Follow by Email

About Me

My photo

My name is Michelle Manning Williamson.

Total Pageviews



free counters


Wit & Whimzy Reborn Nursery Store.

View more gifts at Zazzle.

Saturday, April 20, 2013


Original post can be found HERE.

Serenity Babies

Think about the feeling of holding a sleeping baby and then imagine being able to give that sense of comfort to others. That's exactly what a Minnesota family that specializes in making babies does.

The Lindblooms came a long way to be here -- and the job they do is not easy.
"A serenity baby is a baby that can find the situation that you are in and you need at the time to bring peace into your life," Cindy Lindbloom explained.
Peace comes from calm cuddling of one of the babies born at the Loving Hearts Nursery in St. Joseph, and something magical happens each time one of those babes is brought out into the world.
They are so convincing that they can fool a genuine model -- and his mother. They're so surprisingly realistic that few realize they are actually lifelike dolls.
In fact, the serenity babies are so like the real thing, it's hard to resist the urge to talk to them.
"Hi sweetheart," said Florence, who lives at the Johanna Shores Senior Community in Arden Hills. "Do you see me?"
While Florence knows she is not holding a real baby, that doesn't matter.
"Let's see if you can do a little patty cake," she coos at the babe.
The therapists at the elderly care facility, which bought five serenity babies for the residents to share, say it only takes an instant for the babe to bring out joy.
"The instant you put it in their arms, they are cooing and awing," Nancy said. "It reaches down in them somewhere and it pulls out that feeling of joy."
But that joy gestates slowly. Cindy and Darryl Lindbloom build the dolls in what they call a nursery, not a studio -- even though what they create is art.
"Some people call it a craft," Darryl Lindbloom said. "I think when you take it to this level, it's art."
The man who is more inclined toward engines paints with precision that tickles just to watch as he creates what he calls 3-D interactive art. He starts with the skin tone. After drying in the oven, the detail will come on another day.
Little veins in the skin get blended as layers go over it, and it's so precise that your eyes will swear the doll is a real baby until you touch it.
Even then, the weighted limbs make the dolls move in a lifelike way when they're scooped up. The Lindblooms use fine glass beads inside nylons to create the effect, and each one is unique.
"No two of them are alike," Darryl Lindbloom explained. "It gives each one their own little personality."
Little personalities are something the Lindblooms know a lot about. They had three of their own children and fostered many others. In the 80s, the couple cared for infants of teen mothers until the babes were ready to go to permanent homes.
"You cry when they leave, but you know they are going to a great place," Cindy Lindbloom said. "Just seeing the happiness on the adoption people's faces, that made me happy."
It's a bit like that with the serenity babies too. For some at the Johanna Shores Senior Community, memories don't come so easily any more -- but something about the babies in the memory care unit that revives something special.
"There is a change and they start reminiscing about their babies, about when they were babies, when their siblings were babies," Nancy explained.
Though Roger can't recall whether he combed his hair in the morning, seeing the serenity baby helps him hear sounds from long ago.
"The baby songs my wife used to sing to my five kids come back to my memory," he said. "She made it up, I'm sure."
The therapeutic potential is clearly there.
"For women, it raises our oxytocin, and the oxytocin level is known as the 'happy hormone' or the 'comforting hormone,'" Cindy Lindbloom said.
One woman who had lost a baby was drawn to the dolls, along with a young man.
"The guy got tears in his eyes. He said it's just so touching," Cindy Lindbloom recalled. "He goes, 'Yeah, we can't have any more children.'"
While some see the dolls as collectibles, the Lindblooms really love to see their work delivered to the arms of those who need the feeling only holding a baby can bring.
"It's hard to describe," Darryl Lindbloom said. "I think it's something inside us, just the need to nurture something."
The Lindblooms know that feeling is a very real thing -- even if the baby is not.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Di's hand-crafted 'reborn babies' filling a sales niche

