June 16, 2014
Living in London for many years now, not only the city has changed, but also jewelry designer & founder of Bobbin & Bow Karolina Merska: “It gives me the courage to do the things I love and to live the way I like.”
I have always loved to travel and discovering new places. While on a high-school trip to Cracow I fell in love with that beautiful, historical city so I moved out from my parents’ home when I was 18 to study History of Art there. First time I visited London during those studies I felt like having a break and going places so I decided to take a mid-uni gap year. I came here. I was overwhelmed with museums, exhibitions, artists. I had only read about all this in books, now it was readily available. That year wasn’t enough though. Looks like I fell in love with a city again as only a month after my graduation I came back to London.
Shortly after I got a job at the National Gallery. Surrounded by amazing works by Piero della Francesca or Jacopo Pontormo – it was the best place to continue studying art, having the best works literally within an arm’s reach. And this feeling of walking through dark gallery’s rooms early in the morning and lights turning on around me, making those exquisite paintings appear from the darkness to be seen again, will stay with me forever.
In the meantime, we set up deconstruction project together with friends – a non-profit arts organisation to present Polish culture to the London art scene through international collaboration. It was such a great and fulfilling time for me, we managed to organise a lot of interesting projects, exhibitions and gigs. It meant a lot to me and gave me the chance to meet so many creative people whom I am friends with until today.
Since I can remember I was also a crafty person and that’s how my jewellery brand Bobbin & Bow was born in 2009. Because I was always so busy working on different projects, it has never been my full time occupation until last year when I decided to focus on this more and more.
My jewelery is a reflection of my interests, personality and my constant interest in art, fashion and design. I draw inspirations from the paintings, nature and beauty of random objects. There is always a story behind each piece. I like working and experimenting with different materials – hand-cut and hand-dyed lace, silk thread and various, unusual precious stones. For my last Winter Collection ‘Druzy Wonderland’ I used amazing striped flint beads – rare and unique stone which can only be found in one location on earth – in Poland, near the town of Sandomierz and beautiful Baltic amber beads from Gdansk for my recent collection. My new Summer Collection ‘Reef’ is for all of us who love to collect shells, fossils and keep them in jars. I hope that it takes you back to a sunny resort or into the summer wilderness. I really enjoy doing this. I am planning to learn how to work with metal, so I can make all designs I have in mind.
Time flies here in London, I can’t believe I have lived here for 7 years now. Over all these years, I used to live in North-East London, in Angel, Stoke Newington and Dalston. I was always tempted to move to another side of the river to discover a different face of the city but somehow always stayed here, close to my friends and my places. I feel like home here.
I moved to Clapton not a long time ago. The amazing greenness of Hackney Marshes is just outside my window, with a horse riding school only within a short walk. I feel like being in the countryside. I love walking by the canal to visit Hackney Wick or Zaha Hadid’s Olympic swimming pool which is open to the public now. I think you can find whatever you need to create your own tiny word inside this big city.
And I discovered my favorite café here just around the corner – Cooper & Wolf. It reminds me of my favourite cafés from Cracow. It’s an amazing space filled with flowers, vintage findings, and the smell of delicious coffee and Swedish cinnamon buns baked by the owner Sarah.
London still surprises and inspires me. It gives me the courage to do the things I love and to live the way I like. I love living here even though sometimes it’s tough and you have to find a compromise. It’s interesting to observe how the city is changing over all these years and how it has shaped me.