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FEATURE: Unique "reborn" artist works in Boundary

Babies…

A miracle of life. A precious joy. A ray of sunshine that can warm even the coldest of hearts. Delicate fingers and toes, the softest of skin, that wonderful new baby smell. Babies can turn the toughest warrior into a pile of mush with just one spit-bubbled smile.

Pause the scene if you can and pay attention to the position of the fingers or the turn of the lips. Then forward a few frames and look again. Did anything change? If not, that life-like baby might be a reborn doll, created by an artist like Okanagan native Kelly Allen. 

Allen, who recently moved back to the Okanagan from Greenwood is one of hundreds of reborn doll artists around the world. Years of honing her craft sets her dolls well apart from the amateurs, and feedback from her eBay customers speaks volumes about her skills and eye for detail.

“I see why people can't put these babies of yours down. My hubby picked it up and held it for almost an hour. Took Kyoko to the office in a car seat & set her on the floor - at first glance everyone thought I had a real baby there - she definitely was loved and admired. I see why people can't put these babies of yours down. These dolls are superior!” – Virginia

 “Little Christian arrived yesterday…Wow! He is beautiful! I can't get over his hair and how well done his body is. His face is perfect too. His little nostrils are so smooth where you've opened them. His little fingernails look real! I can't believe it. You have not missed a single detail, and you've delivered such value in the workmanship and in all the extras.” – Jannean

 “OMG!!!! Bailey is absolutely incredible...I LOVE her!! I thought she looked great in the auction listing, but in real life she is even better! Keara, my 20 year old and I had such fun holding her, trying all her little outfits and just oooo'ing and aw'ing over all the incredible details on her. I'm so amazed that this doll did not go higher…These should be selling for 3 to 4 times what I paid (at least).” ~ Sue

Allen agreed to an interview at her Greenwood home before her move, with the intention of creating more awareness about this specialized art form and hopefully generating some traffic to her newly re-designed website. She prefers to work on her dolls at home, where she can put music on and relax. I'm a bit of a loner," she confessed. "You have to be if you are going to write or do art or anything." 

Collectable Art, Therapeutic Tools

Reborn or living dolls are manufactured vinyl dolls that artists have transformed into extremely lifelike facsimiles of human babies—or babies belonging to other species—through a process called reborning. Doll artists, or reborners, commonly sell through online nurseries.

Reborn dolls are not meant to be play toys. “The doll is made to last,” says Allen, “But it isn’t a bathtub toy or one that can be left in the outdoors or dragged around.” Although reborns are created to cuddle and admire, they are not just “collectable art piece[s], but…tool[s] for teaching childcare, a comfort to those who have lost a baby or to the elderly.” 

Allen explained that Canada and the U.S. were the two countries that started the craft over 10 years ago. "Then it was England and Australia, and from there it just spread." After the first reborn doll was offered for sale on eBay in 2002, interest has grown immensely, starting with collectors who admired the superior lifelike accuracy of the dolls and soon reaching those who recognized the dolls’ potential use in therapy, education, visual arts and other areas. 

Doll manufacturers have taken advantage of the reborn trend and sell supplies, tools, and accessories catering to doll artists, supporting the ongoing development of new techniques in realism. Magazines, books, organizations, and conventions dedicated to this subculture have also emerged. 

Allen is not aware of any reborn doll artists in western Canada. "Most of them are out east," she said. "I honestly don't know anyone around this area that does it. None. There might be, but I don't know." The Internet has allowed artists and collectors to create numerous online communities.

International Reborn Doll Artists (IRDA) is a professional group of reborn doll artists who strive to stay updated educated in their art, and to develop positive, professional relationships with manufacturers and organizations in the doll industry.  Standards are set by an executive board. Allen belongs to the Exceptional Reborn Artistry (ERA) site, which she feels is pretty supportive. The site is based out of England, but has members from around the globe. 

