HiiH — pronounced “Hi Hi” — brings together the function of light, the craft of paper, and the art of sculpture. Handcrafted in Astoria, Oregon, our designs are seen in residential and commercial settings as well as galleries throughout the country.
To see our work in person you can find our work in Portland at the Bamboo Craftsman. In Seattle, visit Kobo Gallery and ArtXchange Gallery. In Berkeley, visit Metro Lighting. Here in Astoria, where we live, you can visit Imogen Gallery where all our newest work is, or by appointment at our Barn Studio.
We are a husband-wife team who work collaboratively. Lâm makes the paper and the armatures and Kestrel paints the lights.
Beginning with natural raw materials, we employ both traditional and self-taught techniques. The rhythms of papermaking, wire bending, and papering, painting and waxing shape our days and weeks.
For us, this work feels both functional and expressive. We consider how the light will affect the feeling and usage of a space. We are deeply inspired by the natural world to invoke the cycles of new growth, of silence and fruition that we see and feel in our lives. Through our work, we hope to enhance these elements in other people’s lives. We also draw extensively on the wellspring of Asian aesthetics.
We use a wide range of natural materials in the creation of our lights, chosen as much for their colors, textures, and responsiveness to light as for their structural properties. We prepare and work all these materials by hand.
They include:cotton and abaca paper pulp
acrylic airbrush paint
wire of various types
welded steel, wood, and ceramic bases
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.
Lâm Quảng, originally from Vietnam, began making his own paper in the late 1990s. He soon turned his skills toward the creation of sculptural lamp forms, inspired by childhood memories of moon festivals. In time, Lâm’s papermaking skills reached a level of refinement allowing tremendous creative freedom. In 1998 he opened HiiH Gallery in the Alberta Arts District of Portland, Oregon.
Kestrel Gates joined Lâm in 2004, drawing on her background in the performing arts to enrich the design and creation of HiiH’s lamp forms.
You can read more about HiiH in the press.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does HiiH ship?
Yes! Our work is durable and we have shipped it through out the United States.
What wattage can I use in my HiiH lights?
Much of our work is made for candelabra-sized bulbs which go up to 60 watts. Larger pieces are designed for multiple bulbs, standard-sized, as well as rope lights.
How do I clean and care for my HiiH lights?
Cleaning: Use a damp cloth or a soft brush.
Care: If slight damage occurs to the surface, simply use a hairdryer or other heat to melt the scratched wax.
Can I use energy efficient bulbs?
Absolutely — most of our designs accommodate energy efficient bulbs of the appropriate size.
Can HiiH lights be outside?
Yes, under cover. The lights are water resistant, not waterproof, and must be brought inside during the rainy seasons.
Are HiiH lights suitable for the bathroom?