Although reborn dolls – also known as newborn babies, created by doll artists called reborners – have been around for years, they may be more popular than ever, even being the focus of Dr. Phil’s recent show on Dec 10, 2008. The art of reborning and collecting reborn dolls was part of a television segment which centered on various obsessions. One woman’s identity seemed to be connected to her hair and others collected shoes. Then there were those reborners and their reborn dolls.
Along with guest correspondent Stefanie Wilder-Taylor (former tv writer, comedian and author of several books), Dr. Phil discussed whether reborn doll collectors and artists were merely passionate about their dolls or were overly obsessive, even to the point where they could potentially harm their relationships with friends and family.
What are reborn and newborn dolls?
If you’ve happened to miss the info about these unique, lifelike dolls, often prized by doll collectors, you can find tons of websites devoted to the art of creating or buying reborn and newborn dolls. Books that tell people how to make reborn dolls abound at Amazon and many people join reborn doll collectors’ groups or network with other collectors on Ebay or blogs devoted to the subject. Creating reborn dolls can take hours but basically starts with either new or older dolls. They are then transformed, step by step, until they resemble actual infants or young children. They can look eerily lifelike. It can take weeks and even months to create them, depending on the technique used by the doll artist.
Will Dr Phil boost reborn doll sales – even during a recession?
Before watching the show, I decided to check one measure of current interest in reborn dolls – the dolls and bears section of Ebay. I was surprised to see that prices for newborn babies and reborn dolls were as high as $1300 and many were in the $500 to $600 range. Some auctions had multiple bids and several left before the Ebay auctions ended. I could only conclude that the recession wasn’t enough to dissuade these doll collectors from spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars on these dolls. After viewers watch Dr. Phil’s latest show, will prices soar because of the additional publicity? I predict they will but find the whole craze a bit strange.
In an earlier article on reborn dolls here, I’d wondered whether newborn dolls were artists’ creations or dangerously lifelike. There had been reports of police officers breaking into cars to “rescue” them, mistaking them for actual infants. As I watched Dr. Phil discuss reborning and the art of creating reborn dolls, he actually used the word “creepy” to describe the reborners. Stefanie Wilder-Taylor was somewhat serious when first talking about the collectors but then looked genuinely alarmed when she walked into the basement of one collector and saw dolls heads, arms and legs displayed in a cabinet.
Reborn and newborn doll collectors – are they obsessive or not?
Since obsessions, from shoes to hair, were the focus of Dr. Phil’s show, it is natural to wonder about whether these doll collectors are doing anything that harms themselves or others. The words used by reborn doll collectors- words which include reborning and newborn babies – evoke images of real infants. That makes some people squirm. Real infants breathe. Real infants cry. Real infants can wake up in the middle of the night and need to be fed, have their diapers changed or need to be soothed.
Still, when the show was over, Dr Phil concluded that those who collect reborn dolls could simply be harmless collectors, something he noted on his Uncensored page on his website here. However, he did set some conditions and boundaries to help viewers determine the line between passion and a harmful obsession. From what I saw and heard, it seemed potential harm existed when reborn doll collectors, reborners or anyone obsessed about anything, from shoes to dolls, enough to keep them from interacting normally with other people. Ultimately, however, it seemed that he felt that reborners and newborn doll artists and collectors were simply passionate about their dolls. Some audience members seemed entranced by these dolls and may go on to become passionate doll collectors themselves.
I was talking to a friend about Dr. Phil’s show and reborners. Her reaction? She wanted to be sure and Tivo the show (just as I did). Clearly, since I first wrote about this back in July of 2008, newborn babies and reborn dolls have continued to fascinate – or horrify – both doll collectors and others. Will reborn dolls continue to get high prices, even if a recession? Before watching the show, I would have said no. But then I saw those Ebay auction prices. Reborn dolls seem to be recession-proof – for now.
Dr. Phil Show
Reborn and Newborn Dolls: Stunning Artists’ Creations or Dangerously Realistic: here
Dr. Phil website: