Throughout her career, Annette Himstedt has always shown her love of ethnic children with her dolls. She has created dolls that represent children from all over the world. Some of her earliest dolls, the acclaimed Barefoot Children series, were originally planned to be used to raise money for UNICEF. For her porcelain dolls, Annette used multiple firings to achieve the skin tones and make sure they were just perfect.
A beautiful example of Annette’s amazing ethnic dolls is Afrika Girl from 1992. No detail was overlooked. The skin tone is absolutely perfect. Annette described the work that went into getting Afrika Girl’s skin tone just right. “To get the coloring right was unbelievably difficult – with every trial the brown paint wouldn’t come out the way I wanted it to. I mixed pigments and painted like a lunatic.” – Annette Himstedt
Afrika Girl features mouth-blown glass eyes and the beadwork for her outfit was handmade by Annette from colored rocailles. This particular edition even comes with its own porcelain base allowing her to stand easily. When taken in as a whole, this striking edition truly blurs the line between doll and fine art.
In addition to Annette’s porcelain Masterpiece editions, she has created a number of ethnic dolls for her Puppen Kinder collections over the years. Shilin was part of the 2007 Sommer Kinder Collection. She is an exquisite doll of Asian decent featuring a real hair black wig and hand painted features. Her outfit was a designed b Annette herself and hand-dyed in soft pastel colors that were the motif of that collection.
Annette always did wonderful dolls of Asian heritage. Dating as far back as Makimura in 1988 Annette has exhibited a love for dolls of Asian descent. In 1993 she created Mohan and Mohini. Again, Annette worked diligently to replicate the flesh tones, this time those of children from India. Annette said this about her experience with Mohan and Mohini – “Mohan and Mohini are a beautiful couple. Modeling ethnic dolls gives me the greatest pleasure and it always seems to be a very easy process to me. They never cause me any trouble and they’ve always stayed fondly in my heart. “
For Mohan’s attire, Annette created a a rich outfit from hand-dyed silks. He has a large, elegant, amber bead as the centerpiece of his leather necklace.
Annette modeled her 1999 porcelain edition Jantje from a little girl from America. She considered the dolls she was creating as 3 dimensional portraits. She felt that porcelain enabled her to capture the nuances of realism that came through in a child’s face. Jantje features a gorgeous wig made of real hair that is decorated with handmade porcelain flowers. These delilcate editions were a labor of love. Annette described the trials of producing these complex editions as toy fairs quickly approached in 1999. “I had to work days and nights to get them done for the shows. It was as though they were jinxed. They kept shattering in the kiln and the toy fairs were creeping closer and closer. It was such an agonizing wait every time, because with each trial we’d only get the results after at least 26 hours. That’s how long one firing process took. I can’t count the times when we ran the huge kiln nearly empty, just to be able to finish individual pieces. Once we fired it up for just a hand-full of tiny blossoms. Anyone would have declared us insane… But I didn’t have a choice – I had to get everything finished on time.”
Annette closed her manufactory in 2008. She gathered all of her Artist’s Proofs to be sent to the U.S. to be made available to collectors. Understandably, it was a very poignant time. “When I last saw all my porcelain children and held them in my hands, it became very clear to me that they possess an unbelievable charm. I got very emotional in the process. It is my wish that you, dear collector, have the opportunity to appreciate and enjoy these special dolls. “ – Annette Himstedt