Convention may be months away but our event artists and manufacturers are already hard at work. Each month UFDC is pleased to introduce you to the artists and companies whose work will be showcased at the meal events planned for Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States of America.
The plantings of cherry trees originated in 1912 as a gift of friendship to the People of the United States from the People of Japan. In her most lasting contribution as First Lady, Mrs. Taft arranged for the planting of the 3,000 Japanese cherry trees that grace the Washington Tidal Basin. With the wife of the Japanese ambassador, she personally planted the first two saplings in ceremonies on March 27, 1912. Today the annual Cherry Blossom Festival is one of the most popular attractions in Washington, D.C. and last year celebrated its 100th anniversary.
Rosemarie Ionker and Boneka Doll Fashions
Rosemarie Ionker is known as the fashion designer of exquisite doll clothing that includes more often than not elaborate embroidery and smock. It is however, Rosemarie’s sense of fashion and proportion that made her creations so successful and popular.
Quote Claudia Ionker: My mother has always been one to consider being productive the height of personal achievement. As kids we were always told to not sit around but be productive.
This is what drives Rosemarie Ionker – creativity and productivity. Creativity is one aspect but the fact that her fashion is produced, using small scale, and in high demand, is her success.
At the young age of 4 to 5 years Rosemarie made her first attempts to sew for dolls and to hand embroider. Although these were rough designs they did show promise. By the time Rosemarie was 12 she already showed her talent not only in sewing, embroidery and tailoring but also indicating a business oriented mind. She started sewing for school productions and classmates at this age and by the time Rosemarie finished fashion design school in Germany she opened her own business at the age 21. Rosemarie’s business tailored to the private sector as well as creating designs for the garment industry in Germany.
By the time Rosemarie was 24 she had finished her Masters Exam in fashion design, got married and moved to Hong Kong. Besides being a mother of 3 young children Rosemarie also designed women’s and children’s fashion.
Many years passed where Rosemarie concentrated on raising her three children and being: creative! While in Indonesia during the early 80’s Rosemarie started to teach local women sewing – a trade with which many women could make a decent living. The most productive was to sew clothing in doll sizes. The techniques are more or less the same for human sizes, only that you would need less fabric.
Rosemarie’s father showed an interest in the doll dress making and introduced Rosemarie to a doll maker in Hamburg. From then on the doll fashion business took off. Some of the women who started with Rosemarie in the 80’s are still producing in her workshop. The idea of a family business is evident in that some of the staff even have their daughters producing doll fashions in her workshop.
Several doll makers have been customers of Rosemarie’s products and many still use her creations for their collections: Heidi Ott, Käthe Kruse, Heidi Plusczok, Lawton, Helen Kish, Tonner Doll Company and many others.
In the early 90’s Rosemarie met Helen Kish and from then on not only have they been good friends but Helen was the door opener to the collectors in the USA.
Claudia, Rosemarie’s eldest daughter started working for her in the mid 90’s – mainly taking care of administration. Only in the late 90’s did Claudia mention that every artist needs a good manager. It was then that Boneka Doll Fashions was born.
When Rosemarie started her children’s fashions in Hong Kong Claudia was unfortunate to be the model during which she made the remark: “I prefer to dress the dolls and take their photos”.
The 2003 UFDC Convention in New Orleans was the first convention in which both Rosemarie and her daughter Claudia participated. It was a great success and a wonderful opportunity to meet collectors and fans personally. Most of the fans and collectors have become great friends.