Di's hand-crafted 'reborn babies' filling a sales niche

Di McGavigan with one of her realistic reborn dolls. Photo: Adam Hourigan
THEY may look exactly like real- life babies, but don't be fooled, these beautiful dolls have been crafted by the loving hands of South Grafton's Di McGavigan.
Known as reborns, each one takes about 50 hours to create - thankfully far less than the 6500 hours it takes to make a real one.
Ms McGavigan said the moment she first laid eyes on one seven years ago she was captivated.
"My sister turned up on my doorstep with a baby in a shawl - I asked her who's baby have you got?" said Ms McGavigan
"I saw this little thing and thought, oh my God this is beautiful - just like a real baby."
Occasionally Ms McGavigan enjoys taking one or two of her "babies" with her while she runs errands and says sometimes when people see them and realise they are dolls, they get startled, but everyone is curious.
"I know some people say it's freaky but I think they are beautiful," she said.
After spending months researching and talking to other doll makers through online forums, Di purchased a kit and began making her own.
Finally she decided to enter a competition and began sculpting them from clay and recently created three original babies of her own, from which she makes her own kits.
Although Di kept the first one, she prefers to sell them, with many of her babies having found new homes all around the world.
"I've got to a point now I'm established, I can make them and sell them as a source of income when I retire," she said.
"I know it can be very expensive for some people; they are an heirloom doll, but for many, once they have one they want another one.
"I know some people have a massive collection."
Like the lady in Western Australian who ordered a sleeping baby and returned soon after for a toddler, and another lady in Perth who now has 40 of Di's dolls in her collection.
A handful of babies have also found homes locally, with the South Grafton Newsagent now displaying a selection.
Di also sells them from her home, Cottage Lane, where she works part-time as a hairdresser.
She estimates she has made about 300 dolls over the years, mostly in her spare time.
Each one is individually crafted with incredible attention to detail.
"I like to imagine them opening the box," she said. "I try to make it a special experience."
She said sometimes the cost and time it took to make her reborns could leave her out of pocket, but she loved the art and couldn't imagine giving it up.
"It's an expensive hobby, but a very rewarding one," she said.
Fast facts
  •  Each doll is carefully hand painted with real-life skin tones, blemishes, veins, even little scratches.
  •  Each hair is micro rooted, one at a time, using mohair
  •  Each reborn doll has its own tiny fingernails and toenails.
  •  The dolls are then assembled and weighted, including a floppy head, fully poseable limbs, and a soft cuddly body.
  •  Finally they are dressed and swaddled in a bunny rug, before being lovingly wrapped in tissue paper, packaged and shipped ready to meet their new owners, complete with a birth certificate and dummy.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013



Virtual babies for Birmingham schoolgirls as they get a lesson in motherhood

Acocks Green school pupils given lifelike dolls in need of feeding, changing, sleep and all-round care. 

Parent-training dolls await their new 'mums' at Archbishop Ilsley Catholic School
What’s it like juggling homework with a screaming baby, countless nappy changes and no sleep? Education Correspondent Kat Keogh finds out how one city school is giving their pupils a taste of teenage parenthood – with the help of a virtual baby.
For most teenagers, their life is a whirlwind of homework, school discos, first kisses and social media.
But for hundreds of schoolgirls the carefree years are dramatically cut short as they fall pregnant.
Latest figures from the city council reveal there were more than 700 teenage pregnancies across Birmingham during 2011.
In Acocks Green, some 31 girls aged 15-17 became pregnant – one of the highest numbers of any city ward.
But one local school which is doing its bit to give pupils a lesson in the realities of parenthood is Archbishop Ilsley Catholic School.
Earlier this month, the Acocks Green school took a special delivery of 30 “virtual babies”; life-like dolls which are programmed to cry, sleep and wet their nappies.


The 7lb dolls are far from dummies, and mimic the behaviour of a young baby in needing to be fed, burped, changed, rocked and cared for.
A group of 30 girls signed up to the challenge of taking care of their own infant for three days.
An electronic chip records everything that happens to the baby while in the pupil’s care – whether they well looked after or not. The girls suffered sleepless nights and saw their social lives take a back seat as their doll demanded round the clock care.
Gayle Wattrus, head of health and social care at Archbishop Ilsley, said the project was designed to show how caring for a baby is a full-time job.
“The aim of the programme is to enable our young people to learn from experience what it is means to become a parent,” she said of the scheme, which is now in its fourth year at the school.
“This unique weekend gives our young people a real eye opener of how hard it is to be a parent, especially a working parent and allows them to make informed choices about their future.
“We don’t want to put them off having children, but this is about showing them how difficult it would be to have a child to look after at their age, and the huge responsibility which goes with being a teenage parent.”
Among those who signed up to the scheme was sixth form student Hannah Jackson.
The 17-year-old was able to leave her doll in a special “virtual baby crèche” while she attended lessons, but had to enlist the help of her family to help her look after the tot over the weekend.

