Friday, 23 September 2011

there are more owls inside

I am fascinated by Russian dolls, or matryoshka. I really don't know much about them or their history (but there's a good post about them here), but for me they represent maternity and reproduction, the extraordinary fact of one person coming from another. They also make me think of the way we all have multiple selves: look inside me and there are many women, each one different, each one me.

Of course, part of the fun of nesting dolls is that the traditional ones are often painted the same, so there is the delight of progressive miniaturisation (you know, the way smaller versions of things are always appealing?) As a child, I always most loved the tiniest doll, and I preferred the sets where she was (almost) as beautifully detailed as the largest mother-of-mothers.

For a beautifully eclectic and international collection of nesting dolls, click here to visit Ingrid's Nesting Doll site.

It occurred to me that this curvy shape would make a good owl and I started to have visions of owls nesting one inside the other. A glance around the web led me to many interesting examples of this. I am most definitely not the first person to spot this affinity!

There are classic, realistic owls, like this beautiful set by Terry Savage, creating an odd family of a Snowy Owl, a Great Horned Owl, a Barn Owl, a Screech Owl and a little Saw Whet Owl still sitting in his eggshell (how cute!)

There are also strange, stylised owls, like these ones, which seem to capture an atmosphere of Russian folkiness with the use of black/gold colours, lace, tree imagery and a spooky skeleton as the final doll.

I discovered a whole world of extraordinary matryoshka artists, like Irina Troitskaya, who creates all kinds of dream-like animals in the form of nesting dolls. If only I could discover what was inside these owls...

I also love this set found in My Owl Barn's Flickr photostream: the funky, slighly 70s colours and forms and the characterful owls with big, stylised features are so appealing. Unfortunately I haven't been able to find out any more information about them so far. I'll update if I do.

*update* These amazing owls are from Things With Wings. You can find out more about them in this interview

Finally, I'm not the only one in our household to be fascinated. Baby owl plays with his "poupée russe" (Russian doll) every day at the moment. He especially loves it when he opens a doll and a smaller one leaps out, it makes him laugh!


Erika Lee @ A Tiny Rocket said...

How cute are those owl ones. I always loved these because especially when I was a kid because it was like a mini with in a mini.

Blue Eyed Night Owl said...

These are lovely:) I'd seen some around but others were new to me, like the lacy owls, so pretty!

Unknown said...

Glad you like them!

I've updated the post with more info about the lovely Things With Wings set.

Moorea Seal said...

so many owls! so cute :)
xo Moorea

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