This month we launched a brand new programme of design workshops all run from our Tufnell Park store and studio space. Our very first was Pajaki Chandelier Making with Karolina, the lovely owner of Bobbin & Bow
Karolina Merska is a jewellery designer and founder of Bobbin & Bow living in London. As if that wasn’t enough she also makes beautiful pajaki’s. Pajaki (pah-yonk-ee) literally translates as spiders of straw in Polish. We know, the word spider creeped us out as well, but we promise there’s nothing creepy about them!
Pajaki are traditional Polish chandeliers made from rye straw and paper. They symbolise health and happiness and date back to the 18th century when they were made in the countryside by women as decorations for their homes. Pajaki were especially popular at Christmas and Easter and at weddings.
Today the tradition is practised less and less but Karolina keeps the tradition alive. We asked her some questions about these Polish chandeliers as we enjoyed the workshop so much.
When did your interest for pajaki start?
It was love from the first sight. I remember I was stunned by their delicate structures and colourful paper flowers. I knew I have to make some for myself. About two years ago I have started working on my pajaki and this is how it started.
How did you discover them?
It was in a museum in Lublin, my hometown where I saw them for the first time. Later when I moved to Krakow to study History of Art I discovered more of them. Their history dates back to the 18th century and they are very important part of Polish folk culture.
Which materials can you use to make one?
Traditionally, they are made of rye straw and paper.
Where do you get inspiration from?
I am inspired by tradition but I don’t only want to copy old designs. I want to give them my own touch and contemporary feel. I find inspiration in fashion, architecture. I am working on a new geometric piece at the moment which will be made with a new material.
Where do you like to put them as decoration?
Anywhere! Really, they look amazing in a living room, kitchen or a bedroom. Symbolically, they supposed to bring you a good luck and happiness.
Can you hang them outside as well?
Yes but only if you make one using waterproof materials. I designed a giant waterproof pajaki for the London Design Festival last year. Instead of rye I used plastic drinking straws and I made pom poms of colourful florist foil.
Is it possible to do one with your kids?
Definitely, kids can help threading straw and paper discs. They love them as they are so colourful and spin around.
How many pajaki’s do you have at home?
Only one at the moment. My home used to look like a folk museum but since I moved to a bigger studio I took all pajaki with me. My studio is open for visitors so everyone is welcome to come over and see the pajaki.
Karolina will be running another workshop with us in October so get in touch if you’d like to sign up. We cannot wait!