Archbishop Ilsley Catholic School pupils with their dolls
  Hannah also revealed people reacted differently to her with a child in tow, and how she even took a taxi to school to avoid comments from bus passengers.
“I was on the bus with a pushchair and the baby in it that I realised I was getting strange looks,” she said.
“One woman on the bus turned round and asked me how old the baby was. I had to explain it was not a real baby, but a robot baby and the reason for having it.
“She then laughed and said that I did look a bit young to have a baby.”
The virtual babies have now been sent back the manufacturer, which will download a “care report” to show how the pupils fared.
All pupils, and their families, have also completed evaluation forms on how they found the experience.
“We find the experience has on the girls’ families too.
“It promotes discussions in the family which they might not have had before about teenage pregnancy.
“But perhaps the biggest lesson of all is just how difficult it is to look after a baby, and still be a teenager who goes to school and enjoying a social life.”

Archbishop Ilsley Catholic school pupils Tegan Kelly (14) and Hannah Jackson (17) with their dolls

My baby diary

by Archbishop Ilsley School pupil Tegan Kelly, aged 14.
• Thursday 5pm
My baby has just been activated. It’s been amazing, so far so good.
At the present moment it looks like it’s just having a nice sleep, hopefully she isn’t a fussy baby.
• Friday 12am
Really can’t believe my baby is awake and crying so loudly this time of the morning because it wants a long feed – I can’t even keep my eyes open!
• Friday 4.30am
My attempt at sleep didn’t work whatsoever and the feeling I have school today, which makes me feel even worse.
I want sleep please!
• Friday 5.30am
Might as well get up and get the baby dressed, because I know she isn’t going to sleep.
As I was getting her dressed she looked so nice. I put her hat and coat on so I could get ready for school myself, but that didn’t happen.
She started crying and I presumed it was a nappy change so I had to take all her clothes off, but when I put her new nappy on she still kept crying.
• Friday 3pm
Just picked my baby up from the crèche – here’s where the nightmare begins.
Getting a lift home from school because I’m not getting on public transport with this fake baby.
• Friday 4.30pm
Trying to get ready to go to my youth group and my baby is crying again for absolutely nothing, why can’t it be quiet for just ten minutes?
• Friday 9pm
Just got home from my youth group, what a crazy night.
The baby played up the entire night and didn’t stop crying. Felt like it wanted to drink a whole cow and didn’t burp for what felt like years.
I’m going to bed very tired tonight.
• Saturday 7am
My baby is up and dressed, it has had a bottle and has been burped. I just might get myself a cup of tea and relax before she starts crying again.
• Saturday 12pm
My baby is starting to get even better. She went to sleep at 10am and slept for two hours until now, that did me good.
My mum has kindly made me a full cooked breakfast. The baby isn’t even crying, I can’t hear a peep out of her.

Training doll strapped in for a walk

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


These Women Collect and Care for Baby Dolls. It's Not as Weird as I First Thought.

When I clicked through a New York Times slide show of Rebecca Martinez’s arresting photographs of the “Reborn” subculture—a group of mostly women who collect or create and “care for” incredibly life-like baby dolls—my initial reaction was, “these women are bananas.” Martinez’s subjects are photographed clutching the dolls to their breasts, holding bottles up to their pursed lips, nuzzling their little plastic heads, all with the tender, tired facial expressions familiar from mothers of real, live newborns.
But after I talked to Martinez, I was able to understand, at least to some degree, and respect the motivations of these women, whom she describes as having “a very strong desire to nurture.” All of Martinez’s work deals with “illusionary objects” that fulfill emotional, spiritual or psychological needs. She’s done a series of photographs of artificial crime scenes and recreations of plane crashes, which provoke extreme responses, but none so visceral as her Reborn photographs.  Those babies are “the most powerful objects I’ve ever worked with,” Martinez says, because they’re so realistic. They not only look, but feel, very much like living infants.
The “Reborn” women she photographed have a range of reasons for embracing this unusual hobby, Martinez says. Some never had children and wished they did; some merely love caring for newborns, and want to have some access to that feeling after they’re past reproducing; some are just doll enthusiasts who appreciate the artistry of the infant dolls. One woman Martinez photographed was a prison guard by day, and by night, she made babies. Another woman is a former Playboy bunny who now runs a nursery.

