Downtown Iowa City — May 1 and 2
Paige Harwell Samek is an Iowa City artist with many talents. She’s the general manager at Trumpet Blossom, the lead singer of the defunct band Supersonic Piss and the creator of two jewelry lines — Drainbowland and PK Mine, which she recently launched with Kelly Kinser. PK Mine’s collection includes many brightly colored resin gemstones, each made individually; no two pieces are the same. The jewelry is sold on the PK mine website, as well as at White Rabbit, which is hosting a PK Mine trunk show this Friday, May 1 from 5 – 8 p.m. as part of the Iowa City Downtown District’s Fashion Weekend events.
Little Village caught up with Harwell Samek to learn about PK Mine and what they have in store for the future.
How did PK Mine get started and does the name have any special meaning?
PK Mine got started in early January by myself and Kelly Kinser. I was slinging her drinks and noticed that her hands were those of a maker and asked her what she did. She went to school to train as a bench jeweler in 2011, and she and her husband moved to Iowa City this past fall. We started setting up resin playdates and PK Mine was born. The “P” stands for Paige and the “K,” for Kelly. The Mine was discovered after a lengthy experimentation process that involved a wide range of skill sets with resin, silicone and metals to produce one-of-a-kind pieces.
The pieces that you create allude to nature through their forms, but they also have psychedelic qualities. You’ve described your jewelry and gemstones as ‘supernatural’ and ‘expanding the realm of costume jewelry.’ What is your inspiration for the line and can you tell me about the process of crafting these?
One of our first conversations about jewelry was the pricing of gemstones and how we, as jewelry makers, can replicate these precious stones with a considerable price cut. My first rule of being an artist is making affordable art. I want my punk friends to be able to have a piece of my work without making their bank accounts go negative. What better way than to make faux, exotic, psychedelic gemstones?
We take gemstones, crystals, arrowheads and other artifacts that we fancy and turn them into silicone molds. After the mold sets, the pouring of resin takes place. Layers and layers of small amounts of resin with colorful pigments is when the psychedelic qualities begin to form.
I was struck by PK Mine’s goal to ‘attempt to satisfy the primal desire for adornment.’ How do you see buyers adorning themselves with PK Mine?
This line definitely adds a statement piece to your jewelry collection. We also have simple and elegant, but love the loud colors that can transform your outfit. All black or neutral outfits really makes PK Mine jewelry pop.
Does PK Mine have similarities to your other jewelry line, Drainbowland? Also, what is up with Drainbowland? Is that still happening? And do you have any other projects — jewelry, music or otherwise — in the works?
Drainbowland is still going, but I am just taking a break from it and focusing on PK Mine. As an artist, when you hit a milestone you have to roll with it and try to ride that wave. PK Mine is a huge wave for me.
I’ll be moving to Savannah, Georgia at the end of the summer and want to work as much as I can on jewelry and enjoy Iowa City to the fullest.