|Passport to Fantasy|
|Written by Robert Tonner|
|Wednesday, 01 September 2004 00:00|
The 2003 Himstedt line bears a resemblance to past offerings, but it is a fuller, richer, more personal gathering of porcelain and vinyl charmers. Doll artist Annette Himstedt was determined to shepherd her company into a new arena, anxious to have her creations priced affordably and to have more designs for her dedicated collectors and followers to choose from.
“I’m inspired by real children, and I just take what I see further in my imagination. I want them to look relaxed and not dressed up or forced into a role. It’s important that they appear as natural as possible and not full of clichés.” To achieve this lifelike quality, the artist has devised an ingenious method of blending mohair with human hair. To achieve this lifelike quality, the artist has devised an ingenious method of blending mohair with human hair
To achieve this lifelike quality, the artist has devised an ingenious method of blending mohair with human hair.
Always experimenting,always innovating, Himstedt is a hybrid of Madame Curie and Vidal Sassoon who gleefully parts ways with tradition.
“The most important thing about hairstyles is that the hair falls loosely and childlike into the doll’s face. That’s why I love mohair. It falls lightly and naturally without overwhelming the face. On the other hand, my collectors love long human hair, so I’ve designed a new kind of wig that combines both. The mohair still frames the faces of the ‘children,’ while the human hair falls long over the shoulders.”
While talking about the Himstedt Kinder, it’s impossible not to slip up and think of them as “young’uns.” As a matter of fact, doll dealer Patt Sessa of Patt & Billy’s Dolls and Bears in
Sammi Petersen, a Himstedt enthusiast from
As a result of Himstedt’s extremely hectic life, she doesn’t have the time to travel anymore. However, she does hop a jet plane in her mind every time she sits down to sketch. “I love going on imaginary trips around the world. This is how my Masterpiece Collection came about. ‘Mairi’ comes from Europe, ‘Manisha’ from
“By making her collection so much larger, while making each design so much smaller, she has become more interesting to collectors,” remarks Louis Camilleri, of Dear Little Dollies, in
The Masterpiece dolls define what it means to own an artist’s doll. Himstedt has lavished intensive labor, personal attention and meticulous grooming on each one. “Their clothes are made from antique fabrics that I have collected over the years. It’s hard to illustrate just how complicated it is to put together the clothes for such elaborate dolls. It is sometimes enough to make you go crazy! It was difficult to cut up these beautifully made antique pieces of fabric, but it was very comforting to see them become something else that was also beautiful.”
Through Himstedt’s magic fingers, an antique tablecloth was reborn as a “wonderfully soft dress” for the Masterpiece doll “Mairi.” It is no coincidence, then, that Himstedt has finally paid tribute to one of the all-time great transformations. A lifelong devotee of fairy tales, she has decided to tackle the myth of Cinderella (Aschenputtel in German). In a “before and after” pairing, the two dolls showcase “Aschenputtel” in her lonely, kitchen drudge existence and “Cinderella” in her happily-ever-after finery.
“The hazelnut is a very important symbol in the Aschenputtel tale. She seeks solace at her mother’s grave under the tree,” Himstedt explains. “I have modeled a hazelnut choker whose color matches the doll’s dress. Another important symbol is the clay bowl with the peas. On the night of the ball, she is ordered to sort through them. Every single Aschenputtel will come with at least 113 peas in different colors and sizes.”
“Aschenputtel” gets the last laugh: she proves that living well is the best revenge. For the new and improved “Cinderella,” Himstedt has outdone Walt Disney.
“The hazelnut that had been brown is now shimmering in a fairy-tale blue on ‘Cinderella.’ The transformation is perfect. ‘Cinderella’ is so happy that she could fly. I’ve designed her with filigree fairy wings, which are made out of dove blue French lace.”
Himstedt is a self-described sucker for “any type of schmaltzy
For the doll artist, the arrival of a new fellow has also sparked a flood of creativity and joy: “Originally I had planned to make proper mermaids this year as my Mini selection. But my grandson, Ruben, made me turn them into Sea Babies.” The Himstedt legacy will evolve as the years roll by. “I will continue to set new trends and standards in my work. I hope that my collectors will continue to fall in love with my ‘children.’”
A world of infatuated collectors is already lining up to say, “I will.”For more information, log onto www.annettehimstedt.com.
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