Arts + Crafts

Polish Paper Chandeliers

November 6, 2009

Good morning friends! Today I have a few artists to share with you, another fabulous photographer and a shop tour of a favorite blogger of mine who happens to be a seriously talented interior designer with a gorgeous shop in addition to her blog — so stay tuned for that. First up is a little something I’ve been spotting around the web and they’re referred to as Polish paper chandeliers, mobiles, and Pajaki. Have you also noticed these beauties?

Polish Paper Chandeliers

The first time that I heard of them in the online craft community was when Laura Normandin of WREN handmade talked about them on her blog. Above is the photo that she took of one purchased at a Polish Art Center in Michigan made out of tissue paper. In Polish they seem to be called Pajaki Polish Paper Chandelierswhich translated to English means something like spiders of straw and so I’m guessing it has to do with its web-like patterning. Pajaki are typically made out of crepe paper and wool. You can learn more about them below. Want to see a few more?

Polish Paper Chandeliers

Inspired by her find, Laura tapped into her creativity and talent and made her very own paper chandelier since her husband’s family is Polish and she wanted to present one as a present to his aunt. Here is Laura’s translation of what she found above. Isn’t it magical to view such examples of how a creative mind translates what they see into a new creation unique to them? Let’s view another example of this by a second Brooklyn-based designer.

Polish Paper Chandeliers

Inspired by Laura’s modern translation of the Pajaki, Lena Corwin created some for a recent show that she curated. Again, another spin to the Polish paper chandelier that looks and feels uniquely Lena. But wait, I have another to share from one last artist who I found out also makes them.

Polish Paper Chandeliers

This one was made by The Small Object. I’m not sure if she was inspired by the artists above, or if it was simply coincidence, but no matter… hers is stunning and very detailed, too. I especially love how she placed tiny white paper flowers at the end of each strand.

The Polish Art Center website has this to say about these beautiful works of art, “Located 90 kilometers from Warsaw the town of Lowicz and surrounding villages comprise the center of what many consider to be Poland’s most colorful folk region. A typical village house from this area was full of colored flower paintings, fancy paper cut-outs and mobiles made of straw and colored paper. The mobiles or pajaki are delicate creations hand made by the women and girls of the villages as decorations for their homes. The finest examples of this folk art from the 19th and 20th centuries can be found in the local museum located in the town square. As Poland continues on the path to modernize the country the number of folk artists grows smaller. Our selection represents the finest examples of the older generation still practicing their craft.” Here are a few that they sell online below in case you’d like to see more of the traditional styles. Looking up from below, you can clearly see the web-like design which better explains their name.

Polish Paper Chandeliers

Aren’t you feeling a bit inspired now to make one for yourself? Though the traditional ones are stunning (shown above), I feel more drawn to those made by the talented ladies I’ve featured here because they are a bit more modern and less ornate. What do you think? They would be beautiful for a party at home, or in a kids room or even as a window display in a shop? So festive and fun!

If you like folk art, you may also want to research the Polish paper cutout art called Wycinanki primary found in two parts of the country: Lowicz and Kurpie. It’s very intricate and beautiful and much like the intricate German paper cutting design called Scherenschnitte, which I’m learning about currently as I’m fascinated by lots of the Swiss and German art of paper cutting. My aunt, before losing her to illness, was a fine artist and a Waldoff school teacher who also taught at an art school in Denmark. Having lived in Russia, South America, the U.S., Austria and Spain, she not only learned Russian and Spanish fluently, but studied art and design in these countries applying lots of traditional techniques to her work. As a child, she sent me many of her creations as gifts – and they fascinated me because I lived in South Carolina with very little exposure to the outside world in my small coastal community. The boxes that would arrive with her beautiful works inside along with pretty stamps on the packages from foreign destinations, set in me at an early age this desire to see the world and learn more about art and design. I’m saying this because if you are a mother, or an aunt, or anyone who has the chance to influence a child — I strongly encourage you to share things with them things that aren’t necessarily mainstream craft — share what they’re not exposed to on a daily basis because I believe this inspired curiosity in me and helped to develop my own creative mind further and it has made my life so rich. With my mother crafting, decorating, hanging her oil paintings all over the house, and making all of my clothing as a child I was also inspired to explore arts and crafts from a very early age by her as well.

