Alongside his father and grandfather, Midwestern picker Samuel Sloma has spent decades digging through the garages, barns and basements of the dead. Born a new player to an old pastime, Sloma was raised along rows of old warehouses and closing five-and-dime stores, amongst classic symbols of untold stories. Nostalgia for a well made—albeit destructive—American past has forever been stapled to his dreams.
1. What is Rust Belt Americana?
Rust Belt Americana is a return to the slow, thoughtful, and always well-made. It’s Vintage junkyard jewelry composed with calloused hands and an open heart.
2. How and why did you became a “picker”?
It started the day my grandfather took me to a flea market, gave me a dollar, and told me to come back with something older than him. I have been picking through things ever since. I find it mildly important to preserve the idea of American industry. These things mark the chapters of a very young nation and I’ve never read a good book with just one chapter. The ambition to turn my findings into jewelry came sometime around 2007.
3. What is the weirdest item you have found when picking?
Maybe not the weirdest thing, but I got some odd looks driving down Cicero with a 10-point deer mount strapped to the back of my motorcycle.
4. What inspires your work?
Nostalgia for a well made — albeit destructive — American past.
5. What are the two musts that accompany you on the road?
70’s country music and an open mind.
6. What’s the weirdest place you have picked in?
There’s a man I visit every now and then in Ohio. He’s a Vietnam vet with no teeth and lots of wild chickens.
7. What’s something no one else knows about you?
I listen to Christmas music year-round.
8. Any last words?