Making Everyday Objects Deadly: The Art of the Shiv

ShivI’ve also heard them called shanks, the word itself, “shiv” or “shank,” intuitively sounds like their intended use, further relayed with these photos from this article by William Drenttel in Design Observer:

A shiv is a weapon crafted from the limited resources of a prisoner’s closed world. Crudely constructed from such things as spoons, shoelaces and upholstery tacks, shivs lie somewhere between the graceful and the grotesque. They’re primitive, too — like outsider art, but produced deep on the inside.

The individual parts that make up a shiv tend to be everyday objects, innocent things furtively reconstituted as lethal weapons. Each design choice is essential, but what’s particularly notable is that shivs, at their core, are not so much evocations of minimalism as they are symbols of survivalism. A shiv is all about masked utility: it’s an innocuous object with improbably toxic intent (whether used to attack others or to protect oneself…)

Read More: Design Observer:

13 Comments on "Making Everyday Objects Deadly: The Art of the Shiv"

  1. Anonymous | Oct 23, 2011 at 7:19 am |

    Very interesting.

  2. Anonymous | Oct 23, 2011 at 7:19 am |

    Very interesting.

  3. Very interesting.

  4. candy cane weapons in xmas…

  5. candy cane weapons in xmas…

  6. “My Knife, it’s sharp and chrome” Chino Moreno

  7. jasonpaulhayes | Oct 23, 2011 at 9:30 am |

    “My Knife, it’s sharp and chrome” Chino Moreno

  8. You call that a knoife?

  9. You call that a knoife?

  10. Hadrian999 | Oct 23, 2011 at 9:35 pm |

    it’s amazing how violence and competition unlocks our creativity, when I was younger I went to a tourist trap police museum  in TN. it had a huge section on improvised weapons seized in prison, someone even made a battle axe out of an old door hinge. it’s a shame we only seem to reach our full potential when trying to kill each other

  11. Hadrian999 | Oct 23, 2011 at 5:35 pm |

    it’s amazing how violence and competition unlocks our creativity, when I was younger I went to a tourist trap police museum  in TN. it had a huge section on improvised weapons seized in prison, someone even made a battle axe out of an old door hinge. it’s a shame we only seem to reach our full potential when trying to kill each other

  12. knife party

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