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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Emotional Bonds to Reborns

Creating an emotional bond to a reborn is something that is sought after by many enthusiasts and also viewed as taboo by the general public. There are a million reasons why people who don't quite grasp the concept would consider it taboo, but my objective is not to focus on that.
How do you know when you're emotionally bonded to a reborn? What can you do to make the bond stronger, or just to create a bond in the first place? For first time collectors, why do you want a bond? As silly as it may sound about a doll, these are expensive works of art,and often stay with one 'mommy' or 'daddy' for many years. Reborns aren't the sort of thing you can buy one week and forget about it a month later. 

Could you put that cutie in a closet? I didn't think so.

So, why want an emotional bond to a doll? 

As every collector is different, so are their reasons. Many people find that the feeling of holding a baby is relaxing and soothing (termed 'cuddle therapy'). Cuddle therapy can be an extremely useful tool in overcoming seemingly overwhelming events or thoughts, simply by forcing yourself to be calm by holding a 'baby'. 

How do you create an emotional bond?

As with real children, there's no official guide to creating a strong bond, but partaking in activities with your reborn can be quite constructive to bonding. The most often suggested activity for creating a bond is taking your reborn out- whether its to the store while you shop, to the park, or even just you two by yourselves on a walk around the block- its definitely strengthens your bond to be out with your reborn and to be acting as a real mother would. When you take your little one out and get reactions about 'how cute they are', or just small talk from someone who doesn't realize it's not a real baby, it brings a feeling of pride. It's up to you whether you want to disclose the actual nature of your 'baby'.

'Feeding' is another great suggestion, as just taking some time to sit down, relax, watch TV and pretending to feed your reborn is a nice feeling after a hard day. Some enthusiasts don't 'feed' or enjoy the activity, but I find it to be a good way to bond, even if you do it just for pictures. Taking pictures and making videos of them is one more great way to bond, especially if you have a place to share them with other enthusiasts.

How do you know when you are bonded to your reborn?

Again, everyone is different, but a good sign of knowing when you are totally bonded is that you cannot even consider putting your precious one up for sale. Another tell-tale sign is that you spend a lot of time changing their outfits, holding them, cuddling, or just giving them a lot of casual glances (you know, to make sure that they're 'okay'). Your way of showing your bond may not be the same as others' ways, but that's the beauty of reborns. Much like real children there is no 'one way' of doing things, there's as much variety in reborns as in the people who own them.

Age Range of Reborns

Don't fool yourself into thinking that there is only one size for a reborn doll. The "age range" (a rough estimate on the age a doll would be if it was an actual child) for art dolls and reborns is quite vast and varying. Reborns typically come in sizes anywhere from preemie to 12 months. In this post, I'm going to cover pros and cons to each size. 


Ahh, precious preemies always remind of us just how fragile life is. While these beautiful dolls don't have to face the hardships of being born prematurely, they certainly present the look of a preemie accurately. As in the above picture, many artists who are selling preemies will display them with appropriate photo props such as parts of newborn care kits, hospital newborn blankets and hats, and breathing tubes as you would see in a real NICU unit in a hospital.

Preemie reborns have an appeal all their own. They can be commemorative of a real child who passed shortly after entering the world, which is a beautiful way to show love and work through grief. Even without a commemoration to the reborn, these preemies look so fragile and frail that it often brings out the "protective" side of enthusiasts. Any size reborn can bring those feelings out, but preemie reborns just seem like they need so much more care.

As a downside to these tiny cuties, taking them out in public can present a problem. Often they are so tiny that you would never see a real baby out of the hospital at that size. If you like getting reactions to your dolls, preemies are perfect. On the other hand, if you're like me and avoid society, you might want to keep your tiny one at home! 


 With one of these cuties in your home, you're reminded of the magic of new life every day. Most don't have a prop umbilical cord as shown in the picture, but if you're going for full realism it's a good idea to consider. While I could list the pros of newborn sized reborns, it's easier to list the cons since they're the most widely purchased size.

Bundle of cute? Completely. But just as with real newborns, you can't do a great  range of things with them. Posing a newborn doll can get repetitive without a good change of scenery, clothing, and props.

Young Toddlers (9-12 month size)

Twins from the Arianna sculpt by Reva Shick, unknown artist

Okay, I'm going to be biased. I think these two are super duper cute, and that young toddlers are pretty cute in general. All cuteness aside these little ones have a more balanced list of pros and cons. Some sculpts can only stand, or like these two adorable kiddies, sit. Open eyes on a reborn are always a little awkward when taking them in public too. As far as pros to young toddler reborns, they are incredibly poseable and can be photographed  "doing" many different things (take note that incredibly cute twins above are 'coloring').

