I find nesting dolls fascinating, and I liked the idea of using them to tell a story. I began to develop this notion based on the song “There Was An Old Woman Who Swallowed A Fly,” which has a cumulative structure that perfectly reflects the composition of a nesting doll. Unfortunately, the song was not from any of the decades chosen for my toy sculptures, so I had to find a period-appropriate piece of rhythmic prose.
A Book of Nursery Songs and Rhymes is a beautifully made book published in the 1890s that anyone can appreciate for its artistry in design. When I went through it, I was immediately drawn to the entry “The Fox.” First, because foxes are my favorite animals and, second, because it is such a dark tale, as ultimately are many children’s stories.
I purchased a pre-fabricated nesting doll, and then illustrated the separate pieces based on the story. While harder than expected, I had a great time doing it. The rhyme that inspired my work appears on this page. Click on the image below for a larger view.