New East Digital Archive

This artist is transforming Poland’s traditional straw chandeliers into modern sculpture

4 May 2018

Created from rye straw and paper, traditional Polish pająki symbolise health and happiness.

With their bright colours and dangling threads, they once decorated countryside homes for Christmas, Easter, weddings and christenings — but now the tradition is slowly dying out.

London-based artist Karolina Merska is now fighting to keep pająki alive, complete with geometric updates and modern materials. By replacing straw with brass tubes and cotton thread with metal wire, she created a contemporary pająki-inspired geometric chandelier for Squire and Partners’ Brixton office, landing herself an exhibitor’s spot at London Design Festival 2017 in the process.

As well featuring at this year’s London Craft Week, Merska now runs masterclasses, creates individual commissions, and is in the process of setting up her own online shop.

London Craft Week 2018 will be running this year between 9 May and 13 May. For more information, visit the festival’s website here.