Dollmaker’s creations come alive
Amy Cosford’s babies are making a splash on the small screen.
The Blockhouse Bay woman is a “reborning” artist, who paints blank doll kits to look like real babies.
Her creations are so convincing they are being used as body doubles on television series Outrageous Fortune.
“I was really excited to know my dolls were doubles for baby Jane,” she says.
The show’s co-producer Carmen Leonard is impressed by the dolls’ realism.
“It’s definitely the best baby we’ve ever used on the show.
“In terms of height, weight and feel, it was really good for using when the baby was small.”
Mrs Cosford first came across reborning when she was looking for baby clothes on the auction website TradeMe.
A doll came up in her search and she was intrigued.
“I thought, I could do that. I’m quite arty.”
She made some inquiries and searched the internet for ways to get started.
Reborning started about five years ago, when people would pull old dolls apart, strip the paint off them and repaint them as realistically as possible.
It became popular in the United States and people now use doll kits rather than old dolls to paint.
Mrs Cosford, who has been reborning since September last year, says it is now starting to take off in New Zealand.
“I made my first doll and I was really happy with it.
“It sold straightaway on TradeMe.”
Her next doll was bought by South Pacific Pictures for Outrageous Fortune and they asked her to make two more in slightly different sizes as the baby grows.
She says all kinds of people collect the dolls, from the young to the elderly, but she doesn’t keep any of her own creations.
“Maybe if I have a little girl one day I might.”
The price of the dolls depends on the talent of the artist.
Mrs Cosford can sell hers for about $500 but has seen them on the international auction website eBay for up to US$1200.
“Every doll is one of a kind,” she says.
“Even if the same kit is used, no two babies will ever look the same.”
The reborning process has several steps and starts with “veining” the doll, painting in the veins before applying the flesh layers.
Each layer of paint has to be baked in the oven for about eight minutes to make it permanent, which means the doll is in and out of the oven about 30 or 40 times.
When it comes to the hair, every strand has to be attached individually with a special needle and the soft cloth body is weighted with garnet crystals to make it feel realistic.
Mrs Cosford says if she devotes all her spare time to a doll, she can finish it in a week.
She has teamed up with reborn artists in Hamilton and Blenheim to offer workshops for people interested in the hobby.
For more information about the dolls check out www.immaculatecreations. co.nz.
Almost real: Reborning artist Amy Cosford with Millie, one of her creations.