The Art of Pajaki Making by Fran Meneley

Pajaki is a traditional Polish paper chandelier made from straw and pieces of paper scraps. Our guest blogger, Fran Meneley, attended a Pajaki making class with Two Hands Paperie owner, Mia Semingson. Fran writes about her experience making these beautiful chandeliers and how it has inspired her to continue being creative.

“As we begin the slide into fall, I’m happy to remember the beautiful, high summer day I spent at The Makerie Summer Series, “For A Gathering”, July 7, 2013 at the Lyons Farmette. It was a hot stretch in July and the day started out cool as I checked in next to the creek. I was there to take Mia Semingson’s Pajaki (paper chandelier) class. Other lucky students got to choose from Daisy Chain Jewelry Making, Farm Fresh Flower Arranging, Letterpress Invitational and making Summer Clutch purses.

Classes were sprinkled across the Farmette property, and we had this lovely covered outdoor classroom, just off the kitchen/teaching pavilion, with lots of space to spread out.

 FRANtables

An experienced and thoughtful teacher, Mia had a great class packet for us filled with instructions and the supplies we need to get started on our Pajakis. Pajaki is a Polish folk art form and means literally, “spiders of straw”. Traditionally crafted during the cold winter months, they were made for Christmas and Easter to bring good luck and good health.

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Mia has put her own special spin on them and created a class that taught the basics and encouraged everyone to make theirs individual. She provided the wooden rings (embroidery hoops) and the Swedish Straws that make the structure of the Pajaki, along with a plethora of gorgeous decorative papers from her jewel of a shop, Two Hands Paperie along with these felt pompom decorations. So many lovely color choices.

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Once we learned the basics for the structure, the real fun begins choosing our colors and beginning the decorating. Mia created this ingenious pulley system with string so we could work on them hanging. Mia’s amazing and talented staff created class samples for us to see and learn from. We learned several paper flowers and tassel designs to begin to embellish our own Pajakis.

 FRANmia

I covered my hoop with an old map and made rosettes from some gorgeous paper that Mia had for us. The little bluebirds are German Dresedn Trim also from Two Hands Paperie. Although I didn’t finish my Pajaki in class, I got a very well informed and good start. I finished it at home by adding another layer of Swedish Straws, paper medallions and some Polish Stars as well as some dangling tassels.

Fran Pajaki strip

It now hangs in my studio enlivening the space and cheering me on. It’s a really addictive craft…I’ve been eyeballing colored straws everywhere I go and just got a new book on paper flower making with an eye toward including them in future Pajaki making.

The classes were followed by a farm tour, cocktail hour and farm dinner on the sprawling Lyons Farmette lawns. As twilight descended and the stars came out, we were all sad that our special Makerie day was over. As always it was a pleasure to spend the day with Mia and to learn about, and share, her passion for Pajaki.”

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Read more from Fran on her personal blog at www.franmeneley.typepad.com or take an upcoming class with her at Two Hands Paperie.

To learn more about Pajaki and other classes by Two Hands Paperie, visit our event and class schedule. Here you will find an array of classes that will inspire your creative side. And don’t forget to follow us on Pinterest to see what Two Hands Paperie is creating next.