Pajaki (pah-yonk-ee) are traditional Polish chandeliers made from rye straw and paper. Their history dates back to the mid-18th century.
Suspended from a ceiling in a main room, amongst colourful paper cut-outs, paintings and paper flowers they became a popular decoration in Polish village houses. Made by country women as decorations for their homes especially for Christmas, Easter, as well as for weddings and christenings. They were a symbol of harvest and happiness in New Year.
Originally made from materials available during winter like peas, beans, thread, feathers or yarn and from the late 19th century straw was decorated with different varieties of paper flowers and ribbons.
The craft was being practised less and less, but Karolina Merska is a pajaki maker reviving the tradition. She has travelled extensively in Poland to unearth and understand the history of the pajaki, to meet the makers, hone her techniques and to help regenerate this lost art. Her work has been published worldwide, including on Channel 4, The World of Interiors, House and Garden, Elle Decoration, Elle Deco Italia, The Telegraph, Time Out, Harpers Bazaar and many more. As a Polish maker who has studied the pajaki tradition extensively, she is a perfect teacher for the pajaki craft.
In this course, she will teach you the skills and techniques to create a basic 2-layered pajaki, with 9 traditional Polish “kalinka” pom poms.
In 46 minutes of video and additional downloadable material, you’ll learn:
• A brief history of the pajaki
• How to choose colours and where to find your inspiration
• The basic construction of the pajaki, including wrapping the hoop
• How to make a “kalinka” pom pom
• How to assemble all elements to create your very own pajaki chandelier
• Course outline, with illustrated guidance
• Materials list, with recommended products
• Further reading recommendations
Please note, some of the pajaki making process is repetitive and some of the video lessons, such as the “kalinka” pom pom lesson, show the same action several times. Once you have mastered your first “kalinka” pom pom, you will go on to make 8 more.
This course has been shot with a combination of a one locked-off shot and one hand-held camera in Karolina’s East London studio to give a documentary-style feel and to best capture the beauty of the traditional pajaki making process.
Price is £60 which reflects Karolina's extensive research into uncovering this lost craft through multiple visits to Poland over many years, and our pricing supports artists and makers in their ongoing artistic endeavours.
You can split the cost over 6 months if preferred and receive the course immediately.
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