Monday, January 21, 2008

More Thoughts about Fake Babies (Real Reborns)

A week has passed and the whole Fake Baby thing is getting more and more out of hand.

The media in the US has gotten wind of the UK documentary and are now looking for people to come forward and talk to them about how they use reborn dolls as substitutes for deceased babies or babies they are not able to conceive.

Most of the reborn artists I'm in contact with have either NEVER been contacted by a person wanting such a doll, or at most, have done one or two.

I want to repeat that the vast majority of reborn collectors are normal, healthy people with a firm grasp on reality, and who have a fine appreciation for the amount of love, skill, time and intense labor that go into creating a quality reborn baby doll.

**Why can't that be enough?

**Why must it be about bereavement?

**Why must it be about the extremely tiny minority of collectors who might have reality issues with their dolls?

**And most of all, WHY is that anyone's business but THEIRS?

I had an interview this week about "Angel Babies" with the Wall Street Journal. Whether that article will be published remains to be seen.

At least I came away from the interview with a bit of insight as to why people outside the doll world might think that the main reason we make reborn babies is to replace real infants.

There are many, many "nurseries" (yes, that's what most of us call our reborn doll businesses) with the word "Heaven" or "Angel" in them. It dawned on me during the WSJ interview that that's the implication that the media are picking up on.

Get it? Angel Baby = deceased baby.

Not to cast aspersions on any nursery name with that sort of title. Shoot, when I was new to reborning and trying to come up with a good name, I went through a 100 names with Heaven's this and Angel that. All the good ones were taken :-) Hence, HunnyBuns. (there's a story to that, but it's for another day). Hey, some of my best friends have Heaven or Angel in their nursery title....

Just sayin'.
The public is a bit confused as to why all the references to heaven and angels.

Ok. So let me tell you why we like names like that.

Most reborn artists are women. Most of us dearly love babies. We love dolls. It's what got us interested in the art of reborning to begin with. We enjoy re-making dolls over into what can fool anyone into thinking for a moment it's a real live infant. We all get a kick out of that. I know collectors enjoy the realism as well.

But I think deep in a lot of women's hearts is the belief that babies (real ones) are indeed, a gift from God (whatever their perception of Him may be). A true gift from Heaven. That a new baby is a tiny angel sent to earth. Something along those lines, anyway.

That's where the Heaven and Angel thing comes from. Not because most reborn dolls are created to replace a dead infant.

Google Fake Baby today and see what you come up with. It's not pretty, folks.

I hope that those who agree with me (and I know there are many) will continue to speak out and educate those outside the doll world who are confused and thinking we're all a pack of loons who can't separate reality from fantasy.

Oh...and for those of you that think we ARE all a bunch of loons, and that reborn dolls are creepy and sick,'re entitled to your opinion! Have a nice day anyway :-D

Friday, January 11, 2008

Links to the My Fake Baby videos

I didn't have these in a list the other day, so I thought I would add these here so you may view all of them in sequence, if you like:

ETA 1/30/08: I guess they got pulled for copyright issues - sorry!! They are no longer available for viewing.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Sorry....They are NOT "Fake Babies"

So I guess I'll come out of hiding and blog about My Fake Baby :-)

No doubt this will step on a few toes, but yanno what? I don't think they did the world of reborn doll making any huge favors.

Sure, it's nice that a TV documentary was made showing the world what "reborns" are. It's the after-spin that I find distasteful.

Whose idea was it to call them FAKE BABIES anyway?

They aren't FAKE anything. They are REAL dolls :-)

I've been creating reborn dolls for almost 5 years and teaching the art of reborning in live classes and on DVD for 3. So I have a bit of visibility in the doll world.

Only twice in all that time has anyone contacted me about creating a special doll to replace a lost child. Yes, I did it. (I'd never judge what it takes any parent to get through the day after having lost a baby).

Do I think a vinyl doll can replace a living, breathing infant?
Not for me, it wouldn't. (But who are you and I to sit in judgment?)

Having said that, I'm of the opinion that there is a VERY small percentage of reborn doll collectors that fit this category.