While I’m not sure if learning about art and design and exploring the traditional works of other cultures makes you a better or even happier person, I do believe that it helps to connect us with others and can cause a greater respect and appreciation for their heritage and even their world views through their crafts (as a good part of traditional hand work stems from cultural beliefs, religious and other). This can also create sense of harmony between cultures. There is so much prejudice out there but barriers can be broken through education and understanding. Often prejudices aren’t based on anything real — just a passed down perception from peers and even family members — and if altered somehow and one is taught more about a specific culture then prejudices can be broken. So, I guess in the end, learning about art and design does make us a little happier because when there is harmony and peace, there is joy.

(images: linked to their sources above)

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26 Comments

  • Reply Goosia November 6, 2009 at 6:39 am

    I’m so happy that you actually posted that on your blog since I’m also Polish. Thank you and all the best to you.

  • Reply Polly November 6, 2009 at 7:14 am

    Wow they are so fun!

  • Reply Shokoofeh November 6, 2009 at 7:17 am

    Pleasantly beautiful !
    .-= Shokoofeh´s last blog ..LIFE … =-.

  • Reply Agnieszka November 6, 2009 at 7:21 am

    Have a look here. This site works like the etsy place – http://www.pakamera.pl/search.php?opis=1&search_q=wycinanki+wycinanka&itemsearchok=ok&kategoria=&kolor=0&artysta=0&cena=1&jump=

  • Reply Sarah Wallis November 6, 2009 at 7:22 am

    I love these chandeliers-teh traditional ones and the different interpretations too. I had not seen them before. I was lucky enough to see some Polish papercuts at a local museum where we went on a school trip. They were so beautiful and the children loved them! Here is a link-though the pictures are pretty poor-I was hurrying along at the pace of a four yea old boy who likes art but is in a hurry!
    http://circles-of-rain.blogspot.com/2009/04/plastic-frogs.html
    Also, if you have not seen this artist you should have a look. I can’t remember where I first saw her and if it was your blog I apologise for re-recommending things you already know! Her work is amazing.
    http://madebyjulene.com/
    .-= Sarah Wallis´s last blog ..Rambling =-.

  • Reply erin November 6, 2009 at 8:00 am

    yes, indeed. doing a little learning about another culture has never hurt anyone. and my goodness are these chandeliers beautiful! happy weekend!
    .-= erin´s last blog ..the field house. =-.

  • Reply Lydia, Clueless Crafter November 6, 2009 at 8:37 am

    My husband is part Polish Jew and my best friend is a entirely Polish. Both of them seem to know nothing about this wonderful craft. Do you know if this is a Polish thing or did it also have significance for the Polish Jews??

    I can see this as a mobile over my child’s crib!
    .-= Lydia, Clueless Crafter´s last blog ..Armed and Aproned =-.

    • Reply decor8 November 6, 2009 at 8:44 am

      Lydia – Not sure, but I’m American and don’t know everything about every craft movement in my own country, so perhaps it’s the same scenario. Plus these mobiles seem to have their roots in two parts of Poland, so many it is not really a national craft that young kids learn in school or anything… but I’m only guessing based on some of my research earlier today. You may want to do some digging… :)

  • Reply Gosia November 6, 2009 at 8:44 am

    Hello from Poland!! Lydia! As far as I know these mobiles – “pajaki” have nothing to do with Polish Jews. They are a part of Polish culture in the centre of Poland, in and around the city of Lowicz ( mentioned in the post ).
    .-= Gosia´s last blog ..Czu?e Dotykanie Dachów =-.

  • Reply DEB November 6, 2009 at 8:56 am

    This is a wonderful post. Thank you! I wrote a similar article on contemporary Polish artists and how they are being inspired by traditional folk art here

    http://kickcanandconkers.blogspot.com/2009/09/going-back-to-their-roots.html

    I included a photo of Agnieska Lasota’s gorgeous wreaths there.

