Friday, August 9, 2013

Zwergnase Junior Doll "Ivanca" by Nicole Marschollek-Menzner

Nicole Marschollek-Menzner is the German artist responsible for the zany, joyful, grouchy, mischievous and unforgettable faces of the Zwergnase line of collector dolls.  Nicole also designs happy, long-necked art bears and unique play dolls.  The Zwergnase art dolls are among my favorite dolls in the world.  These dolls are produced in small editions and tend to cost over a thousand dollars.  The art dolls have cloth bodies with hand-painted vinyl heads and extremities.  They have large, gorgeous glass eyes, and wear human hair wigs that tend to be unruly and dramatic.  These masterpieces are made in Schalkau, Germany, surrounded by a landscape that has served as Nicole's creative inspiration since 1994.  I have always wanted to own a Zwergnase art doll--or at least see one in person.  In particular, I covet little Annemor--a delightful, grinning girl with strawberry blond hair and enough personality to fill a room.  Annemor was released in 2002, so I have been admiring these dolls for over a decade.

I am not likely to ever own a Zwergnase art doll, but I did stumble upon a wonderful opportunity to purchase a doll from one of the Zwergnase Junior play lines.  The company has two styles of play doll: colorful cloth-bodied dolls with simplified vinyl heads and limbs, and more realistic fully vinyl dolls.  Both groups of dolls are appealing to me, but the faces on the all-vinyl dolls are more similar to the art doll faces I love so much.  Samantha's Dolls carries a great selection of Zwergnase, and during one of their amazing 50%-off sales, I decided to buy a Junior doll.  The play dolls retail for between $220 and $250.  The half-price sale brought the price of my doll down to $110, which is comparable to the cost of American Girl, Carpatina and similar dolls.  Samantha's huge sales usually only apply to 2010 or earlier dolls, so I made my selection from a small number of remaining older dolls.  I ended up choosing Ivanca for her bright red hair and interesting expression.  I call her Ivy:

Zwergnase Junior doll, "Ivanca."
I have warned you about my affinity for dolls with quirky character faces, and I understand that not everyone is with me on this.  My husband is not a huge fan of Zwergnase faces, which is one of the many reasons why we don't own one of these dolls.  I would like to offer up a challenge, though, to anyone who (like my husband) has been looking at Zwergnase pictures and thinking, "Yikes!  Freaky!  No, way."  Here's the challenge: peruse this amazing website, and try to find just one doll that you think is lovely.  I put this challenge out there because one of the many things that impresses me about Nicole's talent is that while all of her dolls are recognizably hers (they could not have been made by anyone else) there is huge variety in the facial expressions.  While I adore some of the faces, I am quite turned off by others.  My husband took the challenge and agrees that Nike (and a few others) are nice.

The Zwergnase packaging is amazing.  Ivy arrived in a well-made padded drawstring bag inside of a regular brown shipping box.  The bag is incredibly useful for toting the doll around, and it would also make a great sleeping bag for a doll game:

This bag is even nicer than the MiM doll bag because it is made out of natural fabrics and feels great.  

The doll is identified by a small white adhesive strip on the front of the bag:

The one and only drawback I can see with this method of packaging is that Ivy's hair was a bit of a mess when she came out of the bag.

Here she is exactly how she emerged from her body bag:

Looking a little confused.
Wo bin ich?

I brushed her red hair (with my new wire brush) and re-positioned the headband:

She reminds me of someone I know.  In fact, many of the Zwergnase dolls have expressions that remind me of a real person in my life.  I think this is a wonderful accomplishment and a credit to Nicole's skill as a sculptor.

Ivy has hand-painted royal blue eyes, which is probably a better option for a play doll than the fragile, mouth-blown glass eyes that the art dolls have.

