Nov 12 2013

Dolls Inspiration From Around The World – Annette Himstedt

Afrika Girl Artist's Proof 1 of 1

Afrika Girl is a beautiful porcelain doll from 1992

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.

 

Shilin by Annette Himstedt

Shilin was an edition from Annette's 2007 Sommer Kinder collection

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.

Mohan Artist's Proof 2 of 2

Mohan is a young boy from India created in 1993

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.

Jantje Artist's Proof 2 of 2

Jantje is a lovely African-American porcelain doll from 1999

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

 


Aug 22 2011

Prince Namor: 2006 Club Doll by Annette Himstedt

Prince Namor - Annette Himstedt 2006 boy doll

Prince Namor - Annette Himstedt 2006 Club Doll

Over her career, Annette Himstedt create many more girl dolls than boy doll, but the boy dolls were very special in themselves. One was the 2006 Annette Himstedt Club doll, Prince Namor. As part of the Children of Atlantis collection, Prince Namor shared many of the unique characteristics from this underwater theme. His clothing was designed by Annette herself and contained real, hand-painted, golden-iridescent shells in it. According to Annette, over 60,000 shells were painted for the outfits in this collection. His face had the gold accents hand painted on it (collector’s choice). His face and hand are very expressive. Prince Namor has a fully jointed body which means he has jointed upper arms, elbows, and knees. As a Himstedt Club doll, you had to be a member of the club to purchase Prince Namor and one of the benefits of joining was getting a free Kleine doll of one of the Club Dolls either Prince Namor or Princess Mera.

The theme for Annette Himstedt‘s 2006 collection was Children of Atlantis which she took literally to make a collection of doll who lived under the sea! There were a total of 36 dolls in this collection including the Club dolls Prince Namor and Princess Mera. Annette photographed her dolls beautifully together and at play. The centerpiece for the collection was the impending “Pledging Ritual” of Prince Namor and Princess Mera to which all the dolls dressed in their finest outfits and attended.

Prince Namor and Princess Mera in the Pledging Ritual - Annette Himstedt 2006 dolls.jpg

Prince Namor and Princess Mera in the Pledging Ritual with Annette Himstedt's 2006 Children of Atlantis dolls

In Annette’s 2006 Catalog, she wrote a great deal about the storyline for her undersea collection. It obviously took great imagination to depart from her traditional dolls and create something so special. And 36 dolls… that would be a lot for anybody company to make! She wrote this about the mermaids but I think it might have been about herself after the dolls were made:

When all the work was done the mermaids sank exhausted into their shell chairs and looked happily and proudly upon their works of art.

Prince Namor, Lisa Lu and Tikiri -  Dolls by Annette-Himstedt

Prince Namor, Lisa Lu and Tikiri - Part Of The Children Of Atlantis Dolls by Annette-Himstedt