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Polish Paper Chandeliers

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 which 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)

Posted by decor8 in Arts + Crafts on November 06, 2009

Your comments...

  1. Goosia commented
    November 6th, 2009 at 6:39am

    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.

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  2. Polly commented
    November 6th, 2009 at 7:14am

    Wow they are so fun!

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  3. Shokoofeh commented
    November 6th, 2009 at 7:17am

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

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  4. Agnieszka commented
    November 6th, 2009 at 7:21am
  5. Sarah Wallis commented
    November 6th, 2009 at 7:22am

    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 =-.

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  6. erin commented
    November 6th, 2009 at 8:00am

    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. =-.

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  7. Lydia, Clueless Crafter commented
    November 6th, 2009 at 8:37am

    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 =-.

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  8. decor8 commented
    November 6th, 2009 at 8:44am

    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… :)

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  9. Gosia commented
    November 6th, 2009 at 8:44am

    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 =-.

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  10. DEB commented
    November 6th, 2009 at 8:56am

    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.

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  11. Goosia commented
    November 6th, 2009 at 9:07am

    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

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  12. donna commented
    November 6th, 2009 at 10:02am

    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!

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  13. Melissa de la Fuente commented
    November 6th, 2009 at 11:27am

    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 =-.

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  14. vita_margarita commented
    November 6th, 2009 at 11:47am

    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.

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  15. Anna commented
    November 6th, 2009 at 12:47pm

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

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  16. Kim B. commented
    November 6th, 2009 at 2:46pm

    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 =-.

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  17. elke commented
    November 7th, 2009 at 12:43pm

    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 =-.

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  18. lush bella commented
    November 7th, 2009 at 3:09pm

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

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  19. Desiree Fawn commented
    November 7th, 2009 at 3:58pm

    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) =-.

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  20. Kerstin commented
    November 8th, 2009 at 6:29am

    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 =-.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  21. Penny Patten commented
    November 9th, 2009 at 10:37am

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

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  22. Sophai commented
    February 2nd, 2010 at 3:37am

    Absolutely beautiful!

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  23. Lyla commented
    February 26th, 2010 at 9:03am

    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

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  24. liliana commented
    March 29th, 2010 at 11:44pm

    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

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  25. paulina commented
    January 27th, 2012 at 1:55pm

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

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  26. Kelly commented
    December 16th, 2012 at 8:38pm

    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.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

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