Artist Paints Story of Russian Nesting Dolls

April 4, 2014

by AJ Dickinson

The Aaron Cutler Library, along with the Litchfield Middle School, invited Russian lecturer, historian, and award-winning artist Marina Forbes to host a “Russian Nesting Doll” storytelling and painting program at the middle school on March 29.  This extremely accredited artist’s unique workshop focused on the rich Russian tradition of Matryoshka or wooden nested doll painting.  The fun family event, open to adults, teens and families with children 6 and older, was a great way for Litchfield locals to learn about traditional Russian crafts and culture.  Besides learning about the origin of the Matryoshka and tradition Russian dress and customs, attendees also were taught Russian painting techniques for floral and berry designs.  The goal for the workshop was to produce a finished piece of Russian folk art on wood.  Marina’s students could be seen enjoying traditional Russian music as they worked on a three-, five-, or seven-piece Matryoshka set.  During a brief break from the painting, Forbes offered a fun cultural twist by demonstrating a few steps from a traditional Russian Matryoshka dance.

Marina Forbes, a graduate of the University of St. Petersburg in Russia, has not only written extensively on Russian traditional arts, history and rich tapestry of her culture; but is also licensed with the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg.  Among her many credentials, Forbes is also featured on the NH Council on the Arts Roster for Arts in Education and Traditional Arts.  Every year this devoted artist leads cultural tours to her home country where she regularly updates her scholarship by gathering photos and documents and visiting craft factories, Gulag sites and monasteries; all while interviewing journalists, political figures and scholars on current state affairs in Russia.  Marina’s distinctive ability to generate energy and enthusiasm helped her to bring to life the rich tradition of Russian art and folklore for her audience.  Marina is a valuable resource for all institutions interested in introducing their community to Russian culture and arts through her memorable and thought-provoking workshops.