Renate Müller graduated from the Technical College of Applied Arts and Toy Design in Sonneberg, Germany. She began her career as a toy maker working with Helen Haeusler to create toys for use in therapeutic settings for mentally and physically handicapped children. The idea was to create large, bright toy animals for sensory exercise as well as balance training, orthopedic exercise and hand-eye coordination.
This effort proved successful, with psychiatric hospitals and clinics throughout Germany testing the toys for their benefits. In the 1970’s, the toys were also awarded the “Good Design” award by the Office of Industrial Design in East Germany.
When the Berlin Wall collapsed, Müller was able to gain the rights to her designs. She still produces a limited quantity of her toys each year. Each toy is hand-filled with natural materials and sewn by the artist.
In addition to the stuffed toys pictured in this post, The Wende Musuem recently acquired one of Müller’s seals and a snail!
Information about Renate Müller and her body of work is from the artists pages on R Gallary.