gregory groth

Character Lighting with Handmade Paper

What is "Character lighting?"

Wishing to share the beauty of handmade paper and these novel designs with an appreciative audience, lighting products were designed and created to offer more than simple illumination. They occupy a new category I call "Character Lighting" one that describes this value-added lighting. Design selection enhanced by your personal artistic aesthetic.






Plant fibers such as hemp flax, abaca, and cotton are selected, processed and then dispersed in a water medium for sheet formation.The process creates unique fiber arrangements that are preserved in the final paper sheet and made visible when illuminated from behind. Qualities such as color, character, pattern, strength, durability, translucency, and aesthetic beauty are evidenced in the final sheet.

A Little Background

It was 1984 and I was doing a lot of writing at the time. I found myself holed up in a little cottage in the hills above the beach community of Negril, Jamaica. One day an expat friend from Toronto showed me a piece of paper he himself had made back in Canada. I was mesmerized by the beauty of the paper before me, the living quality it possessed, its simplicity. It was one of those “aha” moments when I realized I could augment my expression by writing words on paper I would create. Coincidentally, when I returned stateside later that year, The College of Art and Design in Minneapolis, Minnesota was about to offer it’s very first course on making handmade paper. I signed up and my lifetime association with it was born.

In those early days of the hand papermaking renaissance when almost everyone who engaged the medium was self-taught, I began investigations with paper as an art form rather than in its more traditional role as a substrate for other media. I became managing partner of The Artworks, a successful art cooperative on Orcas Island, Washington, where I experimented with the craft and sold two and three-dimensional works in paper.

In 1995 I moved to Maui, Hawaii and continued handmade paper explorations excited by the native fibers found there. On Maui, I designed and built new proprietary equipment for making paper that transformed what was possible by introducing new techniques and processes.

After moving to Northern California in 2002, I settled in the Napa Valley and built my current paper making and production facility. After these many years, I continue to marvel at the beauty of handmade paper and delight in exploring its possibilities as artistic expression. May you find delight as well.

PO Box 97 Napa, CA 94559 (415) 987-9148