Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Art Fad Gains Popularity - Matryoshka Nesting Dolls

I'm not sure if the shop is still in Jack London Square here in Oakland, but we used to enjoy taking our Maya there to see the beautiful, hand-pained Russian nesting dolls called, "Matryoshka"...You know the kind...There is a large one and you pull the top off and find others in graduating sizes. I had a couple of sets when I was a child.

As the popularity of Matryoshka has grown, more people are interested in making their own customized art dolls. Kits are now commercially available to allow any artist to create their own unique nesting dolls.

They are often made to resemble political favorites, movie stars or other characters, even famous artists. A few weeks ago when I was in New York, I saw a set that was comprised of the likenesses of Picasso, Salvador Dali, Magritte and other notables in the art world. It had a $3800 price tag on it.

Matryoshka dolls range in size from 1/2" to life size and larger.

Custom painted gaming pieces are also popular. These chess sets are unique and may include the King, Queen, Rook, Bishop, Knight and Pawn as interesting conversation starters.

Other games and game characters, such as Mario and company, are cool as Matryoshka dolls.

Using kits of blank nesting dolls, an artist is limited only by the imagination.

Matryoshka dolls must nest inside each other, so hand painting them is a popular option. Some designers are creative with fabric and felt and create the look of more traditional soft dolls with their kits.

Favorite characters from movies, books and folklore are also often featured on nesting dolls. Santas of all varieties are collectors’ items, so it only makes sense that Santa Matryoshka dolls are readily available. Best loved characters from movies and cartoons also make nesting dolls really special to collector and some are worth thousands of dollars.

Dictators, presidents and world leaders are commemorated in Matryoshka dolls quite frequently. Collectors value these nesting dolls as historic timestamps, as the leader’s look during a particular election of time in power is recorded on each set of dolls. Russian presidents are a particularly popular subject of Matryoshka dolls.

From endangered species to beloved family pets, nearly all types of animals have been carefully painted onto Matryoshka dolls. Some nesting doll sets feature animals you might find in a zoo or endangered species.

Whatever the subject, Matryoshka nesting dolls have the potential to make it more interesting.


gerri said...

omg, i love the skulls! where did you find those?

Artist Victoria O'Neill said...

it's always a pleasure to listen to your art the matryoshka inspired cloth dolls so much.

Stacy Alexander