Thursday, March 29, 2012

Jiggs Digs: Pin Me Down

Unless you have been living under a rock lately, you have noticed the increasing popularity of lapel pins. More commonly worn on a hat or stashed safely in a pin case, lapel pins have embedded themselves into phan art culture. It seems that there are new pin makers every day and there’s no shortage of band related pins being traded and sold.

Most will agree that the loose association of artists known as Central Part Of Town (CPOT), and the early creation of MYFE were the pioneers of pins in the Phish scene. There were pins created as far back as 2003, but the explosion occurred when the band returned in 2009.

Long collected in the Disney and Olympic circles, pins have become some kind of sub-currency in the Phish scene, with some going for upwards of 3 figures.  It’s definitely not the materials, as most are well constructed of inexpensive simple metals. And it’s not the lack of manufacturers either. With a few minutes and a search engine you can find more than a few vendors. It seems to be that perfect combination of clever design, Limited Edition releases, and originality that sees certain pins skyrocket in value.

This month, Jiggs Digs takes a closer look at pins and what goes into them through a conversation with Josh and Christy from Pin Me Down.

1. How long did it take between collecting your first pin and making your first pin?
Josh: The first pin that we collected  was the 2003 Trey bobblehead.  We are absolute junkies when it comes to Phish merchandise, both official and lot goods.  At the time (2003) we were only friends, but after are collections merged, we always really enjoyed that little pin.  We both still have our originals, one of them still in the stapled cellophane baggy. 

Our first pin was released May 31st, 2009 at the Fenway Phish show.  For years many of you may have enjoyed our veggie quesadillas at a parking lot near you.  We were trying to create something more tour friendly, easier to transport and different.  Seeing another pin released in Hampton (Better than a UFO) gave us the confidence to move forward with our plans.

2. Can you talk about your creative process and what goes into creating a pin?
Josh: Most of our pins are a collaboration between the two of us.  Most of our pin ideas are truly inspired by the respective music of the band for which we make them.   We try to not only push the boundaries of the interpretation, but also try to push the boundaries of the median.  We try very hard to use all dimensions of our concept in the design and execution. Songs, lyrics, and the life we lead all feed into it. 

Progression of the NYE 2011 pin
Christy: Most of our designs begin on paper, and are scanned in and traced, others are created on the computer.  We occasionally use CAD/CAM software for some of the metal casting design when it gets difficult to explain our thoughts.

3. Do you have a favorite pin?
Christy: I can't choose... I really like the antelope bobble pin and the Fenway park CPOT pin.

Josh: My favorite pin right now is the handmade PH wings from unique pin designer Justin Willis, they are off the hook!!!

Number 9
4. Pin Me Down is the company behind the Hurricane Relief Spinner pin. How did you come to work with Waterwheel on that pin?
Josh: Perseverance.  We wanted to make a pin for Phish since we got into this game and were always searching for a way.  We spent a lot of time contacting some friends of friends so forth and so on, but it basically came down to shear (11 months worth) perseverance and emailing back and forth.  Grind Grind Grind.

5. What do you think makes certain pins so valuable?
Josh: We both believe that pins are there own artistic median and that inherently adds value to pins that are well designed.  As far as certain pins being more valuable, there are so many factors. How cool is the design, how large is the edition size, who made it and when it was made probably weigh the most into "value".

Christy: Also, there is a speculative end of the valuation as well.  Even with this being said, some of the pin prices surprise us on a regular basis!

6. Is this something that you are able to do full time?
Josh: Right now we are. I used to be a corporate trainer at a large bank, but in late 2010 left to work on pin design full time.

7. Does being on tour affect whether or not a certain design does well?
Josh: Absolutely, tour pins are at the heart of what we all do.  Being out on the road is our favorite place to be and it shows, so for us, we sell more pins on the road.

8. If you could change anything about the community what would it be?
Josh: This is a tough question, it really take all kinds to build a community and our pin community is full of all different types of individuals.  I wish there was less drama.

Christy: I  just want more people to come join in the pinsanity!

9. Can you hint at any upcoming releases?
Josh: We are always working on some new crazy designs, but hopefully some of our summer tour pins take this to a new dimension. 

Christy: You may see some Dank Sinatra pretty soon as well.

10. What keeps you going?
Josh: It may sound cliche, but being able to see the band we love, the band that put us together, is really the most important thing that keeps us going.  It drives our life and inspires our work.

Christy: We are so lucky to have the most amazing, supportive group of friends and family anyone could hope for.

To check out Pin Me Down, visit their site here:
Want to start collecting Phish Pins? Start here:


Do you know someone who should be featured in Jiggs Digs?
Email and let me know. 


  1. Nice read Jiggs .. .keep them coming! It's nice to see so many different sides of this thing we are all obsessed with from posters ,to pins to merch .

    Thanks Again

  2. Haha! Hey awesome! I took that picture of CZ :-) Rock on! Good interview. Love their merch!

  3. lapel pins are very low priced but a good quality medium to convey your ideas to the general public... thanks to shearing with us..