Aug 4 2011

True or False: Ten Interesting Facts About Annette Himstedt

Annette Himstedt Doll Artist 2008

Annette Himstedt Doll Artist

Annette Himstedt’s dolls were known by doll collectors around the globe but many people don’t know so much about Annette herself and how she became such and influencial and beloved doll artist. Here are some interesting facts about this wonderful doll artist:

10. True or False… Annette Himstedt was a fashion model.

True! She was a fashion model and used this to earn a living while learning the art of doll making.

9. True or FalsePuppen Kinder is the just the German translation for Puppet Children.

False! Annette trademarked the name Puppen Kinder her dolls in 1986. It translates from German as Doll Children.

8. True or False… Annette Himstedt made Sesame Street dolls.

True! When Annette began to learn doll making, she made a little Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street for herself.

7. True or False… Annette was approached by an Arab Sheik to make a portrait doll of his niece.

True! Annette was very well-known for her portrait dolls in the 1980s. So famous was she that a Sheik from the Arab Emirates contacted Annette to create a portrait doll of both his daughter and his niece!

6. True or False… Annette’s first Puppen Kinder doll was based on a real person.

True! Annette based Fatuo on a little girl she met while traveling to Senegal, Africa.

5. True or False… Annette created all of her dolls in Germany.

False! Before she built her doll manufactory in Paderborn, Germany, Annette traveled often to Spain to oversee the work on her vinyl dolls.

4. True or False… Every Puppen Kinder has Annette’s initials or signature engraved on the limbs.

False! Every Puppen Kinder should but in 1991 Annette forgot to engrave Liliane’s and Shireem’s legs.

3. True or False Since 1996, each sewn part and original piece of clothing bear a tag with the name Annette Himstedt.

True! This is one of the ways you can identify original Annette Himstedt dolls and outfits.

2. True or False… Dark skin tones on Annette Himstedt porcelain dolls may require as many as 30 coats.

True! Annette was famous in the doll world for the many subtle variations in her skin tones and went to great lengths to attain the exact tone.

1. True or False… It takes a full day to fire Annette’s porcelain dolls in a kiln.

False! It actually takes more. Annette mentioned that it would take 26 hours to fire a porcelain doll.

Bill's Journey Book by Annette Himstedt

Bill's Journey Around The World by Annette Himstedt

All of the facts were taken from Annette Himstedt’s book Bill’s Journey Around The World. The 176 page hardbound book is more than just beautiful photos: Annette goes to great lengths to explain her efforts to become a doll artist and the processes by which her dolls are created. Bill’s Journey is available at The Toy Shoppe.

Aug 4 2011

The Book Bill’s Journey – Annette Himstedt In Her Own Words

Bill's Journey Book by Annette Himstedt

Bill's Journey Around The World by Annette Himstedt

There are many books about doll artists but very few have been created by the artist themselves. This coffee-table book about German doll artist Annette Himstedt is definitely something you will want to leave out and show off. With all of the beautiful photos (many are full page closeups) and the unique and interesting graphic design of the book this book will draw in and captivate anyone who sees it. Oh, and one more very interesting feature… since Annette Himstedt is a German doll artist the book is written in both German AND English. Annette would continue including both languages with her catalogs announcing the new collections.

The book is available at The Toy Shoppe. On their site it states:

She leads us on a wonderful journey and takes us into her studio and factory…

Originally published in 1997, it took four years to create this book with Annette writing the content herself. It was a family project as well since Dierk Himstedt is credited with the “ final Text” and Imke Himstedt is credited with the “Design.” The book was published by Bonifatius GmbH in Paderborn, Germany, the same town where Annette Himstedt’s doll manufactory was located..

Bill’s Journey Around The World is a unique book both in size and content. It is 176 pages, hardbound with a dust jacket that wraps the book in a bright blue coat. The book also features an index in the back showing her Kinder auz Porzellan (porcelain dolls) and her Puppen Kinder (vinyl dolls) up to publication. The book mainly focuses on Annette’s dolls but also includes and Annette Himstedt Autobiography section which chronicles in detail with photos the begining of her career up til the books publishing in 1997.

In 1985 Annette traveled to Senegal Africa for a UNICEF project. They were interested in a line of dolls based on the children of other cultures. Although the line was never produced, the trip had profound effect on Annette and was a huge influence in the diversity of her future dolls.

Bill's Journey Around The World book Annette Himstedt dolls

The photography in Bill's Journey captures Annette Himstedt's dolls at play.

The title of the book becomes apparent as you meet all of the beautiful dolls Annette has based on different countries and elasticities around the world. The photography is stunning as the dolls are placed in very interesting scenes often depicting their origin. You travel with Bill from Japan to China, Nepal, India, Zambia, Ivory Coast, Spain, France, Switzerland, Romania, Hungary, Germany, Finland, Sweden, Norway,England, Russia, Senegal, Tuscany, Greenland, Corsica, Belgium, Mexico, Kenya, New Zealand, and the USA.

