These wonderful "Pajaki", are one of the brightest gems in the Polish folk art crown. Originating in the rural Lowicz region in the eighteenth century, the chandeliers or mobiles were traditionally made by women during winter months when outdoor work was suspended. Literally translated as ‘spiders of straw,’ the ornate hanging decorations were crafted from humble and easily accessible materials including straw, paper, feathers, yarn, scraps of ribbon and string and brightened Polish homes during long, cold winters.
One theory of how Pajaki came into being was that poor peasants, peering into the windows of the mansions owned by wealthy aristocrats, were transfixed by the crystal chandeliers they saw there and decided to produce their own versions.
Pajaki making used to be widespread in the Lowicz region, but today very few young people want to get involved with such a labour intensive craft (it can easily take over a week to make the more complex Pajaki), so sadly the skills will soon disappear. Alice and her husband, together with a handful of other surviving artists, are the last remaing master craftsmen still making Pajaki.
A favourite decoration for Easter, Christmas, christenings and weddings, we suggest keeping yours up all year long…
Of the Pajaki below, Nos 1, 2, 4, and 14 were made by Alicja and Eugeniusz, and are extra special. Click on the photos to view each Pajaki with dimensions and prices, then click once on the photo for a larger image