North Adams Transcript
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- Two sisters are fooling a lot of people with their artistic endeavor that involves making dolls that look like real babies.
Kathi George, of Williamstown, and Julie Crosier, of North Bennington, Vt., began dabbling in the hobby of making "reborn" dolls in January of this year, and now sell the realistic hand-crafted dolls locally.
"We do get the ‘Oh, that is creepy' response, but we just take it as a compliment," George said. The sisters named their business Until Forever Nursery, and have so far made about 35 dolls.
"It's an art form" George said. "It's like painting on a canvas. You start with a blank slate, and once you're done, you've created something beautiful."
Crosier said that studies have shown that the dolls can be very therapeutic for people, such as calming a person down, or bringing down a person's blood pressure. The dolls have also been found to be good for the elderly, and dementia and Alzheimer's patients, she said. "It's nice to be able to do something that can benefit people, and bring joy to them," Crosier said.
George said each doll starts out as a vinyl sculpt, which is the head and limbs, made by an artist. Each sculpt has a name, ranges in size from preemie to toddler, and can be purchased as a kit, she said. "It costs us about $100 to make a doll, not including the clothing and accessories," she said. "Our prices for selling the dolls start at $200."
Crosier said it takes 10 to 20 hours to make one doll, and the process involves putting eight layers of paint on the sculpt to replicate the skin of a newborn baby, baking the sculpt each time a layer of paint is applied, and using a felting needle to root mohair on the doll's head.
The dolls' bodies are make from doe-suede fabric, and are weighted from four to seven pounds to represent the weight of a baby, George said. The weighting is done using nylon stockings or rubber gloves filled with glass beads, she said.
She said because the dolls look like real newborns, they have learned to be careful when handling them in public. "You have to be careful because you never know who is watching, and it can really upset people if they think you're mishandling a baby," George said.
At Mayfest in Bennington, Vt., this year, someone reported them to the information booth because the person had felt they needed to be talked to about having their newborns out in the sun too long, George said.
"We had gone to do some advertising, and we were both carrying dolls around from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.," she said.
George and Crosier have been selling their "reborn" dolls at Summer Sundays in Williamstown, and plan to be at the Apple Squeeze in Lenox in the fall. They also have a Facebook page for the business.