Russian nesting doll tattoo a commemoration of sisterhood


Morton’s tattoo took four and a half hours. 

News Editor

When senior Bekah Morton got her first tattoo, she knew exactly what she wanted. Bekah and her sister, Sarah Morton, 18, had been planning on getting a matching tattoo for two years and saved up over the fall semester to get the tattoos together over winter break.

On Jan. 3, Bekah and her sister went to True Blue Tattoo on Airport Boulevard to get tattoos of a matryoshka doll, also known as a Russian nesting doll.

“It seemed symbolic of sisterhood,” Bekah said. “They have meaning to us as sisters, but it’s not a part of our culture.”

While growing up in Austin, the two collected matryoshka dolls and continued the tradition into Bekah’s college years. While Sarah was still in high school, she lived with Bekah for two years until she left the University of San Francisco in August 2014.

The sisters decided to go to True Blue Tattoo because their mother had gotten inked by one of their artists, Tank Girl. Bekah met with the artist to work on designing their tattoo. 

Sarah had already gotten five tattoos before this one, and told Bekah that it wouldn’t be painful. Sarah went first to try and quell Bekah’s worries.

“She honestly didn’t care,” Bekah said, describing her younger sister’s reaction to the pinching needles. 

“It hurt a lot worse than I was expecting because Sarah has such a high pain tolerance,” Bekah said.

The tattoo artist started with the outline of the design and worked her way onto filling in the color from the bottom up. “The shading was the most painful part,” said Bekah.

Each of the Mortons’ tattoos took four and a half hours, resulting in a nine-hour day at the tattoo shop. 

The result was a colorful tattoo on the sisters’ upper arms; Bekah’s on the right and Sarah’s on the left. In addition to the Russian nesting dolls, the sisters added their own unique touches in their respective designs.

Morton chose to have red roses, her favorite flower, be a part of her design while Sarah included a mandala, a spiritual symbol that represents the universe in Buddhism.

Now that Bekah has passed the first milestone of getting inked up, she is already planning for the next one.

“I was saving up for another smaller one; it would be a hummingbird on my collarbone for my grandma,” Bekah said. “All my tattoo ideas are for people.”