A third, who became a friend of Martinez’s, “spent her whole life nurturing and taking care of her two disabled parents, and then when she got older, she became a midwife, and birthed hundreds of real babies, and adopted children, many children, children who were not very adoptable,” Martinez explains. “She became a Reborn artist because she just had so much love to give.”
There are three parts to Martinez’s series, which she’s named “pre.Tenders,” and the New York Times only showed the section that documents Reborn conventions, where women in the community get together to share their babies and buy new ones. Martinez also took photographs of people outside the community reacting to the life-like dolls. And finally she took photographs of actresses, notably Carrie Fisher, interacting with the dolls. Another actress, Donna Vivino, was moved to dress up like a ’50s housewife and put the baby in the oven like a roast—a literal interpretation of the oft-expressed emotion, “that baby is so cute I just want to eat him up.”

 I have a cute newborn of my own, which I assume is part of why I had such an intense reaction to Martinez’s photographs at first glance. I love my child, but I couldn’t imagine why someone would want to pantomime the more laborious parts of baby care without the satisfaction that comes from raising another human. Martinez showed me the flip side. “They’re idealized babies,” so there is no diaper changing, she said. She also pointed out that while the babies’ limbs move around, their expressions are fixed. Martinez sent me a photograph of a woman who has a reborn that is always laughing, and she’s laughing along with it. There is a pure human joy there, one that defies facile judgment.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Motherhood, Reborn and Everlasting


original article can be found  HERE

February 19, 2013, 5:00 am

Motherhood, Reborn and Everlasting

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


Former Manhattanville doll factory has half-century past in neighborhood

While its 131st Street factory put out its final doll last year, the Madame Alexander brand is still well-known around the country and has deep connections to the Manhattanville community.
By Kimberly Shen and Hallie Nell Swanson
Columbia Daily Spectator
Published February 12, 2013

On an upper floor of a Columbia building in Manhattanville, a factory put out a steady stream of lifelike, detailed dolls for decades.
Founded in 1923, the Madame Alexander Doll Company moved to Columbia’s Studebaker Building, on 131st Street between Broadway and 12th Avenue, in the ’50s.
But while the 131st Street factory put out its final doll last year, the Madame Alexander brand is still well-known around the country. The company relocated to 34th Street in October, a move motivated by a merger with the Kahn Lucas Lancaster children’s clothing company.
“We wanted to be closer to Kahn Lucas,” Alexander Doll Company President Gale Jarvis said. “We have adjusted just fine. We like where we were then and we like where we are now.”
Before its relocation, the company had deep ties to Harlem. In the mid-1950s, the company moved to Harlem’s manufacturing neighborhood in pursuit of cheaper rents. It found a home in the Studebaker Building, one of the few buildings on Columbia’s Manhattanville campus that the University is preserving during its current expansion.
During difficult times in the late ’80s and early ’90s, the company stayed in the area largely out of loyalty to its employees, many of whom lived within two miles of the factory.
Madame Alexander had a strong community connection in an area of high unemployment. The skill set the factory required was most easily found in the inner city, with many employees from the Dominican Republic having learned to sew before coming to New York.
Increasing popularity made the company one of the largest private employers in Harlem during the 1990s, when it had about 600 employees, according to the New York State Urban Development Corporation. The site also included a Heritage Gallery of old dolls and a doll hospital for dolls under repair.
However, the factory became increasingly isolated as the Manhattanville manufacturing district declined and nearby buildings were vacated.
The company was sold in 1988 to two New York businessmen after founder Beatrice Alexander suffered a serious heart attack. In 1991 the company planned to move the factory to 155th Street, but the plan fell through because it failed to attract the financial backing needed. Madame Alexander finally merged with Kahn Lucas in 2012.
The iconic dolls were known for their elaborate detail, including hair that could be styled, detailed eyelashes and knuckles, and eyes that opened and closed. In 1963, the franchise expanded to include designer clothes for the dolls, created by Alexander herself.
Judy Ishayik, the manager of the city’s oldest continuously operating toy store (Mary Arnold Toys, on Lexington Avenue between 72nd and 73rd streets), said that “the detail that Madame Alexander puts into their dolls is really amazing.”
“They are really sweet—you can tell just by looking at them that they’re great quality. They have such pretty faces, the accessories are really appealing,” Ishayik said. “Sometimes little girls come in looking at the display cases we have Madame Alexander in and start their own collections that day, the dolls are just so beautiful.”
Alexander, the late founder of the company, was the daughter of a Russian émigré. She grew up playing in her father’s Manhattan doll hospital—the first in America.
Alexander’s forceful personality left a lasting legacy on the company, which prided itself on quality and exclusivity. According to a 1994 New York Times article, when asked her opinion of Cabbage Patch Dolls, Alexander had responded, “If you spend a million dollars on advertising, you can sell manure.”
In keeping with Alexander’s emphasis on quality, her dolls have increasingly become collectors’ items rather than playthings. A new doll costs on average $85, though at auctions, buyers pay as much as $10,000.
There is a strong community of Madame Alexander enthusiasts, connected by the Internet and the Madame Alexander Doll Club, based in Manhattan. The collectors are primarily middle-aged women.
Ishayik said that what she has come to expect from the dolls hasn’t changed since the company moved downtown.
“They haven’t changed anything. It’s just that the company has changed hands. The quality is still the same, the service is getting better after initial changeover adjustments,” Ishayik said.
“We have customers who come in specifically looking for Madame Alexander,” she said. “Either they have collections, or had them when the were younger, or are starting one for their children.”
An earlier version of this story stated that Studebaker is the only building on the Manhattanville campus that the University is preserving in its expansion. It is actually one of the few buildings being preserved.

