Star-Filled Paper Pajaki Chandelier at The Paper Place

You know the saying, 'If you want a job done, ask a busy person'? Such was the case when I spotted an Instagram image of a stunning all-white pajaki in a shop window. Made by Heather Sauer, owner of The Paper Place in Toronto, Canada, and despite it being retail's most hectic season, she was kind enough to take these beautiful photos and answer my questions about its construction.

all-white paper handmade pajaki in a store window decorated with stars and snowflakes

First, I'd best define a pajaki in case the term is new to you, as it was to me. The Polish word translates to spider, which explains why, when you look at the #pajaki hashtag on Instagram you'll see quite a diverse batch of photos...  colorful pajakis, many made with bright yarn pom poms along with images of huge, furry spiders... you've been warned. :)

store window featuring a white paper pajaki
 
According to a tutorial on Martha Stewart's site [edit: no longer available], paper chandeliers, or pajaki, are a traditional Polish folk craft designed to brighten up the home with bold spring blooms during the long winter. Traditionally made from reeds, tissue paper, and foil, these ornate decorations can be made from many supplies found at your local crafts store.

detail of all-white paper pajaki element at The Paper Place in Toronto, Ontario
 
When I wrote to Heather, I exclaimed that her pajaki looked so perfectly made. I bet customers must comment on it all the time, as they should! 

all-white paper ornament on a handmade pajaki

The reality of owning a business means that her time is filled with administrative and non-creative tasks, but she replied to say she loves the holiday season and looks forward to designing and making the window display each year.

white paper straw construction of a handmade pajaki

Last year she traveled with her mother and sister to the Christmas markets in Switzerland, Germany, and France, and was inspired by the paper stars and decorations everywhere. She had been wanting to try her hand at her own version of a pajaki, so decided for the 2018 window that she would incorporate the two ideas into one. Thus, she worked with a snowflake theme for the chandelier and fashioned all of the components from paper.

hula hoop covered with white crepe paper, framework detail of a handmade pajaki
The elements on the chandelier are a combination of pieces I designed and patterns that I purchased (the tassel one, for instance). Some of the pieces I cut by hand and others were done on a cutting machine and then assembled by hand. The whole chandelier took about a week to make, working on it in chunks at a time. 

white paper tassel
 
The basic construction is hula hoops that I covered in crepe paper, along with straws and a combination of text weight and card stock papers in warm white.

 white paper stars and snowflakes

 The star light in the middle is one I actually purchased from IKEA (a necessary time saving cheat :)

 Details of a hand-constructed pajaki including white paper tassels, stars and snowflakes

I suspended it from the ceiling at my studio and built it hanging to make sure everything was level while I strung the elements together. That part was a little more challenging than I expected, but I got there in the end. 

framework of an all-white paper handmade chandelier

I went to school for Archaeology and Museum Management/Curatorship so, of course, now I have two retail stores - lol. But ever since I was little, I was forever making things and have always had a love of exploring the possibilities of what can be done with paper.

White paper snowflakes, tassels and ornaments on a paper pajaki

Heather has owned the Toronto, Canada store on Queen St. West in the heart of the city's Art and Design district since 2005. While it would be fantastic to visit the shop in person, The Paper Place online shop has a large selection and ships internationally.

Paper snowflake ornament on a handmade all-white pajaki

You'll find thousands of papers from around the globe, crepe paper, gift wrap, washi tape, origami kits, ornaments, art prints, stationery, calendars, planners, party favors, and even gift items like on-trend embroidered brooches and Rifle Paper Co. enamel pins. That's quite a list!

white paper handmade pajaki chandelier hanging in a store window

The Paper Place is on Instagram as @thepaperplace and Facebook, @paperplace.

white paper dimensional ornament on a paper pajaki

Wishing you a light and love-filled holiday season and a bright new year!

 
Ann Martin
Ann Martin

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Comments

  1. Such a beautiful paper chandelier, thank you so much for featuring it. Very inspirational and a lovely thing to see at this time of year.

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    Replies
    1. My pleasure, Karin, and I agree with you... it’s very special.

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  2. Just gorgeous, thanks for sharing and Merry Christmas!!

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    Replies
    1. So glad you enjoyed it, cate, Merry Christmas!

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  3. so beautiful! Another Toronto artist makes pajaki and will be teaching a workshop on Nov 30, 2019. Check it out: https://www.facebook.com/events/513766086100293/

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for letting us know, Bozena. What is the artist's name?

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