Home Voices of the Industry Editor's Blog What Do You Think of Reborning?
What Do You Think of Reborning?
Written by Heidi Heideman   
Reborning… it’s a topic that draws mixed reactions from both those who have collected and created dolls for years and from those in the general public. It has even captured the attention of those in the media, as the phenomenon has been featured on The Today Show, 20/20 and a documentary by the BBC called Fake Babies. In fact, a week or so ago while I was flipping through the channels, ABC’s show Wife Swap caught my attention when I realized that one of the wives was a reborn doll collector and novice reborner. I was glued to my television set for the rest of the episode. Although I’ve know about reborning since becoming an editor at Jones Publishing in 2008, I only saw the dolls as an art form, and didn’t realize how attached reborn makers and collectors actually become to their reborn dolls; indeed, some treat them like real babies.

Reactions to these dolls range across a full spectrum; some see them as comforting, while others seeing them as creepy. As with many debates, I seem to find myself somewhere in the middle. While I couldn’t see myself walking around with a vinyl baby in tow, (I’d rather carry around Madeline Elaine, my living, breathing 3-month-old niece), I do appreciate these dolls as an art form. Even though I only live a few miles from little Maddie, I’m always so surprised how much she grows and changes in the week or so between my visits. So I can see why some enjoy capturing those precious few months of a child’s life through their doll art.

It reminds me of an article I read a couple years ago in the rural lifestyle magazine, Country Woman, about a grandmother who created a porcelain doll to resemble each one of her grandchildren when they were children. She meticulously matched the wigs she found to each child’s exact hair color and dressed them in clothes similar to the ones each grandchild would have worn when they were young.

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I also get it. I don't have a problem with people doing whatever makes them happy, as long as it isn't illegal and no one is hurt. I also watched that show. As an avid doll collector, I will watch or read anything when the word "doll" is mentioned.
Ruth , April 16, 2010
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While channel surfing, I stopped on ABC to watch the show you referenced. After hearing one of the swapping wives describe the other wive's reborn dolls as creepy, the avid collector in me, had to watch that episode of Wife Swap.

I have a few reborn dolls in my collection. I even tried my hand at making a couple several years back and quickly decided that my hat as a collector is a better fit. My collector's hat is off to those who have perfected the reborn art form.

I understand reborn collectors' passion, their manner of fussing over the dolls as though they are real babies is no surprise to me. I guess you really have to be a doll lover to understand this measure of affection for dolls fashioned after a real baby. As a doll lover, I get it.

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Debbie , April 16, 2010 | url

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