Pajaki chandeliers are brightly coloured and made from paper & straw. Originally used to brighten up the home during winter we think they would make amazing decorations at events. They’re so delicate and you could select your colours to suit your styling.
Recently cited by Elle Decoration as a hot trend for 2017 we spoke to Pajaki creator extraordinaire, Karolina Merska, of Bow and Bobbin to find out more about them.
What is your background and how did you get into textile design?
I was always into art & design so after high school I moved out to Krakow to study History of Art at the Jagiellonian University.
When did you set up Bobbin and Bow and where are you based?
Shortly after my graduation in 2007 I moved to London and 2 years later I set up Bobbin & Bow and started making jewellery under this name. I started making Pajaki in 2015 and I didn’t really have time to work on another jewellery collection but I decided to keep the company name.
We understand that you specialise in Pajaki, traditional Polish chandeliers. Can you tell us a bit about their history and how they were used?
Pajaki (pah-yonk-ee) 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 and christenings. Today the tradition is practised less and less. I want to keep it alive.
Your designs are very bright and modern; what sort of materials do you use?
I use traditional materials like rye straw which I harvest myself each summer in Poland and tissue paper. Usually I use only 3 colours so they’re not as colourful as ones you can see in Poland.
Can you tell us a bit about the processes involved in creating them and where you get your inspiration from?
Pajaki are very time consuming. A medium sized design takes 2-3 days to finish while a bigger piece can even take a week or longer. I start with a colour scheme and mood boards. I need to pre cut straw, paper discs and tissue paper for pom poms. Traditional pom poms are made of 30 layers of tissue paper and each layer needs to be rolled into thin tube. It’s very repetitive process so you need a lot of patience.
I find inspirations in fashion, architecture. I want to give them my own touch and contemporary feel so I experiment with new materials and shapes.
We think your designs would be amazing at events or weddings. Can you tell us how your chandeliers are used?
They are very versatile. Traditionally, Pajaki used to be made to decorate Christmas as well as weddings and christenings. I am happy to see them as part of wedding decor. I meet lots of brides at my workshops and remember that one of them took her Pajak to Ibiza for her wedding. I’ve also recently started running hen parties for a bride and her friends to make a chandelier to decorate a wedding. My designs are also available to rent.
Kids love Pajaki as well so I get commissions for smaller chandeliers. I think that Pajaki are so unique and cheerful that they fit any interior.
We loved your giant chandelier for Brixton Village. Can you tell us a bit more about this installation?
It was the most exciting and the largest Pajak I’ve made so far. Designed especially for London Design Festival it hung in Brixton Village market. It had to be waterproof so I reimagined and reinvented old techniques. This Pajak was 2 metres in diameter and over 3 metres high and was made of thousands of hand cut & hand sprayed acetate discs, hand cut pieces of plastic drinking straws & colourful florist foil pompoms. Unfortunately we had to take it down so now I keep it flat in my studio. I am looking for a new space for it as it would be great to see it hanging somewhere again; St Pancras Station would be perfect…
Could you tell us about what you’ve been working on lately?
I have been invited to take part in an amazing project “Polish Design Island” showcasing emerging contemporary Polish designers. Pajaks made entirely of biodegradable paper, will be shown in Gdańsk, Brussels, Łódź, Copenhagen and Szczecin during design festivals.
What plans do you have for the rest of 2017?
This year has been creative and filled with so many exciting projects so far. I am working on a new installation for this year’s London Design Festival at the moment. As I did last year, I am going to use unconventional materials – metal tubes instead of rye straw. My installation will be exhibited in the Department Store (the old Bon Marche shop) as part of a new development by architects Squire and Partners in the heart of Brixton. I highly recommend you to visit and have a look around as interior is stunning. I will be also running Pajaki making workshops during “Design Circus” which will take part inside the building on the 23rd and 24th September.
Also, I am happy as I keep getting private commissions and 3 of my chandeliers will travel to Houston in Texas.
Time before Christmas is always busy as I run lots of Pajaki workshops and love to see them spinning around in so many contemporary homes in London during Christmas.
(Images copyright: Karolina Paczkowska, Rocio Chacon, Ola O Smit)
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To get more ideas or help with your event talk to the team on 020 7610 2808 or email email@example.com
For more information about Bobbin and Bow visit Karolina’s website here.