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New Object Art! Sink Your Teeth into Kelly Shimoda’s “Toothy Hanging”

Toothy Hanging by Kelly Shimoda
11"x3.5" ($90)

Since it’s Halloween and we’re all adults here, we’ll spare you the scare and go straight for the element of surprise. Over the past years we’ve released several special editions that fall outside our usual print purview. These works are often carefully crafted by hand, bringing with them a bit of idiosyncratic beauty and expanding our variety in the meantime. Most recently, Amos Kennedy’s one-of-kind letterpress pieces and Jen Hewett’s weed-adorned linen wall hanging have joined our select collection of non-print editions. But today’s a certifiable first: ceramics!

Our debut ceramic edition comes ℅ Oakland, CA based artist Kelly Shimoda. Her Toothy Hanging is the stuff our object artwork dreams are made of—an adaptable, affordable, hand-built artifact that oozes originality but somehow also finds harmony in almost any decor. This sculptural hanging is seriously magic-making…

Though she got her start in the art world working as a photographer (peep her first edition with us), Shimoda’s clay work reveals a real instinct for the medium’s versatility and viscerality. The shape and presentation of Toothy Hanging are totally customizable—brush the beads flat for a more orderly, zen-like look, or rustle them askew so they hang in attractive three-dimensional disarray. Hang the piece against a wall, floating from a hook in a doorway or ceiling, or even al fresco. Just picture the Toothy Hanging perched over a porch, or moving faintly with the wind from a bough of a favorite backyard tree. This is indoor/outdoor art, y’all.

Inspired by textiles, metallic elements and the natural world, Shimoda draws on both visual and tactile suggestivity to give her ceramic work an intuitive quality that’s hard to describe. Each Toothy Hanging is handmade, the individual ceramic beads free-formed and hanging from a hemp cord. Because of this, each piece has its own subtle eccentricities, exemplifying the irreplicable charm of handcrafted ceramics. It’s irregularity is wonderfully Wabi-sabi—appealingly asymmetrical, roughly textured and austere, with a nod to the ingenuity of nature. The result is evocative of bone and stone, of burned, blackened driftwood and ancient cairns. It has a primal character, but it also has the polish of a carefully considered minimal monument.

There’s something provocative about the way Shimoda’s Toothy Hanging hovers between the natural and unnatural. And there’s something irresistible about its spiky, charcoal-hued surface (you will want to touch it). And it has an uncanny ability to look perfectly at home nearly anywhere. And there’s so much more that made us take the plunge into ceramic art the moment we spied this piece, but let’s focus on the important thing here: If you’ve yet to add an object to your art collection, this Toothy Hanging takes the cake.

With art for everyone,
Jen Bekman