Please don’t judge this post by its title! If you haven’t heard of “fish trap” lighting before, you might be wondering if this post will be any good. Yes, it sounds weird. But these lights are actually beautiful. And this is a story of a vision to use something in a way that’s very different from its original use.
Fish traps are exactly what you might think they are. They are used to catch fish, and they can be found in Southeast Asia, Indonesia, the Philippines and India. Here’s what they look like in their natural habitat, as captured by Sir Mart in Penang, Malaysia:
And here they are in our habitat, after you add electrical and hang them as pendant lights. From Côté Maison, a home in Tunisia:
The Selby spotted and shared this vintage fishing basket used as a huge pendant light in a Japanese home:
This trio of fish trap lights was photographed by a traveler at Bumbu Bali restaurant in Malaysia and shared on TripAdvisor:
Not all are really long. Here are some shorter ones, a good size to hang over a dining table:
From Architects Kauai, here’s six fish traps made into a dramatic chandelier in a large space in a Hawaiian home:
If you don’t need pendant lights, you can set them on a table or the floor as sculptural objects. Here A Thoughtful Eye shares fishcatcher baskets seen at Oly at High Point in 2012, so maybe now in 2016 we are late to the fish trap party:
If you search for these, they’re also called “fish catchers” and “fishing baskets.” In Indonesia they are called “fish bubu.” These lights may show up in upscale places, but they have humble beginnings. They can be made of bamboo and reeds, and they are loosely woven. Here’s a fish trap being made in Indonesia captured by Petcha2 on Flickr:
Here’s a close-up of an Indonesian bubu made of bamboo. As noted in the story, these fishing traps are not made or used much any more for their original purpose of catching fish. They’re more often decorative:
They have organic shapes and wabi-sabi style imperfections, like these fish traps that are leaning this-a-way and that-a-way:
The materials and shapes are good for many decorating styles from global style to beachy and coastal style, natural whites style. They can even be mixed well with modern style.
Sometimes they’re woven of metal, which is a very different look than bamboo and reeds. Maybe more industrial. Also, if you are interested in buying fish trap pendant lights online, be sure to check the measurements. They can get quite large! See the size of this fish trap photographed by Whoa Adventures in Sarawak:
If you happen to be traveling somewhere and you see a pile of basket-type things with funnel shapes in them, like these found in Italy by Strangetrader, grab some! They make great pendant lights:
Here is where you can find them online so you don’t have to travel far. You can buy these fishcatcher lights online from Our Boat House in Vero Beach, Florida:
I’ve also found fish traps on eBay, but quite expensive, like $800 including shipping from Asia. Another option is to look for a similar style, like “woven pendants” or “basket lamps” like these from Modish Store:
And these basket cloche lamps also from Modish Store:
I made a whole board of fishing traps and pendant lights on Pinterest:
As you may have noticed lately, I’m posting less often now but when I do, I’ll try to share lots of good stuff in a post for you!