Spiked Staples: Spiny Housewares

We know that spikes aren't typically considered festive decorations, but the objects on this list of housewares—adorned with thorns, spines, and spurs—are so gift-worthy they'll redefine your understanding of holiday decor.


The most minimalist and conspicuous manifestation of the spiked form is the brass ring stand from The Unique Display. An elegant 7cm cone of brass tapers to softened point, serving as a pillar of security and support for any unworn rings. It's an elegant functional form and our our most epitomizing spike.


Sticking with our simple spikes, we head to the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains in Pennsylvania to find Ted Ferringer and Seven Pines Forge. Here, following in the tradition of American wrought iron, Rosehead nails are forged by hand. Strong but visually delicate hammered bars form long nail shanks, ranging 1 inch-4 inches, that taper to slight points. The dimples, formed from during the process of defining the nail head through hammering, create a petaling effect, hence the "Rosehead" name. If you have someone in your life with a builder mentality, these hand forged nails can serve as punctuating accents in woodworked pieces. For the remaining people on your list, a collection of these stunning nails can serve as unexpected home decor. Fill a small glass vessel with hand forged nails for a handsome accent perfect in any home.


Another striking spike is a Edgerton-esque ripple of ceramic, the Clean-A-Bowl Pipe Cleaning Ashtray from Lisa Bloom Pottery. As we don't condone smoking, we set this unglazed hazelnut stoneware piece in our entryways to hold our rings, keys, change and other pocket collections we accumulated while out in the world. The central peak drips down and expels a cresting circular wave that defines the perimeter of the dish, accentuated by the rough textured—dare we say spiny- texture of the clay. It's a gorgeous, versatile form at home everywhere.


We turn next to IKUKO Iwamoto, a London-based Japanese artist whose work is synonymous with spines. Finding inspiration in the " intricate and fragile looking structures, and odd forms found in the microscopic world" (1) Iwamoto shares slip-cast porcelain with mesmerizing fans of needles and spikes. While all of her work leaves us weak in the knees, for the day to day we adore Iwamoto's Spiky Sake cup, a small off-white porcelain cup with a cascading collar of spikes that drapes gently around the curve of the cup like an uninviting but phenomenally aesthetic handle. Fortunately, the opposite side is left unembellished so one has ample room to hold this delicate cup without threat of skewering spikes.

For when we want a bit more visual drama, the gold rimmed Internal Spiky Bowl is the perfect piece. A dented white bowl reveals a jungle of jutting spires within. Bringing to mind the depth, gravity, and internal chaos of Eva Hesse's Accession cubes, the bowls are mouths of vicious denticles ready to consume and entrap anything you let slip into them. They're absolutely fantastic.


If you're looking to gift a cup that levels even more available space to grasp, try the Golden Spike Cups from Los Angeles-based Neptune Glassworks. Crystal clear glass is blown into classic tumbler forms which receive the nontraditional additions of 6 evenly spaced glass points around the bulb. These points, along with the lip of the cups, are emblazoned with gold and, when light touches the glass, this luxurious metallic accent swirls within the highlights of the glass to create a prismatic and luminous article of glassware.


For an opaque offering, turn to Savanah, Georgia's Element Clay Studio where artist Heather Knight creates these glistening Small Gold Conch Bowls. Lined with gold and covered in pulled points, each bowl epitomizes modern luxury and beauty so you can be sure it will make a memorable and cherished gift.

Inspired by the points on a conch shell, this bowl has tons of personality. Hand built and sculpted porcelain is left raw on the outside and coated with real 18K gold on the interior. (2)


With a similar form but decidedly different aesthetic, the Xochicalco Bowls from Onora Casa are some of our favorite spine-covered creations. "Inspired by ceremonial vessels found in archeological sites in Xochicalco, each piece is modeled and hand burnished by artistan Esther in her family atelier in San Bartolo Coyotepec" (3). To create each striking bowl, naturally black clay is collected, purified, and molded to form the spiked shape of the bowl which is then allowed to fully dry for weeks on end. Once almost dry, the bowl is rubbed by hand using small smooth stones to compact the clay at the surface of the bowl, eliminating any subtle irregularities to create a dense black finish that glows with its burnished satiny finish. After being fired, the bowls are durable functional pieces that boast a handsome modern design everyone can enjoy.


The Vetiver Baskets from Tahiana Creation may have more needly quills, but these natural vetiver branches are much less imposing than the points on the previous tablewares. The bowls are hollow nests; the interiors reveal a woven substructure but the surface is uncombed, a chaotic, wild tangle of threadlike fibers that reach out into the surrounding space. Each basket is unique and hypnotic and will surely wow anyone lucky enough to receive one this holiday.


Arguably the least intimidating spike choice is this adorable Brass Pillbug by Baltimore based Metal Cakes. Each isopod is "comprised of over 70 individual parts...made with solid brass sheet metal/hardware and recycled bicycle chain"(2) . Ball jointed spikes, the legs can be set out to support an open oval-shaped sculptural bug or can withdraw when the pillbug finds its defensive form, a curled ball. We always love the Pillbug but it becomes an abstracted work of art when placed in a supine position. The articulated shell of the body forms overlapping crests, the mechanical chains and hexagonal nuts of the central body are revealed, and the bent-nail-like legs stand erect and imposing. The piece is fantastically complicated and mechanical making it perfect for those in your life who appreciate detail as well as those who would adore golden pillbug companions.


For a more threatening spike display, try the Black Spike Urchin Bowl by Emily Miller. A stunning bronze and stoneware sculpture, this inverted urchin resembles a cactus, pairing languid ridges and rows of soft imprinted dots with the aggressively long branches of bronze spines. The perfect bowl to house items you treasure, this piece will provide a striking frame around your object while keeping them safe from wandering hands.