Stack 'em up! Matryoshka dolls have been entertaining grown-ups and tots alike for more than a century. The Russian wooden dolls — which are characterized by their nesting abilities — are now finding a new generation of fans, who are enjoying the traditional babushkas as more than just dolls. Check out these fun finds that incorporate the Matryoshka theme beyond just the nesting dolls.
Somehow Matryoshka dolls are still trendy after a year, but I suppose that's because they're so darn cute. I couldn't pass up the Saidie Matryoshka Doll Ornament ($9), which will bring a bit of traditional Russian kitsch to your Christmas tree this holiday. The original Matryoshka illustration was printed with a Gocco onto linen fabric, hand sewn, and stuffed. I love how the embroidered ribbon adds an additional little touch of ornamentation. If dolls aren't your thing, Saidie also sells sweet birdcage and bird on a branch ornaments.
As further evidence of the omnipresence of nonsouvenir matryoshka dolls, the jm2 Matriochka Blackboard ($113) has come all the way from Lyon, France to the shelves of Rose and Radish here in San Francisco. Much like the DIY Nesting Doll I wrote about, this blackboard inspires creativity. Although it'd be funny to read Bart Simpson's infamous blackboard comments here, I'd much rather see how one could interpret the traditional doll with some colored chalk, perhaps draw some embroidery, and arms with bling bangles sticking out from under her cape. Are you a fan?
I don't quite crave these Personalized Nesting Dolls ($1200 for five) for myself (that'd be lame), but they'd make a comical gift for a particular party of five that I know. Sweaters are so overrated, right? Illustrator Trisha Krauss will make a custom set of these Russian Matryoska nesting dolls for you and your family, or your friends. Just send in a full-length picture of everyone in the clan, and she will produce sketches for your approval and then transfer the images onto the wooden dolls. These Matryoshka dollies, hand painted in acrylic on wood, certainly are trendy, but they'll be a cherished gag for years to come.
I'm pleased, but not surprised to see these DIY Nesting Dolls ($12) new at Urban Outfitters, which outfitted my Trend Alert: Non-Souvenir Matryoshka Dolls widget last week with three other matryoshka décor items. I have a sneaking suspicion that their buyer moonlights on the Russian tourism board...but regardless, the bare surface of these dolls is a blank canvas for anyone with a creative touch.
As a kid, I always hoped to have a generous relative vacation in Russia, so I'd wind up with a set of Matryoska nesting dolls to play with. I still think the dolls are cute, inventive, and entertaining, but would like to rid my home of airport souvenirs. So, I've been happy to see the Matryoshka imagery and shape creatively re-envisioned as home accents and other furnishings.
The nesting dolls have inspired the imaginative designs of pillowcases, quilts, plates, dish cloths, piggy banks, chairs, and even vodka bottles! Possibly my favorite Matryoshka-inspired design is the Unasukin, an adorably cute little collectable Japanese doll that helps you make decisions by responding to your questions with a nod or shake of the head. Nod your head to the traditional Russian design by getting your hands on one of the products below.