Stacking dolls

Earlier this year, I determined what I would make for my eldest daughter's Christmas present.  She is well on her way to becoming a fully fledged Dominican nun, which means that personal possessions are few and far between.  Christmas and birthday presents have become a balancing act between getting her something she'll enjoy, but which also fits into the monastic life (and can be shared).

I had a set of unpainted wooden stacking dolls (aka matryoshka dolls) that I purchased over 15 years ago, when I was doing lots of tole painting and decorative painting. They were calling out to be painted and I decided to create a set of Dominican nuns. The dolls were primed early in the year, which, of course, caused the wood to swell, and I took a bit of time to sand down the insides so the two halves of each doll could be fitted together without sticking.

Life then became quite busy and the dolls sat on the shelf until early November, when I realized that they were not going to paint themselves. One month later, they were painted, varnished and sent off to their new home.

There are more nuns in the monastery than dolls in this set, so I couldn't make a doll to represent each individual. However, I think I managed to portray the variety of skills, personalities and interests of this talented set of ladies. They sing, dance, garden, write (and publish) books, paint, bake, make soap, paper, candles, pottery, do woodworking as well. And that is only when they are not studying and doing all the rest of the things Dominican nuns do every day. They have a schedule that is busier than mine!