Written by Joan Bramsch

RUSSIAN MATRYUSHKA NESTING DOLLS A Puzzle Wrapped in a Mystery Inside an Enigma!

by Joan Bramsch

Photographs by Lynne Payne, showing some of her 60-set nesting doll collection

Matryushkas Dolls have been created by Russian craftspersons for hundreds of years, at least back torepparttar mid 1700s. And yet, it is said a man named S. V. Malyvtin borrowedrepparttar 116354 idea ofrepparttar 116355 "take apart" dolls from a Japanese toy maker, althoughrepparttar 116356 Japanese claimrepparttar 116357 first doll was created by a Russian monk onrepparttar 116358 island of Honoshu, Japan. So even its inception is a mystery! The bright toy's introduction torepparttar 116359 world followed when a medal was awarded duringrepparttar 116360 Paris World Exhibition in 1900.

There is some controversy aboutrepparttar 116361 name "Matryushka." Some linguists sayrepparttar 116362 origin ofrepparttar 116363 word goes back to an old-fashion name Matriona, common among peasantry. The first four letters of matryushka - "Matr" - has Latin roots, but also comes fromrepparttar 116364 Russian word for Mother - a whole different meaning. Sorepparttar 116365 nesting dolls represent bothrepparttar 116366 national motherland and actual motherhood and fertility; that's why they are traditionally painted like women, round figured females with babies inside. Onrepparttar 116367 other hand,repparttar 116368 idea of nesting dolls may have come fromrepparttar 116369 legendary idol called Jumala fromrepparttar 116370 Ural Mountains. It was made of gold, and was hollowed out to hold three smaller idol figures.

The present day nesting doll concept continues to be popular in Russia after years of beingrepparttar 116371 national toy and a favorite tourist souvenir. Designs constantly change and evolve to relfectrepparttar 116372 times. For example, duringrepparttar 116373 Victorian era, to overcomerepparttar 116374 Modernism art form present atrepparttar 116375 turn ofrepparttar 116376 Century,repparttar 116377 crafts people paintedrepparttar 116378 dolls in pastel peasant colors and added country designs like a rooster or a loaf of bread in artful illustrations overrepparttar 116379 costume.

The first fine-art Russian matryushkas were made inrepparttar 116380 prestigious art center withinrepparttar 116381 walls ofrepparttar 116382 Sergei-Posan monastery, famous sincerepparttar 116383 14th Century for its art, in Zagorsk, 50 miles north of Moscow. These nesting dolls are highly professional and original, created in good taste and a variety of themes. The techniques used are also diverse - from dab painting to other artistic devices like icon painting. The gilded domed monastery complex is still a feast forrepparttar 116384 visitor's eyes. Within these grand buildings there exists a toy museum, opened in 1918 and filled with evolutionary examples ofrepparttar 116385 nesting doll, from peasant women to noble ladies and hussars. Nearby, vendors in an open market sell a wide variety of matryushkas to tourists and natives alike. Merchants offerrepparttar 116386 traditional dolls, as well as, ones with exquisite icon paintings onrepparttar 116387 sides. They even sell Disney and O.J. Simpson designs!

Todayrepparttar 116388 designs continue to be individualistic with each artist's imagination, adding historical, ethnic, fairy tale or animal patterns torepparttar 116389 dolls' decoration. Some American shops offer upward of 4000 different styles. Most ofrepparttar 116390 traditional designs come from villages inrepparttar 116391 European part of Russia, around Moscow. Each style inherits its name fromrepparttar 116392 area it which it originated. Polkhovsky Maiden and Krutets inrepparttar 116393 Nizhni Novgorod region doll designs are more massive and less graceful with larger patterns than other models. They use many contrasting colors - blue, green, yellow, crimson, even purple. The typical detail inrepparttar 116394 pattern is sweetbrier,repparttar 116395 so-called northern rose, painted both as an open flower and a bud. The northern most village making matryushkas is Vjatka. They've only been producingrepparttar 116396 dolls sincerepparttar 116397 1930s. Their dolls are typically northern characterized - large blue-eyes and decidedly shy. Its most distinctive feature is rye straw inlay stuck on wet lacquer.

The Semjonov village art school characterizes their matryushka dolls, which are taller and slimmer thanrepparttar 116398 short Sergiev Posad doll, by fine and specific graphic techniques which turn bright floral designs into elegant ones. This technique produces an embroidery lace effect aroundrepparttar 116399 apron and shawl.

Many art centers disbanded afterrepparttar 116400 fall of communism and only individual artists or small groups work in other locations. Matryushkas are made from aged linden, birch or lime wood - depending onrepparttar 116401 techniquerepparttar 116402 artist has in mind, poker work (using a hot metal rod to burn patterns intorepparttar 116403 wood. Nowadays they also use lasers), watercolors, or clear lacquer - each doll piece is hand-turned in as many as fifteen separate steps,repparttar 116404 smallest doll first. The logs are dried inrepparttar 116405 open air for several years until they are ready to use. Only an expert can tell whenrepparttar 116406 logs are not too wet, not too dry. When prime,repparttar 116407 logs are cut into workpieces forrepparttar 116408 dolls. The whole set has to be made out ofrepparttar 116409 same chunk of wood to insure that every piece ofrepparttar 116410 set will react inrepparttar 116411 same way to changing temperature and climate conditions.

Make a Miniature Easter Egg Tree

Written by Joan Bramsch and Vicki Metzger

How To Make A Miniature Easter Egg Tree

Tools: craft knife, scissors

Supplies: - 1" dia. container or clay pot - 1/8" dia. dowel, 3" long - 1" dia. styrofoam ball - shredded greenery - foam or moss - oven-bake clay - Easter egg colors - 1/8" diameter ribbon (optional) - scrap styrofoam - white tacky glue - moss or ground coffee for ground cover



1. Glue scrap styrofoam inside container. 2. Glue ground cover over styrofoam. 3. Apply glue onto end of stick and insert into center of pot. 4. Cover 1" styrofoam ball with glue and apply shredded greenery.

Cont'd on page 2 ==> © 2005
Terms of Use