stones and rocks but I didn't know what to do with them, and I saw someone wire wrapping sea glass in Oceanside where I grew up at the Sunset Market.

"I thought I could do that with my rocks, and that's basically how it started," Shearer said. "I got into it freshman year of high school, and I kind of got serious when I turned 18."

At the beginning, Shearer was self-taught.

"I just went over to Michael's and grabbed some tools and wire and just went for it," she said. "I went off pictures for reference but mostly just out of my brain I just went for it, and then a few years in I discovered there's actually books about this, and there are YouTube tutorials but that was several years after I was getting going."


When Shearer started, she wasn't expecting to make money from her craft, but it was something to do.

"At that same Sunset Market, there was a rock dealer who saw I was wire wrapping and would commission me to wire wrap some of his rocks, so that's kind of how it started doing it for money," Shearer said.

Shearer currently works at the Fallbrook Gem and Mineral Society; when they do hold festivals, she has a booth to showcase her work. She also offers her work in the Fallbrook Art Center in their gift shop area called "The Find."

"There's a lot of different styles you can do," Shearer said. "You can just do a really simple wrap, where you just put the rock in wire, or you can do a little bit more of what I do; I really like to do beads and patterns and that does take a little bit longer to figure out."

Shearer said anyone can learn if they're willing to put the time in.

"Do online tutorials, buy copper and less expensive materials at first because you're going to scrap a lot because it takes a little bit to get the tension right," Shearer said. "Try to figure out how to not mark your wire with tools, how to straighten the wire, all those little things. Just take your time, don't get frustrated and do your own thing."

Shearer has a Facebook page called Wire Moon Jewelry, as well as an Etsy shop.

"Right now, I'm doing shop updates," Shearer said. "I release a collection to my online store every month and I try to have at least 20 pieces, so 20 new pieces in my online store, but that's not including the 10 or so pieces I go to the Art Center with every month as well."


Carrie White, a customer of Shearer, first came across her work when a friend shared it with her.

"I decided to follow her on IG," White said. "I admired the work she posted for probably nine months before I fell in love with the coral pendant and had to have it."

Customer Jamie Lynn Matherly first met Shearer at a fiber festival in Vista.

"She had several beautiful pieces, but her agate trees drew both my aunt and I to her," Matherly said. "I have purchased several gifts including moonstones and fossil pieces from her. Her work is carefully executed, the craftsmanship is fabulous and if you're looking for something special, I absolutely recommend her."

For more information on what Shearer has to offer, visit https://wiremoonjewelry.com/.

Lexington Howe can be reached by email at [email protected]

A copper tree is wrapped around fossilized wood from Washington State to make a pendant.

 

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