Archive Receives Gift of Deadhead Artisan Handicrafts

Two (2) pins and two (2) magnets, handcast concrete, ca. 2.0–3.0 in. Gift of Viki Schecter.

Viki Schecter, longtime Deadhead (and proud mother of a UCSC undergraduate) recently donated a set of four handmade Deadhead artworks to the Archive, shown here. These delightful pins and magnets depict four seminal images and icons in the Grateful Dead phenomenon: the famous Mouse/Kelley band logo, derived from Edmund J. Sullivan’s illustration in the Rubaiyyat of Omar Khayyam; the Owsley Stanley / Bob Thomas-designed Steal Your Face band logo; the squared Grateful Dead emblem, and a stylized version of Garcia’s bearded visage, bedecked in sunglasses.

Schecter created these “MANY years ago,” as she recently wrote. “I sculpted each design with Sculpy [a brand of polymer clay] by hand (except the round one, that was my husband’s belt buckle). I made a latex mold and filled it with cement. Each one is hand painted by me.”

Schecter sold three of the designs in Dead show parking lots, though not the Garcia pins: “Only people who knew me personally had a Jerry pin. They were not for sale. We actually had one friend find us at a show because they saw someone wearing the Jerry pin and knew they knew us.” Schecter also gave a Jerry pin to Bill Graham, before a New Year’s Eve concert—in fact, it may well be the pin that appears in The Official Book of the Deadheads (see p.131).

Deadhead crafts are an important part of the broader scene and phenomenon, and the Archive is grateful to Viki for her kind donation. Look for it in the upcoming exhibition, “Songs of Our Own: The Art of the Grateful Dead Phenomenon,” which will open in late April in McHenry Library’s Dead Central exhibit space. Many thanks to Ms. Schecter for her artisanry and generosity! ~ Nicholas Meriwether, Grateful Dead Archivist