A few years ago, I visited my sister’s home on the Chesapeake Bay and was transfixed by a beautiful accessory in the guest room. My sister told me that it was a Japanese glass float. These floats were used for fishing, and were tied to fishing lines. The floats, when used with fishing lines, had nets tied around them, but often they would escape from the line when the net rotted or when storms washed them away (source). Finding Japanese floats is a beachcombers treasure. Of course, due to the popularity of collecting glass floats, many replicas are now made.
Here is a picture of my sister’s guest room – the Japanese glass float is on the bench in front of the window. My sister bought hers on ebay after a month of searching for the perfect color glass. Image via Decor magazine, interior design by Jim Hawes of Caldwell-Beebe.
I have had a hard time finding pictures of interiors with Japanese glass floats used as accessories, but was able to find a few. The dining room was recently featured in Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles; the designer is Meridy King (photo credit: Mali Azima). These look like Japanese glass floats; most Japanese floats are green tones, as they were often made from recycled wine bottles, however, clear, amber, aquamarine, and blue were also produced (source).
This charming picture came from The Old Post Road blog. I love the three different sizes of the floats, and how they reinforce not only the color scheme in the room, but also the round shapes designed in the sides of the coffee table. Also, it helps that this room has a lot of great light – light on both sides of the room. Light truly makes the Japanese floats come to life.
Brooke, from Velvet & Linen, recently came across a bowl of Japanese floats displayed at a Los Angeles flea market. (I met Brooke at Scott’s Antique Market yesterday; to see Brooke’s pictures from the day, please visit her blog).
Here is a picture of a Japanese float encased in a net.
When searching the internet for this post, I came across some interesting images. Brooklyn based Shibui Home (click here) specializes in Asian decorative products and antiques, and sells Japanese glass floats. They included some ideas for using Japanese floats in decor, such as these Japanese glass floats in a tall cyclinder. Note that there are a few that are rolling pin shaped; most Japanese floats are cylinders, but there were all sorts of shapes created for different fishing needs.
Japanese glass floats mounted in between two panes of glass.
I purchased some Japanese floats last year at Scott’s Antique Market; there is usually a vendor at Scott’s who specializes in Japanese floats and other nautical accessories. When I returned home with my treasures, I was dismayed to find that there really wasn’t a good sunny spot in my home to highlight the beauty of the floats.
So, I use a few around the house as bookends.
I also put a few of the smaller ones on the mantle of my bedroom fireplace, underneath my beautiful Amanda Talley painting (a birthday gift to myself last year!) . I really like them here – my room has a lot of blue in it, and the blue tones of these floats pull that out, but also look interesting contrasted with the light orange tones in the painting. The floats stay in place as they have an irregular surface, so it is not hard to find a position were they don't roll.
If you have ever seen Japanese floats used in decor, or have some yourself, please send me pictures - I am really intrigued with these little beauties!
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