The eyes are beautifully painted, and the eyebrows have wonderful detail and charismatic asymmetry:

Ivy's right eyebrow is slightly raised.  I love this feature on my Ever After High Apple White doll, even though in that case it was a careless defect in facial screening.  With this doll, the arched brow is not only intentional, it is a hallmark of Nicole's skill for capturing character and expression:

Ivy has a long space between her nose and her full lips.  This is a feature that she shares with some, but not all of the Zwergnase art dolls.  

Her lips remind me of Scarlett Johansen.  They are slightly lopsided, but beautifully painted with subtle sculpted details:

One detail I didn't notice until I was looking at these pictures is that Ivy has uneven nostrils.  You can see it more clearly in this zoomed out photo:

I commented on the facial asymmetry of my American Girl doll, too.  I think many dolls are intentionally sculpted with some lopsidedness because it looks more realistic.  Also, it's impossible to make something by hand that is perfectly symmetric.  For some reason the uneven features on this face don't bother me at all.  I think it's because this doll isn't mass-produced.  She doesn't seem that far removed from the sculpting process that started her production.  I almost want to see small imperfections--they're like little signs that say, "Nicole Marschollek was here."

One of the results of the facial asymmetry is that Ivy has different moods reflected in the different angles of her face.  From the front, she looks sweet, but a little stubborn and strong-willed:

In half-profile, she looks calm and reflective--but also very focused and intelligent:

In profile, she looks like a sweet, inquisitive young child:

I removed her purple headband to get a closer look at her hair.  I had been noticing the visible rooting of her synthetic hair fibers:

The hair is uniformly rooted over most of the head.  It's not thinly rooted by any means, and there's plenty of hair, but the hair plugs around her face should be closer together.  

It's especially bad at the top of her head, where the gaps between hair plugs draw attention away from her fascinating face.  This is a crime.

At first I thought she didn't even have a rooted part.  On closer inspection, there actually is a short area where the hair is rooted close together to resemble a part, but the pattern is abandoned towards the front of the head--which is where it is needed most:

I find it hard to believe that this is the look Nicole was hoping for, mostly because there is obvious effort to style all of the play dolls' hair with headbands and hats to cover the unsightly roots.  I can understand that the first year of production might have been a bit of a learning process in how to root hair, but the more recent dolls seem to have this exact same hair pattern.  Why not fix the problem?  This is an expensive doll, and it can't be a very expensive problem to fix.  I mean, my $18 Our Generation Charlotte doll has nicely rooted hair.  Here's Charlotte's part for comparison:

And the nice close rows of hair that frame her face:

Only towards the back of her head does the rooting come in wider rows.

Ivy's hair is a mystery to me.  I really cannot fathom why such an expensive doll would have such a glaring flaw that has persisted through so many years.

The feel of the hair is fine, but it's not as nice as I expected it would be.  It's not perfectly silky like Ling's hair or Lorifina's hair.  The fibers don't slide past each other smoothly, and so the hair can look rumpled pretty quickly after brushing.  I love the color, though.

Ivy is wearing a colorful outfit that is a mix-and-match of different fabric types and prints.  The outfit is soft and cozy and makes Ivy surprisingly cuddly for a hard vinyl doll.

This kind of eclectic, layered outfit is very typical of Zwergnase dolls.  Ivy isn't wearing my favorite of the Junior dolls' outfits (I prefer Estella's outfit) but I do love the hot air balloon print on her dress and the red thread stitching that pulls the whole ensemble together: 

The dress is made out of soft corduroy and opens all of the way down the back with velcro:

The dress had a few loose threads, but is otherwise beautifully made.  Like the American Girl clothes, it strikes me as being a perfect little replica of a real dress--all of the seams and edges are finished nicely and the sleeves and bodice are even lined.

Taking the dress off was like unwrapping a present.  I wasn't sure exactly what I would find under there!  I didn't expect to see this:

Ivy is wearing what looks like two shirts and appears to be wearing her boy-short underpants over her knitted purple tights.

This reminds me of a joke my son told the other day: Superman and Chuck Norris got in a fight...and the loser had to wear his underpants over tights.   