Monday, January 28, 2013


Chili doll 'doctor' to soon close shop

Jan 28, 2013   
Written by Alan Morrell
For decades, Linda Greenfield has been preserving childhood memories and valuable keepsakes as the doll doctor of Chili.
But the doctor’s office is closing soon. Greenfield, who has run the Victorian Doll Museum & Chili Doll Hospital on Buffalo Road for 43 years, has decided that this will be her last year in business.
Doll collecting isn’t as popular as it once was, Greenfield said, and her craft is becoming outdated. She’s also looking to spend more time with the grandkids.
“I’m kind of like Kodak,” said Greenfield, 61, who closed the museum last year and sold many of the roughly 3,000 dolls she owned. “I could be here another 10 years, but I’m realistic. The importance that dolls once held in people’s lives has taken a back seat to technology today. Time brings change. I’m ready for change in my life.”
 Maybe she is, but some collectors are mourning the news. Kathy Case of Spencerport, a longtime friend and collector, called Greenfield’s work “impeccable.”“It’s a lost art,” Case said. “She’s restoring family heirlooms. You wonder, down the road, who will take care of things like this. Linda belongs in the Smithsonian herself.”
Greenfield works with modern doll series like American Girl, but many of the dolls she mends are antiques with porcelain heads and hands. And with age comes wear, particularly at the hands of enthusiastic children. Greenfield has replaced plenty of poked-out eyes and worn-out wigs since she started the business as a 15-year-old, originally working out of her parents’ home.
Greenfield started collecting when she was 8. Her maternal grandfather was an antiques dealer, and he often surprised her with dolls he had come across. One of her earliest prizes was a Bye-Lo Baby doll, one of the first realistic baby dolls ever constructed. The dolls were made in the 1920s with a bisque head and glass eyes that open and close.
Greenfield also played with Barbies as a child. It wasn’t long before she transitioned from playing with dolls to becoming immersed in the hobby of collecting. She went to antique shops and hobby shows with her mother. Frequently, they saw dolls that needed fixing, and that’s when Greenfield got the idea of becoming a “doll doctor.”
 “I always took art classes and ceramic classes,” said Greenfield, a lifelong resident of Chili. I’d already started trying to make my own dolls. In high school, I decided to have my own business.”She took a mail-order class in doll repair and opened up shop at home. Looking for a space with “room to grow for years and years,” Greenfield moved the business to its current location — 4332 Buffalo Road — in 1970. The building once housed a general store, as well as a grocery, dry cleaner, print shop and barber shop, Greenfield said. Eventually, upstairs apartments became available, and Greenfield and her parents moved in.
“Dad helped me with the soldering gun, and showed me how to hook up an air compressor,” she said. “Mom helped me with the artistic side.”
Her mother, Elizabeth, greeted customers as the place’s hostess for years. She died last year.
“A lot of people called her Aunt Betty,” Greenfield said, before pausing to choke back a tear. They went to many a mother-daughter banquet over the years, she explained.
Greenfield calls herself a caretaker as much as a “doctor,” and it’s apparent by the sensitivity she dedicates to her craft. While displaying one antique doll, she tenderly cradles it in the crook of her elbow as if holding a genuine newborn. She shares a story about a woman who gave her a cherished doll because the woman had severe arthritis and worried she would drop it.
Greenfield’s collection has shrunk to about 200 dolls. They’re not all the most cash-valuable ones.
“It’s not just the doll, but the person that owned it that I’m remembering,” she said. “I’ve gotten many letters from satisfied clients, including one from a woman who had a 40-year-old doll ‘reborn.’ That’s been my function — not only doing the work, but bringing back a little piece of yesterday.”
Greenfield has doctored dolls for museums as well as individuals. She once worked as a contractor for the old Strong Museum, when it was known as the “Museum of Fascination” and operated at the Allen’s Creek Road residence of Margaret Woodbury Strong in Pittsford. She once met the eccentric and wealthy Strong, a noted doll collector who called young Linda her “little competition.”
 “I said, ‘Not really, you get all the good stuff,’ ” Greenfield remembered.Greenfield’s “hospital” and museum have been featured in national publications such as The Saturday Evening Post and Reader’s Digest. As a youngster, she was interviewed by Rochester broadcast legend Eddie Meath and appeared on the long-ago Miss Rita’s Romper Room TV show. Her place has been featured on AAA’s TripTiks and visited by tour buses.
And soon, it will be no more. The place has been closed since just after Christmas time, but will reopen in mid-March. There’s still inventory to clear out. Greenfield said she will be doing more limited work this year, and she has not set a definite closing date.
“She’s given it her life,” said Case, the longtime friend. “I don’t know if people are passing on their heirlooms, but she kept it going with people who cherished that. I don’t think kids are having dolls at a young age so much. They’re all forced to grow up so quickly. But us big kids like having our dolls around.”

