For the Love of Hummels – Times-Standard

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Hummel figurines – based on stylized drawings and paintings by Bavarian-born artist Sister Maria Innocentia “Berta” Hummel (1909-1946) – have long been loved by people around the world.

A woman Eureka was recently honored for helping promote iconic Humboldt County collectibles. Wanda Vaughan, 92, established the Heart of the Redwoods chapter of the MI Hummel Club international in 1994 after visiting the Hummel factory in Germany several times and visiting the Siessen Convent, where the sister spent part of her life as a religious.

The local chapter that Vaughan started is still going strong today. Recently, Hummel collectors from Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Maryland, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington and Wyoming gathered in The Red Lion Hotel in Eureka for the 2021 Northwest Hummel Inter-Chapter Conference.

The three-day conference – which focused on the beloved figurines, first made by German porcelain maker Franz Goebel in 1934 – was dedicated to Vaughan, who has over 350 figurines in his Hummel collection.

The Mayor of Eureka, Susan Seaman, delivered the keynote address at the conference and proclaimed September 17, 2021, MI Hummel Day in the city of Eureka. She also thanked Vaughan for his commitment to the Heart of the Redwoods chapter and the town of Eureka.

“It was quite a surprise,” Vaughan said of the recognition. “… I was flabbergasted when the mayor started to read this proclamation. … It was very good to know that everyone appreciated him.

She added, “It was so good to be at this conference after being locked up last year. We have all been vaccinated and it was so good to be with friends.

The conference also included guest speakers, Hummel sales, Ingomar Club dinner and designs and a silent auction, with many items up for grabs or to bid on including gift baskets, Hummels and a wall hanging made by Vaughan based on the “Land in Sight” figurine.

“I think if I ever did something good it was at the start of this chapter because we have made wonderful friendships and we have done a lot of good for the different things that we have donated to and that we have. participated. “

In addition to socializing and sharing information and stories about Hummels, club members, locally and elsewhere, fundraise through raffles and auctions to help charities. This year, the Heart of the Redwoods Chapter donated to the Alzheimer’s Association, and chapter members also participated in the Humboldt County Walk to End Alzheimer’s Disease, raising an additional $ 1,925 for research, support and services.

Over the years, Vaughan has donated 17 handmade quilts which were raffled off as fundraisers at inter-chapter conferences and conventions. Several years ago, for a national Hummel conference in Tennessee, she created a cross-stitch guardian angel which she then incorporated into a quilt. He raised $ 1,250 through a silent auction for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis.

Vaughan first heard about Hummel figures as a little girl from her mother, who told her the story of Sister Maria Innocentia Hummel and her artwork. Years later, she and her husband, Ken, fell in love with Humboldt County on their honeymoon trip to the area. They moved to Eureka in 1955.

While raising their three sons, Michael, Eric and Steve, Vaughan became interested in ceramics and, remembering his mother’s stories, began to create his own Hummel-inspired clay sculptures.

“At first I couldn’t afford to buy the real Hummels because they were quite expensive,” she said.

Vaughan began collecting Hummels in the early 1970s.

Wanda Vaughan, left, is pictured with Jean LaPietra from the Heart of the Redwoods chapter of the MI Hummel Club. Vaughan made the wall hanging that LaPietra is holding. Vaughan founded the Heart of the Redwoods Chapter in 1994 and LaPietra recently won the handmade wall hanging in a raffle, with the proceeds going to the Alzheimer’s Association. (Photo by Judith Stoffer)

“My son had joined the Air Force and was flying to Germany. He asked me, “Mother, is there anything you would like to have from Germany? … I said, you know, I want a real Hummel. … He brought me the little ‘Street Singer’. … This is what started. My husband started for Christmas or my birthday and bought me a little figurine.

Over time, Vaughan became a member of the MI Hummel Club and traveled in 1985 and 1987 with other American collectors to Germany on Hummel-focused tours.

“We got to see at (the) factory how they were made, we got to go to the convent where Sister Berta Hummel (was) and see her original artwork – and it was all really exciting,” Vaughan said. “It made your collection a little bit nicer to… see all of those original designs that she made and see how they made the figures.” “

In 1994, Vaughan announced in Humboldt County that she hoped to create a local chapter of the MI Hummel Club. Five collectors showed up for the first Heart of the Redwoods Chapter reunion 27 years ago. Finally, the number of members increased to 18 people. New members are always welcome.

“We always meet and enjoy each other’s company,” Vaughan said.

For more information on the Heart of the Redwoods chapter, call 707-443-9972.


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