Designing lamps from the sea

 Light glows through the lamp shade made of sea fans. The interweaving of light and webbing is a constant reminder of just how complex and delicate sea fans are. The underside of the lamp shade is covered with imperfect rounded slices of sea sponges, giving it a completely different sense of texture and shapes from the outside.

The lamp shade crowns a thick bamboo stand. Small knots and scars dotting the bamboo trunk add to its character.

There is the realisation that this is more than just another elegant lamp decorating a home. It is at once a piece of art, an element of the sea and a giver of light.

What is so remarkable about this lamp is that just a few months ago, the essential parts, the sea fans, sponges and bamboo, were taken from a rubbish pile on a remote beach.

Luelan Bodden is  a local artist who has been gaining attention for his work in driftwood chiselling, painting, ceramic and cement. The sea fan lamp is his latest creation.

Sitting in his garage studio, Bodden talks about the inspiration behind  the sea fan lamp.

“I was walking on the beach in North Side and I could see that with all the different hurricanes passing by, sea fans, sea sponges and other things had accumulated on the corner of the beach,” says Bodden. “I became fascinated with this. So I put some of it  in a bag and put them in my van. And for months I thought about how I could use this.”

The answer came to Bodden when he noticed an old lamp shade at his sister’s house. Bodden would end up using that same lamp shade as a mould .

Sea fans are naturally flexible so it is very easy to mould them into the shape of a lamp shade. He also uses varnish and bronze, brown and green paint to create its unique look. Bodden wasn’t quite sure what he was going to do with the sponges shaped into cylinders when he started. But then he realised that if he cut them, they would form nice round shapes which he used  to cover the inside of the lamp shade.

And since Bodden is also an electrician, he already had the know how to wire up the stand as a functioning lamp.

However this is not quick art. Each lamp takes about 30 to 40 hours to make so Bodden  is not sure how many of the sea fan lamps he will be making. But for now, buyers will be able to find these lamps at Pure Art, says Bodden.

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