Sorry, that's a total tangent, but someday I'll go back and read this blog and think, Oh, yes.  That was written during the Chuck Norris joke stage.  And I'll get all sentimental.  

The shirt is actually all one piece.  It is made out of a fairly heavy plaid linen fabric and the long fleece sleeves are attached under the gathered elastic edge of the short puffed sleeves:

Again, the sewn detail is meticulous:

Ivy is wearing grey fleece leg warmers that match the long sleeves of her shirt.  

Her shoes are made out of orange-red leather and have a simple boot style with a folded cuff.  They slip on and off.

As it turns out, Ivy is not wearing stockings at all.  She was wearing her underpants over very (very) long socks.  Not like Superman, apparently.  I'm not positive what to call this style of sock--extra-tall thigh-highs?  Hip-highs?

Crotch socks.
Ivy has a tall, long-legged vinyl body.  She has only 5 points of articulation and is strung with thick elastic cord.  Her neck joint is wonderful and can swivel around and look up and down.  The neck joint also holds its position really nicely.

  She has a cute little pot belly:

She has sloped shoulders with low-set arms and a minimally sculpted (slightly shiny) bottom:

Nicole's artist mark is on the back below Ivy's neck:

Ivy poses about as well as my other strung 18" dolls like Carpatina Erin or Magic Attic Heather.  She is not as well balanced as some of these dolls, though.  She doesn't stand anywhere near as solidly as my American Girl doll, especially when she's barefoot or in a walking pose.

She has smooth, delicately sculpted hands.  Her right hand has a gripping pose that makes it feel like she's holding gently on to my finger:

I love the details in her hands--notice that her tiny fingernails even have a sculpted cuticle:

Her feet are fine--I just wish they were a little wider or something so she'd stand up better.

Here's Ivy next to Carpatina Erin.  Erin has short legs and a long torso, and Ivy has long skinny legs and a rounded belly.  Ivy also has more bend in her arms--almost like she's about to strike a ballet position:

Ivy's face is much more realistic and detailed than Erin's face.  Everything from the overall shape of her head to the natural color of her lips and the individual strokes of her eyelashes is very skillfully done.  I love both faces, but Erin looks like a beautiful doll and Ivy looks like the portrait of a real girl.

The two dolls can share clothes reasonably well.  Erin's Guinevere dress is short on Ivy and fits a little snugly around her tummy:

The rhinestone crown is too big (Erin has a much rounder head), but it does a great job of hiding Ivy's unsightly hairline:

I love the expression on Ivy's face from this angle:

Ivy's outfit is a bit loose on Erin, but the colors look great on her.  The sleeves are a tad long and the shoes are too big:

I think Ivy looks really nice in Magic Attic Heather's pink dress.  The dress is way too short, but the hat provides another great way to cover Ivy's bad rooting job:

Here's Ivy next to Keira, my American Girl #29.  Again, Ivy makes Keira look very doll-like in comparison.  Keira seems very blocky and solid.  This is what makes her stand up so much better than Ivy, though:

 Keira's facial features are very rounded and regular in comparison to Ivy's more unique face:

Keira's meet skirt and top are too big for Ivy, but that magical Springfield Collection dress (the one that looks good on everyone) fits well enough--especially with the sash tightened:

The sash can also be used to hide Ivy's hairline:

There are a few different combinations that work nicely with Ivy's own outfit.  For example, she can wear the blouse with a different skirt or pants.  Here she's wearing Karito Kid Ling's skirt, but it doesn't actually fit--it's taped in back:

She can also wear the dress on its own--as a sundress.  I also like the long tights scrunched down to look like bulky socks or leg warmers:

I took Ivy on a hike to a nearby mountain so that she could show off her coloring--and get her first look at the rural Maine countryside:

She's not a great hiker...she falls down a lot.  This smooth, stone path was the best option for her:

We got a nice view at one of the rocky overlooks, but I was terrified that Ivy would tumble down the cliff!

It felt a little safer to investigate the lichen growing on the rocks

And climb on some fallen trees:

A brief but violent thunderstorm cut our hike short.

Ivy only got a little bit wet.

After the rain had passed, Ivy changed into her other outfit and went out to investigate a nearby stream:

On a sunnier afternoon, Ivy came along with us to a favorite local pond.  She was a little afraid of the water, a phobia that was made worse by the tumble she took just moments after this picture was taken:

Was sich auf meine Füße??
She dried out for a while in the sun...still a bit exasperated with me for getting her too near the water.

I am so struck by this girl's different expressions.  Her mood seems to shift from moment to moment as I see her face from different angles and the light plays differently across her features.

Here's Ivy safely back at the house and dressed in her complete original outfit for a few more pictures.  Despite limited articulation and a troublesome hairline, she really is a delight to photograph.

Bakterien? Ich denke nicht so.

Bottom line?  This is a fun doll to contrast to the other 18" play dolls that I have been looking at recently.  Her regular price is double the cost of an American Girl, and so it has been interesting to think of Ivy in terms of what that extra money does or doesn't buy.

The additional $100 isn't buying better quality hair--or at least not a better rooting job.   The hair is  nicely cut and has a gorgeous color.  It is thick and full-bodied with lovely curls at the ends.  It doesn't feel as nice as I had hoped, though.  It has a slight synthetic "stickiness" to it, for lack of a better description.  The fibers don't slide past each other well, and so the hair can too easily look messy or poofy.  I find that finger combing is the best way to keep the hair looking good.  On the other hand, the hair tolerated a little rain and a dip in the pond, and it actually seems to be getting easier to work with over time.  Still, a human hair wig might have been a better choice for this doll.  The Zwergnase art doll wigs are so fabulous, it's hard not to want the same quality for the play dolls.  I am not thrilled with the hair fiber, but I like it well enough.  The rooting job, on the other hand, is inexcusable.  Always having to find something to cover Ivy's forehead is a pain.  It must also be a pain to try and think of novel ways to conceal the hairline for each new Junior doll that is designed.  I would have thought that this inconvenience would be good incentive to try a better rooting method.

So, what does the extra money buy with this doll?  Well, Ivy is a completely unique personality.  She doesn't look like any of the other dolls I own.  Her quirky, hand-painted face is distinct in a way that makes her very familiar and unconventionally realistic.  Her nuanced expression seems to change dramatically based on how I look at her.  She has a presence that's hard to ignore--I find myself being very careful to leave her in nice "comfortable" poses, not just laying on a table.  When I say this doll is unique, I am not just talking about her facial sculpt, either.  Ivy's beautifully-made clothes have a layered, eclectic flare that give off a funky-yet-wholesome vibe that is very typical of Zwergnase dolls.  Ivy's expression is not as dramatic as many of the Zwergnase art dolls, nor is her outfit as bold, but these things make her more accessible as a play doll.  While she is certainly a nice play companion, she is also a work of art.  I am grateful that a piece of Nicole Marschollek's exuberant, eccentric art is available in this price range.

Most dolls have a mix of good and bad qualities, with the good outweighing the bad.  Some dolls have flaws that are either so glaring that I can't see past them, or the doll as a whole doesn't impress me enough to overshadow the flaws.  Occasionally, I find a rare doll that is so special, she has the ability to make even a serious flaw practically invisible.  Ivy is one of those dolls.  She has obvious flaws, but she is already very dear to me.  I think it's partly because she is the Nicole Marschollek doll I have always wanted.  It's more than that though--her face has the kind of realism that tugs at my heart and makes me forget her imperfections.  This is something I have always appreciated about dolls: different dolls elicit these strong feelings in different people for a vast range of complicated and unpredictable reasons.  Despite the time I take to describe every little flaw in all of the dolls I review here, I also recognize that for some people and some dolls, those flaws won't matter a bit.  I have huge respect for the power of that special face.  Whether the face is worn by a $5 used doll or a $500 art doll, for the right person, a special face can overwhelm even the most glaring flaw.  So, I hope that those of you who might be turned off by Ivy's badly-rooted hair, funny features or high price are duly warned by this review.  As for me, I have found one of my special faces.  I love this doll, and it won't be long before I simply can't see that there's anything wrong with her at at all.


