By Renée Gruszecki
Yes, we are making a cobweb chandelier for your birthday
My Polish tutor and friend, Magda celebrated her birthday last weekend so I decided to surprise her with an evening devoted to crafting a Polish paper chandelier called pajaki, drinking fruity vodka tonic concoctions and consuming scrumptious frosted chocolate cupcakes (and believe me we needed the extra sugar to get us through the project which lasted just over 4 hours).
Pajaki are elaborate paper chandeliers that originated from early traditional folk arts and crafts practices in Poland. During the winter months, Polish peasant families fabricated them for Christmas, New Year’s and Easter. The word pajaki literally translates from the Polish as spiders of straw as pająk actually means spider. So you might say that the chandelier serves as the spider’s ornate web… and what a web it is to weave. Unfortunately, there are very few resources available in print and online on how to construct a pajaki. Design Sponge (Here) is a good place to start as it offers quite a few images of sample chandeliers that will undoubtedly inspire. (Look for a tutorial Here) In the end, Magda and I chose to improvise. We started by fabricating flowers and other decorative elements out of tissue paper which we then patiently assembled on the fly.
Traditionally, pajaki’s are made of paper products and straw but feel free to get creative and use any materials that you may have on hand (we actually managed to incorporate a recycled bread bowl and a plastic bracelet into our design, can you spot them?) Best to keep your materials light though so as to ensure that your chandelier doesn’t come crashing down on you and your guests.
Various colors of tissue paper
Regardless of the materials you end up using, you are guaranteed to have a most memorable and amusing time creating your own pajaki , that is if you go easy on the vodka!
Happy Birthday, Madga!