Get to know Linda Greenfield

• Greenfield’s doll collections includes the Dionne quintuplets, “nurse dolls” that have been donated to the Rochester Medical Museum & Archives, and Japanese dolls that came from a family visiting from Tokyo.
• Greenfield has done work on dolls from all over the United States as well as Canada.
• Greenfield attaches a “hospital wrist tag” with the name of her business to dolls that have been doctored.
• Her for-sale inventory includes Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy dolls, porcelain collector dolls, Russian nesting dolls and lace and doll clothing.
• Her daughter, Christina, and husband, Bob, have helped out at the shop for years

Sunday, January 13, 2013


Master doll fixer finally finds his apprentice 

Jan. 13, 2013,
The Brisbane Doll and Teddy Hospital has been restoring treasured companions and playmates since the early 1940s.
George Georgiou, 65, has been running the business since 1977.
He is among the best at what he does, but as age has begun to wear on his own joints and other moving parts, the doll doctor has had to consider the future - his own, and that of his loyal clients.
Enter Laki Augustakis.
The 49-year-old had known Mr Georgiou for years, first through soccer and neighbourhood activities and then through his frequent visits to the iconic South Brisbane store delivering food.
“A friend of mine passed away and all my customers were worried about what was going to happen if I wasn’t here to look after their dolls,” Mr Georgiou said.
“And Laki used to deliver stuff to me every week and he was fascinated in what I did.
"He looked interested so I showed him a few things, just a couple of minutes a day when he would deliver and he seemed quite taken with it - and the rest is history.”
Mr Augustakis tells it a little differently.
“One day he said he was ‘busy, busy, busy’ and could I help him, because I had a background in construction. I didn’t know what I could do, but I said yes and one day led to another day to another day and here we are,” he said.
“My friends are stirring me up now asking me how my dolls are today. It’s not a career I would have thought of, but life throws these things at you and you should grab them with both hands. There is never a dull moment here.
"You’re always doing something different. The best thing is when you hand the doll back and you someone’s eyes light up.
"You hear a story about a doll and how much it means to a person and when they get it back, the thing that they love is back with them. It’s always a happy moment.”
If there were further proof needed that Mr Augustakis had fallen into the job he’d been waiting for, he’s never found a doll even remotely creepy.... except for maybe the lifelike newborn dolls.
“There are so many dolls heads and parts around that you start to get a bit blasé about the creepiness of it...but if they ever talk to me, it’s time to go,” he laughed.
Mr Georgiou said finding the right person to teach the craft was difficult – it wasn’t just about skills, he was looking for a certain attitude, a special spark - the same passion he himself feels for the job.
And as much as the pair enjoys stirring each other up and poking fun, theirs is a relationship of mutual respect, Mr Georgiou said.
Although, Mr Augustakis shouldn’t expect to find himself alone in the store anytime soon.
“He has a long way to go before he takes over,” Mr Georgiou said.
“A long, long way to go.”
However, it seems the master has finally found his apprentice.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


