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Adopting a Reborn Doll – The Good, The Bad and the Ugly!
So you’re thinking of buying one of these incredible dolls?
Buying a reborn doll is based more on emotion than feeling- the heart rules the head. The props and sets used in photos are all designed to lead you in this direction. Baby powder, soft toys, lace and fur are all intended to make the doll look (whether sleeping or appealing to you with open eyes) so irresistible that you want to pick it up and never put it down.
When you see a reborn doll that you love, you will feel that you really need to have it. Its image advertising at its best. Just as “coke” equals youth and fun, effective reborn baby photos evoke the same feelings as the best of Johnson’s baby powder commercials – the promise of unconditional love and warm cuddles.
Some people said they were so upset when they lost a reborn baby on eBay that they had their heart broken, they cried for days.
But I’m just warning you, if the baby arrives and it’s not what you expected, this is also very disappointing and your wallet will be lighter. So it’s wise to use your head a little before buying.
Reborns are everywhere and there are plenty on eBay (a real mixed bag- some are really quite scary). There are many doll forums and one in particular has a section called “She sells this?” that celebrates some of the poor reborn doll work that is on the market.
Should price be the best indicator? What about guild membership and rewards? How can you know? So what are you looking for and what separates a good doll from a poor one?
Price is not the best indicator – high prices do not guarantee quality and there are some excellent ones that are reasonably priced. Big prices (of multiple thousands of dollars) are commanded by a handful of born-again artists.
Beware of guilds and memberships – most require no proof of talent or customer service to be authorized for use. Pay attention to the prizes – sometimes they are the only ones in the competition.
Inspecting the product
I think nothing can beat seeing a doll before you buy it, but this is not often an option because this is truly electronic and international (a borderless industry).
If you can’t see the real thing, then photos are the next best thing. But be careful with photos – there are all kinds of electronic filters and artificial lighting that can make them look better than they are. You should be thrilled when your reborn arrives and think the photos didn’t do them justice at all. Ask an artist about the enhancements and lighting used in their photos.
Then look at the artist’s reputation (and remember that talent as an artist, honesty and customer service can all be mutually exclusive). Satisfaction guarantees, repair damage policies should be understood and are indicators of good customer service. EBay feedback is indicative of honesty and customer service. Talent is up to you as the judge.
My strong suggestion would be to look on the Internet or join a forum or two and find an artist there. Be wary of the reborn nurseries listings on the site- they are not a guarantee of quality or honesty. Most artists will display their work and have it in their signatures on forums.
Here are some recommendations for what to look for when looking at dolls in person or photos:
1. Judge how much the doll actually looks like a baby. A good rebirth should not be confused with a baby.
My daughter brought her reborn purchases out with us and of course she (she’s 6) gets sick from wearing them so I end up having to wear them. I am caught in a difficult position. Do I nurse this baby like its real and people will think I’m a nut who nurses dolls OR do I just carry her like she is my daughter’s doll that I now have to cart around?
Well for a good rebirth you have no choice but the first choice. I once had to endure the stares of many people in a major mall who looked at me like I was a neglectful parent. I discovered that it is not publicly acceptable to pop a baby (and therefore a reborn doll) into the bottom of a shopping cart. It is also not acceptable to hold a baby casually between your elbow and your hand with limbs dangling even if your hand supports the head nicely. Also, people are generally quite critical of you (and give you nasty looks) if they think a baby should be wrapped a little warmer.
2. Look at the details- hands & feet (look at the nail details), ears (how real they look- can sometimes be limited by the sculpt detail- more expensive sculpts have more detail), eyebrows (should). look real) and the creases and folds should not look like cuts.
3. Artists work hard to get realistic skin tones and this should make the baby look subtly mottled (look for this – it’s a sign of quality).
4. The rooting of the mohair. The hair should be shiny and soft and rooted, so it’s not “spotty” at all. The rooting must be directional – that is, at a different angle to sit nicely on the whole head. Some artists do amazing work with their directional rooting with crown/ crowns, parts etc. Look for this- it’s a sign of quality.
Some people like their dolls to look very real with milk stains, rashes and scratches. If you don’t like these, don’t buy a reborn baby with them. Its personal taste. I personally don’t like these. I know they are realistic but when my real babies had rashes I couldn’t wait for them to go away. So I don’t think I would want them permanently on a doll.
Some people like sculptures with funny wrinkled faces. Well I say good for them- to each their own. I love beautiful babies (although I see the beauty in the rather funny faces newborns make) and try to achieve this mixed with realism in my sculpting choices and painting.
Good luck finding a doll you love.
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