Friday, October 16, 2020

Tribute to Dianna Effner


Sleeping peacefully, this porcelain doll was made from a Dianna Effner mold by Donna Flint in 1998.


Dianna Effner was well known in the doll community as an artist who created dolls that captured the essence of childhood from babies to young girls and boys. In addition to creating and selling her dolls, she also sculpted dolls for others. Her doll molds have also been used by independent doll artists. When the news appeared on my Facebook timeline on Thursday, 10/15/2020, that she passed a day prior, I looked through my doll photo archives and created a Dianna Effner dolls album. Photos from that album are shared in this tribute post to the artist.

Seen in the first image above, I named this doll Precious. The mold is called "Sleepy Head" ©1996 from Effner's Expression collection. The doll was made in 1998 at my request and is the first African American doll made by the artist, Donna Flint. This doll is also my first Dianna Effner sculpt.

The "Angela" sculpt by Effner was used for this porcelain baby made in 1998 by Donna Flint.

Monday's Child Series

Monday's Child Daria was sculpted by Dianna Effner in 2008 for Boneka Puppenmoden GmbH.  This German manufacturer is well known for its fine doll fashions and accessories. Daria is a 10-inch all-vinyl doll.

Ashton Drake

Dianna Effner has sculpted several dolls for Ashton Drake. The one I own is shown next.

Released in 2010, Malya is a 6-1/2-inch resin doll from the Ashton Drake "Hands Around the World" series. She represents Kenya and holds her rag doll.

Maru and Friends

Effner sculpted most of the dolls for the Maru and Friends doll line. My Maru and Friends dolls include Tanya, a special-edition Raven, Halle Mini Pal, and two versions of Raven Mini Pal. These dolls are shown next.

Tanya by Maru and Friends has readily recognizable Effner-doll facial features.

In this full-length view of Tanya, her original turquoise sweater fashion and black boots are fully visible. Tanya is an all-vinyl 20-inch doll.

Tanya has enjoyed being redressed on a few occasions; some of her redresses are illustrated next.

Tanya wears a Karito Kids fashion and shoes. She holds a doll by Madame Alexander.

Tanya is dressed for the holidays in another Karito Kids fashion.

She looks ready for fall in this dress made for 18-inch dolls. It is worn with the tights and shoes from the Karito Kids holiday fashion shown immediately above.


Maru and Friends Raven uses the same Effner sculpt as Tanya. Her deeper complexion is complemented by her hazel eyes. Raven was chosen as the 2017 WLBDA club doll. She arrived wearing the "Spring is in the Air" Maru and Friends Fashion.

The 2017 WLBDA Raven wears a dress made by Rachel McCullough Sherrod. Rachel was commissioned to make identical dresses for our 2017 club doll as well as identical cloth dolls for our dolls.

Raven is shown holding her cloth doll made by Rachel McCullough Sherrod. The cloth doll's name is Ruby Zee; she wears a dress made of the same fabric as Raven's dress.

Maru and Friends Mini Pals

Mini Pals are all-vinyl 13 inch-dolls sculpted by Effner for Maru and Friends.

Halle Mini Pal, sculpted by Dianna Effner for Maru and Friends is the company's first dark-skinned Mini Pal.

Raven Mini Pal Special Holiday Edition by Maru and Friends strikes a cute pose.

Another club doll exclusive, this is the 2017 WLBDA Holiday Limited Edition Raven Mini Pal. This doll was dressed for my doll group by Maru and Friends.

Phyn & Aero/Nancy Ann Storybook Dolls (NASBD)

Effner began sculpting Nancy Ann Storybook dolls after the company was sold in 2003 by Albert Bourla to sisters, Claudette Buehler and Darlene Budd. Effner's NASBD sculpts continued in use after the company was acquired by Robert Tonner's company, Phyn & Aero. The final doll in this tribute to Dianna Effner is my one and only Phyn & Aero/Effner/NASBD.

Flower Power, a Nancy Ann Storybook Doll, was the souvenir doll for Dollology club's annual May Day Luncheon which was held on May 11, 2019.

Sculpted by Dianna Effner for Nancy Ann Storybook/Phyn & Aero, Flower Power is full-body porcelain and stands 6 inches tall.  She has black painted eyes and brown wigged hair. Her "flower power" outfit is reminiscent of the luncheon's 1970s theme.

Dianna Effner's doll creativity, as illustrated here, will be missed by those who loved her and her dolls.

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