  1. hi i just wanted to know if the bfc ink dolls clothes fit her by the way speaking of bfc ink dolls i found one last night for $14.99 in tj maxx

    1. Good question! I don't have a BFC Ink doll anymore, but my guess would be that the clothes are too small for Ivy. She's a pretty big doll.

      Good score on your BFC Ink doll! Wow! :D They are getting very hard to find and very expensive. Which one did you get?

    2. noelle and she looks just like me

  2. I love what you said about being able to dismiss a doll's flaws if you love it enough. Or love something about it enough. :P There's been more than one occasion when I first saw a doll online and couldn't stop focusing on all the things about it I didn't like, but once I got my hands on it or saw it in person, I found it so charming! Maybe it's something about holding them in your hands, or sitting them in just the right spot in your room, but some doll flaws seem to just disappear over time.

    1. Oh, you said it just right, Quiche! Holding a doll makes it easier to see the whole--not just the little details (and flaws) on their own.

      I've noticed that size doesn't translate well in photographs, so if a doll is bigger or smaller than what I expected, it can really change my opinion. Pinky Cooper is a good example of that--she's just the right size, which makes everything else about her work well in my eyes. Also, sometimes the weight of a doll really adds or detracts from its appeal for me. A big, hefty baby doll can have a so-so face, but the feel of it will win me over. I'd love to hear what dolls triggered this kind of reaction with other collectors. I find it really interesting! :D

  3. I definitely don't like Ivy's face... Lips are way to low (or cheeks are long) and she looks pissed and blank at the same time.

    1. LOL! She can definitely look pissed--that's for sure. She gives me the "stink eye" quite a lot. ;D

  4. You know what? I actually really like this girl. I'm not a big fan of the larger dolls but her face is just so realistic and expressive. When I look at her beautiful photos I keep forgetting that she is a doll and feel the affection I would towards a real child. She looks like she could be quite headstrong, which I like, but also very sensitive. She is so endearing. I love her clothing. I am keen on the layered look and that dress is so great. You must be so delighted to have her in your collection. If only I could get you one of the Zwergnase art dolls that you love. I really hope that you do get one one day. x

    1. It's so neat that you said how you feel affection towards Ivy that is similar to what you might feel for a real child. As I was writing the last paragraph, I included a sentence just like yours--something about how for some reason Ivy's homely face triggers a reaction in me that is similar to how I'd feel about a real kid, accepting them despite their flaws, etc. I deleted the sentence because I couldn't express it as succinctly as you did. The feeling isn't exactly the same, of course, (I prefer real children to dolls...!) but there's something similar going on and I am so glad you feel it, too! I feel less weird.

      Maybe I'll get one of the art dolls some day--you are such a sweetheart to wish one for me. On the other hand, I do enjoy just looking at pictures of them, and it would be very difficult to choose from all of those different faces! Perhaps the hardest thing would be to get my husband to agree with me on a doll. The ones he likes are the ones I find "boring" (relatively) and the ones I like freak him out! :P

  5. I had no idea that Zwergnase had a line of play dolls! Now I have a shot at actually owning one myself. :-)

    1. It's great, isn't it? There are several faces and two different sizes, too! Several British stores have these dolls, and in the States, The Toy Shoppe also has a nice selection and a great payment plan. :)

  6. OMG! what a doll! and where the heck you have taken her? :P nice review again!thanks!

    1. Thank you, Urshula! I toted this doll around everywhere with me for a few days--she refuses to be left behind! ;)

  7. My oldest daughter's name is Ivy! She has that sort of bored look on her face all the time as well... haha. I, too, love quirky, weird looking dolls!