Older Toddlers and Masterpiece Toddlers

'Little Bo Peep' by Monika Levenig, Masterpiece Toddler
 Okay, maybe 'young children' would be a better idea for this size group. Little Bo Peep pictured here is about the size of an 8-10 year old. Upsides to these cuties? They're adorable, of course, and like younger toddlers they are very photogenic and can be posed a plethora of different ways. One of the most common downsides to them is that since their bodies are fully vinyl and ball jointed, they are not the most cuddly in the opinion of some enthusiasts.


Tuesday, January 8, 2013


Every Collector Collects For A Different Reason

Before I jump right into posting, I want to clarify why I have created this blog and break some common misconceptions about reborn collectors. As this hobby only really came into the public light in recent years, it's common to hear people making generalizations about it that just aren't true (or at least not true when applied to the majority of collectors). 

First things first, the purpose of this blog is to educate collectors and those just generally interested in the subject. I'll be covering pretty much anything to do with reborning as an art and reborn dolls from a collector's perspective. The opinions presented here are of my own design, and will not be intended to insult artists or collectors alike. So with that out of the way, let's move onto what a reborn doll is, what their purpose is, and how they are viewed by the general public. 

Example of a reborn doll. Credit goes to HBN Art dolls and Evon Nather.

What exactly IS a reborn doll?
A reborn doll is any doll that is crafted and painted to look as realistic as possible. This can be from a pre-made kit (such as those on Bountiful Baby) or a regular play doll (the most common to be reborn is  the Berenguer doll company brand). The majority of reborns many collectors buy today come from Bountiful Baby unpainted kits. Sculptors such as Denise Pratt and Reva Shick create baby-like head and limb forms from clay and they are then produced on a mass scale by Bountiful Baby and companies similar to it.  Artists then buy these unpainted soft vinyl kits, which consist of the head and limbs of the particular sculpt, then proceed to paint the vinyl as realistically as possible, including realistic veining and mottling that would be seen on a newborn. Cloth bodies may be included or sold separately, depending on the seller.

An unpainted reborn doll head from the Maisie sculpt by Marissa May
 Many hours of hard work are spent on a realistic looking reborn doll. It's not uncommon to hear of an artist spending more than two weeks painting and applying hair to one single doll. In short, it's art that you can hold in your arms. 

Although tens of thousands of people enjoy collecting and the art of reborning, not much is known about the inner workings of it by the general public besides daytime TV shows that have portrayed collectors to be 'crazy' and 'obsessive'. (See Dr. Phil on reborns and My Crazy Obsession's reborn episode )

If you have seen those videos before, or are watching them now, I must point out to you that the way they portray artists and collectors is rude and wrong. Speaking as a collector myself, who is involved with a wide network of other collectors and artists, I can verify that what you would see on TV is nowhere near an accurate depiction of the majority of collectors and artists. The typical mental image of a crazy old woman sitting in her living room surrounded by baby dolls and baby parts is just not the way it is in reality. 
So what is it like in reality? Well, from experience I can say that there is definitely not a "right" or "wrong" age to be a collector of reborns, and although the majority of collectors and artists are female, many males enjoy the hobby too. While it's very easy to imagine anyone who owns one of these dolls is obsessed with them, very often that's far from the truth. I won't say that no collector treats them as a real baby, as I have met some who enjoy doing so, but I will say that again, that's not the majority. 

Most collectors of reborns do exactly what their title implies- collect. Now when I say collecting reborns I can imagine someone easily thinking that this means every collector's goal is to have them all. Wrong. Many collectors are happy with just one reborn to pamper, while others enjoy having anywhere from 2 to 30. As the dolls run at a price of $150 USD minimum, collecting can get very pricey very fast, which holds back most collectors from having a wide assortment. (After all, they are just dolls, and collectors have bills to pay too!)

So with this introductory post drawing to a close, I want to say that I'm very happy to be expressing my love of the hobby through a Blog medium and hope to encourage and educate others. I welcome questions, and I welcome advice and criticism alike. If you feel I have left something out, tell me! I'm not an expert by far and am willing to admit I don't know EVERYTHING about reborns but I have been collecting for about 2 years and have quite a bit of experience under my belt. Thank you for reading and if you like it put a 'Follow' on it :)