One person’s junk is this girl’s goddess jewelry

Prairie Solstice designer focuses on environment and supporting friends

Samantha Selci’s jewelry line Prairie Solstice is made for goddesses.

“I’m down with jewellery and I’m down with beautifying yourself,” says 23-year-old Selci, who’s also a music student at the University of Manitoba. “I think women deserve to feel like goddesses, but it is ridiculous the amount of jewelry that’s being manufactured brand new when there is so much - piles and piles and piles of beautiful jewelry everywhere - that can be reused.”

Selci started Prairie Solstice with her former roommate Avery Artemowich a few years ago as a way to make a little extra cash on the side.

“It started out as a hobby,” Selci says. “It still is a hobby. It’s an art form that both of us take a lot of pride in.”

Before moving to B.C. in April 2014, Artemowich worked at Para Mix on Osborne St., which gave Prairie Solstice a space to sell a few items - Selci estimates they’ve sold 30 or 40 flower headpieces there so far. Prairie Solstice jewelry pieces are made out of all pre-existing parts.

“Recycled parts are awesome and you can make beautiful things out of things that already exist,” says Selci, who is also the lead singer of local band Sapphire Empire. “When it started getting more complex - like big body chain pieces - there’s only so much you can use recycled. So we started sourcing from Shakti
on Osborne.”

“I also try to use a lot of stuff from nature. I don’t order any of my feathers, the only feathers I use are ones that I’ve found or ones that have been given to me.”

Selci’s lifestyle - Prairie Solstice included - is heavily influenced by her passion for supporting the environment and local systems. She gingerly points out that every piece of jewelry she’s wearing, including a delicate earring made from string and a robin’s claw, were made for her by friends.

“I rarely buy new clothes,” she says, inspecting the pieces of her outfit, and pointing out silk-screened patches on her green zip-up hoodie. “Friends make them. All my tattoos - friends did them.”

She pulls up her left pant leg to show off a stick-and-poke in progress, taking up her entire calf. Her friend Carlen has been working on it for two years.

“I decided to trade her a pretty upper body piece for a tattoo,” Selci says. “Basically I just kept finding things that were so characteristic of her and I slowly pieced it together and it totally matches who she is and the moment she saw it, she was like, ‘Oh my god!’”

That’s part of why Selci finds creating custom pieces most rewarding.

“That piece couldn’t be for anyone else.

“A lot of times people just say do your thing and that’s really fun for me because it gives me the chance to read the person and what their essence is and translate that into whatever I’m making for them,” she says.

“My main thing in all of my creative outlets is trying to integrate art with human connection with environmental awareness in an enjoyable way,” Selci says, also noting that was the premise behind her Nuit Blanche installment, the Infinity Project.

“Even if it’s something as small as using recycled parts, its not like I’m pushing environmental activism on people through my jewelry. It’s just my own ethics.”

Published in Volume 69, Number 6 of The Uniter (October 8, 2014)

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