Annette takes us to mythical places as well including  Above the Sea, Land of the Fairies, and Under the Sea. Under the sea features Undine, the incredibly beautiful, life-size porcelain mermaid that was the centerpiece in the foyer of Annette Himstedt’s manufactory.

Bill's Journey Around The World book Undine Annette Himstedt

Bill's Journey Around The World book features beautiful photography including this image of Undine by Annette Himstedt

Annette Himstedt’s artistic integrity and drive always pushed her to excel when creating her dolls. She pushed the limits on this book as well and all in all this is a magnificent, one-of-a-kind book. Turning each page reveals an unexpected and enjoyable feast for the eyes. Although Annette has closed her manufactory, this books remains a wonderful chronicle of her talent and artistry.

As mentioned before, the book Bill’s Journey is available at The Toy Shoppe in Richmond Virginia. They also have a good selection of Annette Himstedt dolls for sale including dolls from Annette’s personal collection as well as Annette Himstedt’s Artist’s Proofs.


Aug 1 2011

Annette Himstedt Farewell Collection

Annette Himstedt Cover Doll Reader magazine 2009

Annette Himstedt's Farewell Collection was the cover for Doll Reader magazine 2009.

When Annette Himstedt announced the closing of her factory in Paderborn, Germany, we were all saddened to think there would be no more new dolls by Annette. It was the Fall of 2008 and normally new dolls were announced in January or February at the Nuremburg International Toy Fair or the New York International Toy Fair. Annette began to tedious process of finishing the existing orders for the 2008 collection and then closing the factory. The manufactory was due to close in early-mid 2009.

In June of 2009 we were all surprised to see Annette’s announcement of the Farewell Collection in Doll Reader. It makes sense, really. To create a collection of dolls, Annette Himstedt had to begin the designing and sculpting process almost a year in advance. By the time the September announcement came out, Annette already had taken this collection very far into the process. But she still hadn’t considered finishing them. As explained in  Doll Reader:

Between Annette Himstedt’s September 2008 announcement and the final closing of her manufactory in April 2009, so many details had to be taken care of that she had not dared think it possible to finish the five dolls she had begun. In the last weeks, her old determination pushed her into overdrive — and Annette herself hand-finished every single doll!

The collection consisted of only five dolls – five very beautiful and compelling dolls. There is Kateri (blond girl in white dress), Ole (the only boy in the group), Antha (dark skinned girl with peach and white dress) and the Asian twins Mei Mei (with open mouth smile) and Ping Mei. Since the manufactory was practically closed, only five staff members remained and so much work was done by hand that only 42 of each doll was created. Compare that to the much larger editions of 300 or more of each doll over the years. The effort to bring these dolls to life was very moving to Annette:

Annette Himstedt Farewell Collection Catalog

The catalog of the final Farewell Collection was preoduced by The Toy Shoppe.

These five dolls are very special to me. Not just because they’re the last manufactured dolls I’ll ever produce, but also because they are truly wonderful dolls. … I can’t really put it into words, but these dolls ‘talk’ to me in a very special way.

Annette Himstedt’s Farewell Collection of dolls was represented solely by The Toy Shoppe in Richmond, Virginia. The owners, Danny and Barrie, have worked with Annette since they first met at the Nuremberg Toy Fair in 1986. The developed a close personal relationship over the years. According to the article:

Upon sharing the news of her manufactory’s closure, Annette collaborated closely with Barrie and Danny Shapiro of The Toy Shoppe  to ensure the appropriate ending of this chapter in her career. She is very pleased to announce that her final collection, as well as her own private collection of past dolls and artist’s proofs, will be represented solely by The Toy Shoppe.

These dolls were the final vinyl dolls Annette Himstedt made at her manufactory and are exceptional. The efforts and experience of her twenty-some years of making artist dolls came together to produce a truly wonderful and touching series… perhaps the pinnacle of her career in vinyl dolls.

And to think, these were the dolls she never thought she’d make.

Annette Himstedt Farewell Collection

The five dolls in Annette Himstedt final collection are Kateri, Ole, Mei Mei, Ping Mei, and Antha.

Jul 28 2011


Hi everyone!

Annette Himstedt Doll Artist

Annette Himstedt Doll Artist working on one of her early porcelain dolls.

This is the start of a new website devoted to the beautiful dolls by Annette Himstedt, a German doll artist who recently closed her manufacturing plant in Padeborn Germany and retired from doll making. Her dolls (also known as Himstedt Kinder) are very special and doll collectors everywhere in the world love them. So come back and see what new things we can find to discuss…