Some babushkas, or grandmothers tell their children that both men (Zvyozdochkin and Malutin) were divinely inspired to create such an ecclesiastic and refined work of art. Zvyozdochkin and Malutin decided to design a doll that would convey the very core of the Russian dusha, or soul, which represents specific Russian cultural and artistic traditions to the world.
Although the artistic design and popularity of Russian stacking dolls has greatly evolved through the decades, the methods that are used to produce them haven't changed at all since 1890. The process of making the dolls is very meticulous itself, and greatly relies on the wood turning skills of Russian craftsmen. Nesting dolls are usually made from oak or birch wooden blocks. Timber that is used to manufacture nesting dolls is cut down and stripped completely of its bark and stacked in piles in order to allow for air flow and proper conditioning of the wood. Once the craftsman determines that the wood is ready to be cut, the logs are then sawn into planks.
The wood is then turned about 15 times in the hands of a turner before becoming a finished doll. At that stage, the blank nesting dolls are hand-painted by specially trained artists with the brightest colors and the highest attention to detail. Due to the high amount of precision and the complexity of design that go into making babushka dolls, machines cannot be used at any stage of the process. In fact, it is the hard work, craftsmanship, and effort of both the artist and the wood carver that, through a process of almost magical metamorphosis, for over 100 years have come together to turn rough blocks of wood into the uniquely beautiful works of art, recognized the world over.