If you ask any mother what was the period of her child’s life when she felt most connected to it, she will probably say that it was the few months after giving birth, when the newborn was utterly dependent upon her. For any human adult, a baby has a magnetic appeal that simply cannot be denied, bringing forth every protective instinct and feeling that we have, primeval feelings overtaking you whenever near to tiny infants.
More and more women are starting to cherish that special time with their newborn, and wishing to preserve it as something more tangible than mere memories. Flicking through photograph albums is apparently no longer enough for some, but a lifelike doll, modeled on the image of their own baby, and known as a reborn, can fulfill this desire. Life-size dolls looking and feeling exactly like their babies, even to weight, and such dolls are becoming increasingly popular, demand growing fast.
This unique art-form, for sculpture it undoubtedly is has become the main focus for artist Glenda Ewart of Castlerock, in Northern Ireland. A chef by trade, before becoming pregnant with her first child, she one day went online, looking for baby clothes, came across a post detailing the sculpting baby dolls, immediately finding herself quite fascinated.
Glenda found, surprised, a special aptitude for achieving the level of detail involved, working hard at transforming plain vinyl dolls into uncannily accurate representations of newborn babies, needing a month,. at least, to simply get fine details created as accurately as possible. Painting skin tones can be complex, involving multitudinous paint layers, in order that the doll be as life-like as possible Dolls have hair rooted by hand, using premium kid mohair, because it can be washed and styled.
Glenda did, of course, make mistakes at the outset , some the first dolls she made being less than perfect, to say the least, but she stuck at it, and a child in tow, that needed taking care of, meant she could afford to take her time, the dolls being, at that time, more a hobby. Hearing, however, about the Original Guild of Reborns, an organization for ladies involved in this type of sculpture, Glenda joined, wanting to improve on her craft.
Glenda, now 36, is several years into a lucrative business, which started only as a passing interest for the mother-of-three. Practicing the sculpting of dolls continuously, discovering a natural talent for it, she began, as a member of the Guild, finding opportunities to sell her work all over the world, ladies buying them for daughters, or making the dolls tfor collectors as far away as Australia and America.
Many hours of intense work, by Glenda, go into the crafting of each new sculpture, individually crafted dolls reaching new owners complete with dedicated “rebirth” certificate. So life-like are these stunning creations that why ‘reborn’ owners have been known to behave like genuine parents, treating dolls almost as real babies. A car window really was smashed in, by police in Australia, to effect the rescue of a ‘baby’, that turned out to be asculptured reborn..
Glenda starts each commission with a blank doll, head and limbs for which are glued together, before adding glass or metal beads to the soft bodies, creating the exact weight required to emulate the target infant. Flesh-coloured paint gets applied often many layers thick, i to achieve accurate skin tone, and even milk spots and “stork bites” will be included.
Distinctive newborn smells, something that all mothers know well, are achieve that by applying scent to the reborn nappy. Preferring to model prematures, detailing of the delicate veins, and the almost translucent skin being far more demanding of her artistic talent, Each model needs be oven-baked, to set the paint correctly, before every individual strand, of fine angora mohair hair, is individually micro-rooted, using a special needle.
20,000 strands, as a minimum, aren needed per piece,, eyelashes being attached in the same way. Skill married with great patience are vital throughout, end results proving how valuable these attributes are. A magnetic dummy, interacting with an implant in the lips, makes the babies appear to really be sucking, adding to the realism. Heat pads, sewn into pockets in the body, making the doll seem as warm as a human baby are nice touches, along with voice boxes, to mimic infant giggles or cries.
Fake spines and Heartbeat units also add even more realism to the ‘feel’ of these, amazingly lifelike sculptures, making these dolls, for some people, quite unnerving, though .many owners do indeed form strong emotional bonds to their ‘babies’. Glenda Ewart, in creating these staggeringly realistic figures, shows awe-inspiring artistic ability, and these commissions command high prices. This incredibly talented woman is sure to be a force in the art world for many years.
My sincere thanks to Glenda Ewart – as in e-mail detailed below – for permission to use the images in this article.
Hello Glenda Ewart. .My name is Tony Leather and I want to write an article about the uncannily lifelike model babies you produce for posting on the web.
I need your written permission to use images for illustrating this piece, which I could take from one of many websites at which they can be found, as you no doubt have copyright. If you do agree, could you please reply telling me so and I will let you know when it appears on the web. Thanks in anticipation.
Thank you so much for taking an interest in my work. I would be delighted for you to do an article. The photos on display at http://izismile.com/2010/04/05/almost_ldquorealrdquo_baby_dolls_part_2_24_pics.html
are my own and copyrighted, so you can use them. Any other information you need, give me an email, I’d be glad to help. Could you also place a link in your article to my website
I have been writing for pleasure for half a century, but only started writing for money around 1994. Since then I have had a few thousand articles, stories and poems published on line and in print all round the world.
I am now 63 years old, male, from Burnley in the UK, and apart from writing, I love to read - mainly crime thrillers, conspiracy theory books and science fiction, though I also love films, gardening and chatting with my wife who is also my best friend.
I enjoy feedback from readers, and interaction with fellow writers. Anyone who gets in touch with me will get a reply. I am always happy to read and comment upon the work of others, as I think we writers are something of a definite sub-species of humanity!