“Folka" is a portmanteau of Polka (Polish girl) and Folk, which simply means a Polish girl who likes folk.
Folka was born out of passion for folk and naive art by me and my dear friend Karolina Paczkowska Martin. We were both travelling across Poland to meet artists, record interviews and document their unique art. Without a car, depending on very irregular bus services, sometimes walking for long through a village in the rain to meet the artist.
Photo: Me & Karolina recording an interview with a folk artist Józef, 2019
Photo: Me & Karolina visiting a naive artist Józef, 2019
We opened Folka in January 2019 in Brixton Village in London. Our idea was to bring unique pieces you can’t see anywhere in London.
Shortly after, in August 2019 my friend Karolina decided to leave to look after her lovely twin boys. Since then I run Folka myself and I decided to move the shop to my neighbourhood Stoke Newington in February 2020. It happened just before the pandemic so the first two years in a new space were an emotional rollercoaster.
Folka is not only a place where you shop. I always had this strong need of sharing my Polish heritage. Folka for me is about people and their stories. I feel happy that I can support unique artists, as very often they feel forgotten. When I visit them, they open doors not only to their houses, but also to their memories, family histories. I feel nostalgic about the past. I know times, our lifestyles have changed and some things can be recreated. However, I will keep trying to revive traditional crafts, remember forgotten traditions and bring different generations together.
I've been thinking about starting a blog for a long time now. Et voila, this is my first post! I will be writing about interesting folk traditions and customs, embroidery, paper crafts, folk costumes, artists I met, about my travels. So many things I would like to share with you.
Hopefully you will join me in this journey.
I just read the story in the New York Times and visited your blog so that I could learn and discover more. I admire what you’re doing – Keep up the great work. Thank you for your inspiration. -Joe