    1. I really love the name Ivy! It has a ton of personality for a very short name--kind-of like Zoe, but way less popular. I don't know anyone named Ivy who lives around here!

      I'm glad you enjoy the weird-looking dolls, too! I think they add humor and spunk to the doll world. :)

  8. I used to hate these dolls but a few years ago something changed and I absolutely LOVE them now! I don't own one and probably never will but I love their quirky character and even the "ugly" ones I adore!

    1. I find myself liking this kind of doll more and more over the years, too! Maybe the odd faces take some growing into--like certain foods? I hated broccoli, mushrooms and avocados as a kid, but now I love 'em!

      I won't tell Ivy I compared her to a mushroom, though. ;D

  9. This doll doesn't really appeal to me but I love what you wrote about a doll having that special face. I can totally relate to that and can understand why you love Ivy. She does have a very unique look, that's for sure!

    1. Thank you, Aileen! It's fascinatingly neat to me how one person's special face can do nothing for someone else. I guess it's not that different from a lot of things in life, though, like pets, paintings, and even which other people we find attractive! For instance, I have always wanted one of those hairless cats, a sphynx, but the entire rest of my family thinks they're creepy! :D

  10. I have to admit, I didn't like Ivanca straight away, but as you were dressing her in various outfits, I actually began to think she was adorable! That hairline breaks it for me though.

    And I lost that challenge already; as soon as the page loaded and that little girl with the buck teeth popped up, I was smitten.

    1. Oh! You picked Malu! She's got a an amazing face! It's funny because like you with Ivy, I didn't fully appreciate Malu the first time I saw her, but she's growing on me FAST! That smile is pretty infectious and pure Zwergnase. :)

  11. Not my liking but there are other dolls face that is nicer to me, though ivy does have a unique face, she looks sweet too :), I wish I could have Enchanted Doll, at least one is enough, my dream as a doll collector would come true(well half of it :p), have you ever heard of them?, they are more artistic doll rather than a play thing, but it's nice

    1. Oh, the Enchanted Dolls are absolutely incredible. A year or so ago when they were featured in Doll Magazine, I went to Marina's website and thought about getting on a list or something, but then I realized that the fully-dressed dolls cost thousands of dollars! They should cost that much--they're amazing works of art. I haven't visited the site for a long time--thank you for the reminder! I think I will spend some time this morning enjoying those beautiful pictures! :)

  12. She is so cute! I love the nature pictures!

  13. You can thatch that part to make it a little more realistic. It'd be time intensive, but it's fairly easy to do.

    Other than that... I usually dig all the 18 inch dolls you post but I dunno. This one's a little too uncanny valley for me. It feels like she's staring at me and it gives me kind of an uneasy feeling!

    1. She has a serious stare, doesn't she? :) I hadn't thought about trying to fix the hairline--that's a neat idea! I wouldn't normally embark on that kind of project, but for this doll, I might give it a try! Thank you for the suggestion.

  14. A really good review Emily.

  15. Though I don't like this kind of dolls, I think her realistic face makes her really beautiful (if we forget about her hair rooting on her forehead). And I knew that I'd seen that expression on another doll or person, and when you mentioned it, then it snapped on my head: she's kinda like a child version of this doll:
    The Hot Toys Black Widow from Avengers (therefore, a Scarlett Johanson doll)
    I saw the other dolls you mentioned, and even they looked slightly realistic, maybe that's the same reason why I find them creepy.
    Great review!

    1. Oooh! You're right! She looks like a baby Black Widow! :D Good call! It's those lips--they're very Scarlett Johanson, aren't they? If she's related to the Black Widow, that explains why she freaks some people out! :)

      That looks like an amazing Black Widow doll, too, by the way. I wonder if that's the actual doll or a prototype? I will have to investigate...

    2. I think it's the actual doll. Hot Toys made one of every Avenger, plus Loki, Nick Fury, and the favorite one, Agent Phil Coulson. All of them are really awesome, and they also made a Tony Stark and a Black Widow doll for Iron Man 2. All of them highly articulated, with lots of accesories.

