PURO Q&A: Karolina Merska

People and spaces create the essence of a city. Architecture, unusual places and objects, strange nooks, well-known paths, emotions, and memories. In our cycle PURO Q&A we ask those who inspire us about their ways of creating and experiencing cities. Artists, designers, and creators of the contemporary urban world.

Our next guest is Karolina Merska*. Pole in London, art historian, promoter of Polish culture abroad, designer of unique jewellery pieces "bobbin & bow", lover of charity shops and treasures "with soul".



When I want to wind down...

I like to hide at home and stay alone in complete silence. Do nothing, watch a good movie, flick through overdue magazines and books. If I am in Poland my solitary escape is to a little plot by the lake. Small village surrounded by forests. My parents built a tiny wooden house which became synonymous with relax to me. I've only started appreciating that place recently.

When I feel like meeting people…

And if it's Sunday - I join crowds of flower lovers at Columbia Flower Market. I don't mind a bit of jostles and scuffles between the blooming stalls. This is an intrinsical element of a trip to obtain a desired bouquet or seedling. I also like to hang out at cafes, inhaling the smell of fresh coffee and people - watching.



I walk...

with great pleasure! To places that are familiar to me as well as yet undiscovered. In London there are plenty. I enjoy getting lost in unknown streets. I always face new cities while walking. That's the best way to get to know its atmosphere, locals, nooks and crannies. My current flat's location encourages walks. Overlooking a canal, with marshes around the corner, horse stables in their midst, school of canoeing, even the smell is different, like countryside.



My greatest discovery...

Paintings of the Italian artist, Giovanna Garzoni. I have no comprehension how it's even possible that I hadn't encounter her art before. Her still lifes, so unique and unusual amongst her contemporaries, actually look very fresh and relevant today. They were created in 17th century though, and commonly only Artemisia Gentileschi gets a mention as an early female artist. Together with my friend, we founded a culinary-artistic project inspired by Garzoni's work.



When I want to buy something unique...

English charity shops are one of my favourite features of the urban landscape. I cannot resist them. I always have the impression that some unique, unusual piece is waiting for me. Whenever I find a Polish pottery I buy it right away. I wonder, who it belonged to and why was it abandoned?

Besides, Anthropologie where I would move in if I could and Brixi - a small shop in Brixton Village. The owner Emy marries vintage and modern pieces beautifully. I have personal sentiment to this place - it was my first stockist in London.



I love Christmas Markets where I can always find unique and lovely gifts. I take part in many of them myself and I had a chance to meet great, fascinating people and designers.  


I always carry with me...

Phone, notebook and something good to read.


Things I always keep in my backpack are…

My camera always travels with me as well as notes about monuments and places worth visit. Hoummus, tea, biscuits and a certain cereal are the compulsory contents of my baggage when I visit Poland.


*Karolina Merska - history of art graduate from the Jagiellonian University in Cracow. Since 2007 lives and works in London. Co-founder of the nonprofit organization called Deconstruction Project, promotor of Polish culture abroad, operating by 2013. Designer of unique jewellery under the brand "bobbin & bow" a lover of things "with soul".


Foto credit: Ola O Smit and Karolina Merska.





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