Feather Fetish #2

  • Ken Shores, Feather Fetish #2, 1985, stoneware with gold luster and parakeet feathers, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase through the Richard T. Evans Fund, 2001.2

Luce Center Label

Feather Fetish #2 is part of a series Ken Shores started in 1968 after a trip to Peru. The combination of clay and feathers recalls fetish objects that feature in many religions worldwide. These objects are man-made items created from natural materials like stone or ivory and are believed to hold supernatural powers. Shores often encased his fetish objects in small, glass vitrines, which emphasize the preciousness of the object by limiting our access to it. Here, the ceramic form both protects and reveals a cluster of delicate parakeet feathers at the center. In many native cultures, feathers are regarded as valuable and beautiful, a fact Shores reinforces by adding gold luster to the clay.

Luce Object Quote
"It really all began with an interest in contrasting textures." The artist, quoted in Patricia Failing, "Ken Shores: Themes from a Life," American Craft, June/July 2008
Feather Fetish #2
On View
Not on view.
6 1/2 x 11 1/8 x 10 7/8 in. (16.5 x 28.2 x 27.6 cm)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Museum purchase through the Richard T. Evans Fund

Mediums Description
stoneware with gold luster and parakeet feathers
  • Object – other – feather
  • Abstract
Object Number
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI

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glazed clay, wood, and acrylic paint
stoneware, stains, and oxides
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hand-built ceramic