My Babushka Matryoshka

I have always loved Matryoshka dolls. I’d love to tell you about the set I had in which I’d named every of the 25 little dolls and could tell you a story about each of their lives – but then that would be a complete fairy tale.

My mum just returned from Russia and brought me a set that contained four dolls. Matryoshka means little mother and refers to each of the dolls decreasing down to size with the smallest often refereed to as the baby of the set.


It might just be my eye and imagination but the smaller two in my set definitely seem older, not younger.  I get a sense of the two of the biggest and youngest dolls are the living ones, and as the dolls get smaller (as women often do in old age) we carry within us part of our grandmother, her mother and her mother before her. Within us we carry threads of all the women in our lineage Рthe strengths, the traumas, the dreams and inspirations and sometimes the songs and the wonder.

Moscow, Russia, 2011. An exhibition of of giant Russian matryoshki dolls