      They are really expensive though, but since they have wonderful details and everything, it's totally worth.

  16. The sparse rooting around her forehead is mystifying... are her customers too shy or intimidated to complain? Imagine that, ha! Like you, I can't see any reason why this problem should continue year after year. It's possible she just doesn't care about the complaints and thinks hats and headbands are a fine solution. If that's the case: weird.

    However, her face is remarkable and I can see why you love her. Her sullen expressions are among my favorites, even though I have no patience for sullen children in real life. Go figure. ;)

    Excellent review, I love how varied your doll collection is!

    1. Thank you, Kristi. :)
      It's funny...I never thought to write to Zwergnase to complain about the hair. Maybe no one ever has?? I've also never thought to write and compliment them on all of the things I admire about these dolls. Maybe I should do both at the same time! I mean, I love almost everything about the company and the dolls except for this one detail, so it feels a little petty to complain, but on the other hand--the doll is SO close to perfect! Gah! :/

  17. I forgot to say she reminds me a bit of Chelsea Clinton, in some photos more than others. :) That's a compliment, I always thought she had a unique beauty and hated it when cruel people made fun of her looks.

    And the photo after she fell into the water, she really does look so annoyed with you for getting her wet! :D

    1. You're right, Kristi! She does share some features with Chelsea. I agree, too, that Chelsea was a lovely child. I always admired her awesome red hair, in particular! :) Kids who are in the limelight because of their parents are subjected to some pretty horrid comments. Makes me sad. I'd hate to have anyone judge my kids like that. :(

  18. I have been drooling over the art dolls for several years and I am a regular visitor to Samantha's Dolls. I never knew to look into this line though, and it is a realistic option for me financially. Also, I appreciate her durability. As for her face, it's a real child's face, and blanks out many others on the market like Carpatina and AG. I still hold my highest regard to My Twinn, but this doll is the big, big sister to a Helen Kish ballerina my mother bought me when I graduated high school. She has bucky teeth, askew flaming red pigtails braided with seed pears, and just the most human expression. She too, is an artist doll and I treasure her. Also Sandy McAslan dolls from the 1990s are reminiscent of Ivy's look and I had one with again, flaming red mohair pigtails and her face was so asymmetrical that she took my breath away. I love all of these faces and fantasize about which one I would choose if I were a rich man. But, Ivy (regardless of the rooting flaw) is so amazing now I think one of these is in my future. By the way, she is one of your most photogenic dolls ever. Great review!!

    1. Thank you so much! :) I agree that Ivy has a real child's face. It's very evocative. I'd love to see some of the other Zwergnase Junior faces in person. They're all very different!

      You've been to Samantha's? I would LOVE to go here some day. She seems to have an amazing diversity of dolls. I have been shopping there online ever since I started collecting. I am so grateful for the big sales--it gives me a chance to own dolls that I wouldn't otherwise consider.

      I'd love to see your Kish ballerina. I admire Helen's dolls, too--her Raggedy Riley is one of my favorite little redheads. :)

      Now, I'll have to Google the Sandy McAslan dolls because I only remember a few babies of hers that I saw about a decade ago. I'd love to see some of her child dolls!

      You describe your dolls so beautifully--thank you for sharing them!

  19. Just today: art dolls Verushka, Florentine, Margherita & play doll Julianne who is on my radar as a pre-order . . . Her rooting is covered by a stunning braided headband that looks like an ornate hairstyle. Ohhh.

    I love these dolls. The ones in hats look like I did in my sort of goth tween-in-the-theater.

    1. Oh--I love Juliane's braided headband! I was wondering if it was part of her rooted hair or a separate piece! Thank you for clarifying!