  • Reply Goosia November 6, 2009 at 9:07 am

    It is mostly Lowicz folk art, so it is a local thing rather than a national art. Almost each region of Poland has its own folk art, but only few of them are still ‘celebrating’ their traditions.

    Here you can find some more information about this particular folk art: http://www.polishfolkart.com/home/83/inne/english.htm

    and other:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/lalootka/sets/72157600045461718/
    http://www.jarmark.net/folkart/ozdoby.html

  • Reply donna November 6, 2009 at 10:02 am

    I was born in Poland but emigrated to Canada as a young child so I’ve never heard of these before but “pajaki” (pronounced pa-yon-ky) translates to “spider webs.” Beautiful stuff!

  • Reply Melissa de la Fuente November 6, 2009 at 11:27 am

    Oh, these are just incredibly gorgeous! I am now coveting all of them! Must.get.hands.on.one.
    xo
    Melis
    .-= Melissa de la Fuente´s last blog ..Melissa loves: Little Black Fences =-.

  • Reply vita_margarita November 6, 2009 at 11:47 am

    Hi!
    This kind of chandiliers is done in Sweden to. Take a look here: http://www.slojdmagasinet.nu/hemslojd_oro.htm
    It’s an old tradition.

  • Reply Anna November 6, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    wow I’m Polish and I’ve never even seen those! awesome find Holly!

  • Reply Kim B. November 6, 2009 at 2:46 pm

    These are simply gorgeous. And I have a grand affection for all things Polish, so they’re doubly special! I’d never heard of them; thanks for sharing.
    .-= Kim B.´s last blog ..On Foreign Languages and Me, Part the First =-.

  • Reply elke November 7, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    Thank you for sharing this Holly— my father just died, and was polish…. I just finished a day of the dead altar for him and love that these polish chandeliers are similar to the paper flowers used in mexican altars. lovely!
    .-= elke´s last blog ..trust your struggle =-.

  • Reply lush bella November 7, 2009 at 3:09 pm

    i’m very inspired by these holly! absolutely beautiful!

  • Reply Desiree Fawn November 7, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    These are so neat! I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like this — beautiful! Thanks for sharing <3
    .-= Desiree Fawn´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday (A Rare Jaunt With The Stroller) =-.

  • Reply Kerstin November 8, 2009 at 6:29 am

    These chandeliers are beautiful! I love and want! Thank you, Holly, for showing so many lovely things on your blog that otherwise I would probably miss out on.
    .-= Kerstin´s last blog ..cookie cutter collection =-.

  • Reply Penny Patten November 9, 2009 at 10:37 am

    Very fun! What a great idea.
    .-= Penny Patten´s last blog ..Nature’s Beauty =-.

  • Reply Sophai February 2, 2010 at 3:37 am

    Absolutely beautiful!

  • Reply Lyla February 26, 2010 at 9:03 am

    Oh wow!
    I love how you’ve grouped everything together!
    Taking inspiration from your great post, I tried to make one all the way over here in Bahrain!
    If you want, you can check it out here!
    http://teainthesea.blogspot.com/2010/02/how-to-make-pajaki-or-polish-paper.html

  • Reply liliana March 29, 2010 at 11:44 pm

    Hello,

    my name is liliana and my sister is getting married this summer. We are originally from poland and she wanted to have these around her wedding as we used to make them when we were kids.

    i was wondering if you know where you can purchase straw for these crafts? i live in north canada and would perfer to order on line… any assistance and help in this matter would be greatly appreciated.

    liliana

  • Reply paulina January 27, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    “paj?ki” means – spiders :)
    I happy to read your blog. I am from Poland :) bye :*

  • Reply Kelly December 16, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    Hello There. I discovered your blog using msn. This is a really neatly written article.
    I’ll be sure to bookmark it and come back to learn more of your helpful information. Thanks for the post. I’ll certainly return.

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