Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Art of Reborning

Some time last year I decided I needed a baby to model my crochet and knit creations. I wondered how that would work, what with the unpredictability of babies not to mention that I'd need to work around their "eating/sleeping" patterns. The thought occurred to me that I might want to simply purchase a doll. Thus began my introduction to the fascinating art of "Reborning".

Reborn artists really have to love their work because completing a single doll can take 6 to 8 weeks from start to finish. With each progressive step, the doll begins to look more and more like a real baby. I'd like to introduce you to one of the dolls in my collection, a Shyann " created by master reborn artist, Jen Skidgel of "Bunker Babies Nursery".

Once the head, arms, and legs are washed clean of any residue, the task of handpainting begins. The baby is given thin coats of special paints which are baked on, layer by layer. Veins, shading, and creases are added to give the baby a more realistic appearance and after the artist is satisfied with the skintone, she can begin the task of detailing and "rooting".

Detailing involves applying eyelashes, sometimes one by one, eyebrows, lip shading and color, and sometimes birthmarks and/ or little scratches (little babies have really sharp nails). Baby receives a manicure and pedicure and eyes.

One of the most intriguing steps in this process is the "rooting" of the baby's hair. Mohair is most often used in this step and there are grades of mohair from "basic to best" (my wording). The best mohair is soft and silky and most resembles a real baby's hair. The process of rooting can take up to two weeks if done properly. Even with close inspection, it looks like the "hair" is growing directly from the scalp.

Finally, the doll's body can be stuffed with special materials to give it the weight and feel of a real baby and the head, arms, and legs are attached.

Once finished, you have a true work of art to be treasured for years to come. A true collectible from one of the best!
You can reach Jennifer Skidgel on her website at:

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