Francesca Hoerlein


1980- 2008 I have been a licensed designer of personality characters since 1980 with my company Francesca & Friends. My most well known characters are Le Mutt and Fifi la Femme and sold over three million units. I designed and licensed toys to Dakin, Hasbro, Random House, Accord Publishing and Ertl Toy. Burdines, Riches, Younkers, Macys and other department stores bought my toys for their holiday promotions.

I studied puppet making, performance and script writing in the late 1990's with the Muppets in California, and also with Annie Evans, a Sesame Street writer, and Marty Robinson, a Muppet puppeteer, at the O'Neill National Puppet Conference in Connecticut. The Zanimals are my puppet characters and Ii have trained talented puppeteers to perform them.

My passion is teaching kids, their parents and teachers a way into their own creative centers by developing art-integrated educational programs. I use mask-making, silk screens, toys, puppets, and story performances to enliven the subjects.