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, weddings and christenings; they are 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Originally made from materials available during winter like peas, beans, thread, feathers or yarn and from the late 19th century straw was decorated with different varieties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.
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 over 45 minutes of video plus additional downloadable material, you’ll learn:
Originally from Poland, Karolina Merska moved to the UK in 2007 shortly after obtaining an MA in History of Art at the Jagiellonian University Krakow in Poland. Inspired by Polish folk art, she started making Pająki chandeliers in 2015. Her work has been published worldwide, including Channel 4, The World of Interiors, House and Garden, Elle Decoration, Elle Deco Italia, The Telegraph, Time Out, Harpers Bazaar and many more. Exhibitions include London Design Festival 2016, 2017, Ace Hotel London 2016, Brussels Design September 2017, Łódź Design Festival 2017 and Copenhagen 2017. She loves sharing her knowledge and teaching Pajaki craft, running workshops in her studio in East London and worldwide.
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