Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Storytelling with Russian Nesting Dolls, part 1

For Mother's Day, I received a set of matryoshka dolls hand-painted as a family of five Inuit women and girls with animal totems. (Just so you know for your searches, other Anglicized spellings of this Russian name Matryona meaning "little mother" include matreshka and matrioska.) Preliminary research in Google Images on the different designs for matryoshka yielded some surprising (and slightly scary) results in addition to the beautiful creations we've come to expect. I found nesting dolls of the Beatles, the band KISS, divas of American pop music, plus a few politically-themed sets that made me want to avert my eyes in modesty.

This set, however, is my cup of tea.

I found the dolls painted in the style of Haida American Indian art in a shop in the downtown part of my city. When I saw them, I went weak in the knees. These matryoshka were the dolls for which I had been waiting. After agonizing over the price, I decided that they would be a fitting Mother's Day present. I brought them home to Bede, made my intentions known, and pretended to forget that they existed so that I might be surprised later. It worked (mostly). Bede said, "They are exactly the sort of matryioska I would have picked out for you," so I did not presume too much.

I will attempt to show you my version of "Little Marysia," following the model from Anna Pellowski's collection of tales,The Storyvine. Pellowski's version has an agricultural setting. My version takes place in a library or bookstore, or any other place where I am getting paid. It'll take a few days to get the photo-essay together. If you have an idea of where the story should take place, please leave a note in the comments field. The winning entry will receive a free saint.

Addendum 05/19/05: I don't think there's going to be a "part two" any time soon.


galetea said...

there is a very groovy crafts company that provides you with COMPLETELY BLANK nesting dolls so that you can paint your own. I'll try to find the name of it. I did one for The Rock Star's family a few Christmases ago. I bet that's something you'd enjoy lots! :)

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Bede, perhaps, would enjoy the project more than I. He is the artist, after all. I am the person who appreciates the work of the artist. It's important to have people like us around! I only wish I were rich, and then I'd be a PATRON OF THE ARTS. I'd be anonymous, of course, in order to serve humanity better. Yea rah!

RK said...

Alkelda, the name of this groovy crafts company that provides completely blank nesting dolls is Golden Cockerel and I'm a co-owner of it :) I have a one-of-a-kind nesting doll that would perfectly fit your collection. See the images of this Nothern Tale nesting doll and (a veiw from the back). The doll is in my workshop in St.Petersburg, Russia. If you have some ideas on what's the best color for the Yellow Submarine you are welcome to share you comments at my blog :)