Sickly? Artist creates life-size chocolate baby heads

"The look of the heads is quite controversial but if everybody liked them then it wouldn't be as fun to make them," says Annabel.

"At first, I found them a little bit disturbing but the more of them you see and create, the more you just get used to them. I was asked to make them to shock people and that's what I've done so from that point of view, I've accomplished the mission.

"It's quite surprising really but I don't actually like chocolate that much and there had to be a lot of experimenting to get the heads exactly how I wanted them to be but now that I have I think they're great."

If you're unsure how you would actually get into the chocolate head, think of it as an Easter egg - a light tap should do it. Or, as Annabel helpfully suggests, whack it with a hammer.


Doll Parts Faces

Freya Jobbins via Co.Design
Australian artist Freya Jobbins takes doll parts and recycles them into awesome/terrifying new faces. It's a little reminiscent of Sid's toys in the first Toy Story. (This is actually one of the less scary ones; see more at Co.Design.)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


Would you like to read the profile of a Colliii Award winning doll artist, maybe find out some ideas for your dolls at the 2013 Colliii Awards...
Discover Cheryl van Pletzen, winner of the Best Overall Reborn and Best Baby 2012...
(Includes video) What was your initial reaction when you saw the winner of "Best Reborn Overall"?
Cheryl: My heart skipped a beat and then started pounding in my chest, I just couldn't believe it! What about on seeing the second prize? "Best Reborn Baby"?
Cheryl: My mind was still spinning, trying to believe that my Rainer was awarded 'Best Reborn Overall'........I mean I was always hopeful, I just didn't expect such an amazing result! What have you done with little Rainer?
Cheryl: I didn't even expect to be nominated, so in the last week of the Colliii's I decided to list her on e-bay. Her auction ended just hours after she was announced a winner!....she's now living in Texas, USA Was this your first time entering the Colliii Awards? What expectations did you have? Why did you enter?

Cheryl: 2012 was my first time entering....I had no idea what to expect at all, it all seemed so exciting though. I missed out on last years Awards as I only heard of Collliii right at the time of the 2011 voting. I love competitions, I love seeing other artists impressions of the same kits, OOAK and fantasy dolls. I had heard how prestigious the Colliii Awards are and onlyreally 'dreamed' of winning. What brought you into Reborning dolls?
Cheryl: I was searching for a 'baby mannequinn' to model my hand knitted baby clothes and stumbled across a reborn doll on e-bay....I bought the first one I spotted. When he arrived, I picked him up and his head fell off! I thought, I can do better than this! favourite things in the world, babies, baby clothes and painting! I go to bed and wake up thinking about reborning.... Do you make custom orders? How do you promote your work?
Cheryl: I very rarely make custom orders, perhaps one or two a year....I  find woking to specification too restricting, it just doesn't feel comfortable. I use my website and forums to promote my work and occasionally when out shopping for baby clothes and people ask 'how old is the baby' I tell them all about reborning. Have you got any tips for new artists?
Cheryl: Oh yes.....get online and google everything you can on 'reborning' find a reborn supplier in your local area and/or e-bay and most important, join a forum or two. Forums are a great way to find out all those little tips on how to reborn and how to improve and also getting to know 'like minded' people really helps, especially when you come across negative responses from family and friends.
If you are lucky enough to attend a private reborning class, this will really put you ahead of the game. I taught myself from the old DVD's without any outside help for over a year! I was happy in my own little world, but I only started to improve once I'd attended reborning lessons.

 Ifyou can't get to lessons, there are wonderful Reborning and Rooting DVD's available, they are very reasonably priced and once you've familiarised yourself with the reborning process, you could sell them on.