I believe the media is taking this tiny fraction and spinning it to their advantage to make money at the expense of the sensibilities of reborn artists, exploiting the collectors of reborns, and blowing the entire thing out of proportion.

Go do a search on eBay today: "fake baby". A month ago you'd get zero hits. Today there are 3 and there were a couple more that ended over the weekend.

Pullllleeeze. It doesn't even SOUND nice!

'Reborn' might be a contrived name, but at least it has a decent connotation. I honestly do not care at all for this new bandwagon. It's about the money...the latest buzzword....whatever people think is going to give them the edge on eBay to sell their dolls or more advertising on the TV channels.

Pssssst....Artists! I have a secret for you: LEARN THE ART. Get good at it! That's your best hedge against too much competition in the reborn market. Not pandering to the newest and latest fad name.

Did putting "OARB" in your auctions revolutionize the reborn world? Nah.
Did a glut of Reborning Guilds do it? Double nah.

An important point to remember: some reborn artists toss their credibility in the trash for the sake of trying to rise head and shoulders above the eBay masses. It takes time, talent and lots of practice to become an accomplished and recognized artist. Sticking some new letters onto your nursery name won't do it, sorry.

Now, am I saying that women who love to dress up their reborns and take them places to fool people are nuts? No. (Well, no more than anyone who dresses their toy dogs in little jewelled collars and boutique clothing and carries them everywhere tucked into a $185 designer carrier. If it floats your boat...)

But I've been reading the comments in response to the new blogs and reviews of "My Fake Baby". Ruh roh.... Somebody tell me, did they do us reborn artists any favors?? In fairness, I suppose that remains to be seen. Right now, though, it doesn't seem to me as like they have.

So, you won't see HunnyBuns Nursery jumping on the "Fake Baby" bandwagon. I'm usually one of those on the list to be contacted (I was interviewed last summer by a lovely young woman with True North Productions in the UK) by the documentary producers and magazines. Somebody from a Miami Fla. paper contacted me about 2 weeks ago, in fact.

I just don't think Channel 4 did anyone on either side (artists or collectors) any favors with the sensationalizing.

What I don't get is why people can't appreciate the art of reborning and newborning dolls as simply what it is, a creative and endearing art form, like lovely classic porcelain dolls and quirky, imaginative art dolls.
Anyone who knows me and follows my work knows that I am one of the artists who push the envelope with ultra-realism in my own dolls. So it's not that I think that the realism is a problem.

Blurring the lines of reality between real infants and dolls? Yes, I think I have a bit of a problem with that.

I don't begrudge the artists who lent their names to the documentary. I seriously doubt they knew going in how the end result would turn out. I haven't been to DollFan much in the past couple weeks to read the discussions, although I suppose I should. If those artists gain more publicity and their dolls are worthy of the high prices and well-made genuine collector's quality reborn babies, then I wish them all the best success.

I truly hope that's the case. Poorly made reborns hurt all of us by damaging credibility and reputations among collectors. (This is a soapbox I jumped on a lot in the past).
Suddenly the new buzzword is Fake Baby. So how many people are going to jump on eBay or start frantically googling for fake babies? How many artists are going to suddenly decide to capitalize on the new craze? I see dark clouds gathering on the horizon if this happens.
Impassioned but uneducated buyers plus artists who will do anything to sell a doll = very bad combination.

I guess I've gotten at least 3 emails this week as a result of Channel 4's broadcast and the YouTube segment.

Don't get me wrong, I think some parts of the documentary were tastefully presented. But much it was so dramatic, so contrived. Harry's grandmother's comments about a doll seeming to replace a child "no longer around" even creeped ME out a little. I would say, misleading! The ending on the first YouTube segment was deliberately provocative, and the grandmother was in reality, not bereaved, but rather the grandchild had relocated. Big difference.

I've seen 3 out of the 5 YouTube segments now. I don't know when I'll view the rest of them. The last one really "icked me out" to tell you the truth. I don't know one single collector who carries on the way the couple did in Segment 3/5.

So that's why I'm not so pleased about any of this. I don't like the skewed perceptions. I don't think it's fair to any of us.

I'm not at all surprised that people outside the doll world think the whole business is screwy and sick. And as a reborn artist, THAT saddens me.