Upon a Fold

A little peek into the world of paper artistry

hiih paper lights... January 18, 2013

hiih_7 hiih_12 hiih_5 hiih_11
hiih_4 hiih_8 hiih_6 hiih_10 hiih_3 hiih_2 hiih_14
This film is so beautiful and inspiring, and well I may have watched it a dozen times already, but each time I notice something new and I’m inspired all over again. It’s the story of two artists, Lâm Quảng and Kestrel Gates, a husband-wife team who work together to make handmade paper lights. HiiH Lights (pronounced ‘Hi Hi’) can be found here.

I really enjoy discovering how things are made. Here is Lâm and Kestrel’s process for those of you who would like to know more.

The Process
The first step is to form the armature. We use wire or bamboo, designing each lamp with the light fixture in mind for proper heat ventilation. The armature can be any form, shape or size. Often inspiration comes from flowers, sea creatures, insects, or an Asian aesthetic. The paper is made of an abaca and cotton blend, using a mold and deckle to form sheets. The sheets are pressed with an eight-ton press to bind the fibers. We apply the damp paper to the armature one panel at a time. No glue is used, just a soft brush to fold back the edges onto themselves forcing the fibers to bond together. Once the paper has dried taut, the piece is painted with watercolor paint using brushes and airbrushes. When the paint is dry a resin is applied, acting as a protective layer that strengthens the lamp structurally and gives the paper a translucent, glowing quality. The final step is to configure the electrical components, at which point the light is ready for installation.

Watch the film here.

Thank you to the director of this film, Tristan Stoch for sending me the video. Cinematography by Sean Grasso.


Anonymous — 18 January at 01:38PM

So lovely to find Hiih here on your blog. I was introduced to their work when I was writing my book. Can’t wait to watch the video (won’t play on this device). They make beautiful lights and are such a sweet couple!

joyce — 18 January at 02:43PM

Thanks for sharing! It’s a lovely video and very inspiring.

Justine — 19 January at 02:05PM

Thanks guys. Glad you enjoyed this.

Ceci — 08 March at 08:18AM

Love it!

Leave a Comment

Only the comment field is required. Omitting the ID fields increases your risk of being mistaken for spam.

tweet this
  • UAF_B_HM
  • HOF