Producer: Jessica Martin Videographer: Dan Bronson Editor: Pam Chipman Audio: Gene Koon, Thom Dentler
Lam Quang grew up in a Vietnam rocked by war, but also a Vietnam where children played and lit up the skies at night with homemade lanterns, celebrating the lunar festival.
“Kids would have these lanterns made of bamboo and cellophane,” Quang said. “And we’d get to carry that around in the night in the shape of a rooster or a pig. … We got to run around with those for one night and have moon cakes and tea.”
Drawn from his childhood memories, Quang handcrafts sculptural lanterns out of bamboo frames and his own handmade paper. For years he could be found in his studio in the back of his HiiH Gallery on Alberta Street in Northeast Portland, creating his graceful pieces shaped not only like traditional lanterns but also botanicals, animals, and abstract and organic shapes.
Eventually, Quang traded in gallery life in the busy Alberta Arts District for a barn with sheep and chickens on the northern Oregon coast. Today he can be found there with his wife, artist Kestrel Gates, and his two children offering paper making classes and hosting open houses – and still making his custom-made paper lamps.