      I covet Nela from that 2012 group. She's Ivy's sister, I think. :)

  20. O.K. Rixa is my all time favorite. She's such a little artiste. Sigh . . .

    1. Yep--she's a dream. I could stare at her face for hours! I love the marionette theme, too.

  21. Hello Emily.
    Can you please share us links to the doll blogs you like to read? I love your blog, it's wonderful but sadly new posts appear kinda rare.

  22. She is gorgeous. I like that you love her despite her "flaws."
    This is a fabulous review, comparison, and photo shoot. Thank you for sharing.

  23. that doll is amazing, and i agree with the realistic face stuff, i went to the website that you talked about around the beginning of the review, and i thought one of the dolls was actually a real little kid! she is an amazing artist for being able to do that! but i don't really like the dolls with teeth showing.

  24. What a beautiful doll, Emily. I loved seeing the pictures of those gorgeous Zwergnase art dolls. I understand why owning one of those would be like owning a dream! The rooting problem is a shame but like you said, if you find a doll with such a special face you'll forget about her flaws. Also, I'd like to compliment you on all of your rough outdoor pictures. It's really lovely to view your dolls with such special backgrounds. It gives a very unique vibe to your pictures!

  25. I love the 9th picture from the bottom!!!! She looks very sweet there I think.

  26. Ivy has an look about her. She also gives me a elfish look. I like that she can fit into reality and fantasy. Great review and interesting dolls :O)

  27. Just wondering, when do you think you might do a review on lil pinkie?

  28. What have you done?! Thanks to this post, Zwergnase dolls have completely captured my heart. I don't know how I'll survive probably never having Florence, Laurene, or Tippi. :( I checked out the Junior dolls as well, and found them nearly as charming as the art dolls. I'd like to get Mary someday. She's wearing black stockings, which always makes me wary of staining; do you think these dolls are high-quality enough to be dressed in colorfast fabrics?

  29. I love her face! I wish her arms weren't positioned like that, though. They look a bit awkward. Her hands are nice, but the curve of the arms is a little bit gorilla-ish. Her face is wonderful, though, and I even like her cute outfit.

  30. I'm currently in the process of researching the Zwergnase Junior dolls and a dear dolly friend linked me to your blog. I'm really thankful that she did because yours is an excellent review, thanks so much. I was particularly interested to see the nude doll as I hadn't been able to find photos of the body prior to seeing this. Also, the hair. The doll I'm interested in is also wearing a hairband like Ivy and I was concerned that the hair might look a bit severe if it goes straight back from her forehead. I didn't give the rooting a thought to be honest, so that is something that I need to look at more, particularly as the doll I have fallen for, Simona, has brunette hair, which could make the wide apart rooting look particularly unattractive. I think I would be tempted to add some extra hair plugs if I could get some matching hair, particularly if it bothered me. So thanks again for your very detailed review, I've found it really invaluable and will be following your blog from now on!! Hugs, Sharon in Spain x

  31. The style of sock Ivy is wearing is technically a stocking, so you could just call it that :)

  32. Thanks for introducing me to this doll line. I just got a beautiful 2004ish? doll. She's stunning. I was surprised to see that she was wigged and not rooted. But I am not impressed with the quality of hair. But still, her face makes up for it. I am sure she won't be my last!

  33. Hi Emily, I stumbled upon your blog the other day when one of my customers pointed me to it. I am Trisha and own The Zwergnase dolls are my absolute favourites and the Juniors are just beautiful and a bit more affordable than the art dolls. From 2003 when they were first released up to and including 2007, all the dolls had wigged hair. 2008 was the first year they were released with rooted hair.

    Currently, I have Ivanca on order - I've had her in my store and sold her so many times. Many of the older editions are still available and in fact I have the utterly gorgeous Neke arriving next week as well. I think she is my all time favourite.

    Thank you for reviewing Ivanca (Ivy) - your review is thorough and just fascinating. I have bookmarked your blog!

    With very best wishes,

    KR Bears and Dolls

  34. She has such a lovely face, have you tried to fix her hair? The new junior collection of zwergnase is wigged now, they have solved the problem but raised the prices....