On Becoming a Reborn Doll Artist

Allen enjoyed art when she was younger. "I used to draw all the time—people. I haven't drawn in a long time. I won first prize once. I never drew again. I have no idea why. Kinda weird." She also dabbled in paper mache and hopes to get back into it.

She first saw a reborn doll on EBay and “at first I thought it was a joke, that somebody put their baby on as a joke. So I wanted one and I couldn't afford it, so I thought, well I'm going to make one." She decided to get two and then sell one to recoup her costs. “I ended up selling both of them." Reborning allows Allen to combine her love for art with her love for babies. "I like babies, so it's nice doing it." Allen smiled. "You don't have to change them or get up in the middle of the night either." 

"I had boys and they thought I was nuts right away," she laughed. "They still do." Allen's sons are 25 and 28, which would have made them 11 and 14 when their mom first got into this peculiar hobby. "They still think it's weird, but they don't really care anymore." Allen agrees that their reaction probably would have been different if they were girls.

I learned it all on my own

Unlike many other art forms, there is no long-established skill set passed down through generations. "It's a brand new art," said Allen. " I came in at the very beginning on the ground floor around the year 2000." She recalled, “You had to really guess…you had to beg other reborn artists to tell you what they were doing.”  

 Allen didn't have a mentor and described her learning process as being “a lot of detective work in the beginning." As a historical writer, she was used to doing that kind of investigative research. "That helped me a lot." Early on, no one would share techniques. “You had to research everything. I had to figure out how to find the pieces, how to get everything I needed. I learned it all on my own—all of it.” 

She continues to research because “now they're letting more secrets out.” Having already developed many of the skills through trial and error, her findings mainly serve to confirm that, “Oh! I did learn that right." 

Allen does admit to learning a few things online now that there are tutorials available. "Tons of them," according to Allen, though some aren’t good. “I look and I go 'I wouldn't do that.' I know I wouldn't do that... maybe partly because I've already done it and learned not to do that." 

So how did other artists figure it out? Allen suspects many learned like her—through trial and error. Allen has gleaned a few tidbits from forums, but is cautious about advice. "Sometimes they [artists] will lead you the wrong way on purpose." Like other competitive markets, unscrupulous practices are not uncommon when vying for consumer dollars.

Awareness of these practices has come through discussions with other artists on forums. “It's mostly women who do this. There are men, but mostly it's women—but they're wealthy, they sit at home, and they buy anything and everything they want and sometimes they buy their own doll on EBay and make the price go way up…that is how you see some of them get their name, and I don't do that."

Allen has no desire to teach her craft to others at this juncture in life. "I'd rather not. I know people who have taught other people things and they just go out and undersell, and I'm not going to do that. Plus I just don't feel like it. That's not where my love for it lies…If somebody wanted to just sit with me and do it, even then it's hard," she explained, due to competing demands on her time.

Supplies

When Allen started reborning, "you had to buy ordinary, regular dolls, preferably that looked more realistic, but they were whole vinyl dolls." She would use an exacto knife to take them apart. "Now that reborning is recognized as an actual art...they make the actual pieces."

Allen buys all of the materials she needs to make the dolls from the U.S. Shipping can take from a week to sometimes months. “I do try to keep supplies on hand though. There's nothing in Canada for any of this. I have to order everything [from the States]…I'd love to buy my supplies in Canada, but I can't." She uses a number of different suppliers. "I hope for sales and then I divide my business up amongst them. There are different ones that I go through in Florida and Utah." 

There are hundreds of different molds available for purchase and "the price can be outrageous," says Allen. Until she starts getting into it more, she plans to stay with the lower-priced parts. "That doesn't mean they're not good dolls...it's just that the artist [who sculpts the molds] is less known."  Holding up a doll, she said that just the arms, legs and face mold were $59, "This is a cheaper doll." 

As for paints, Allen pointed across the room and said, "That doll alone took a long time. That one probably got 15 or 20 layers of paint, and you bake in between every layer, so it's not a quick job." The paints cost about $5 US each, "So there's a lot of money in that," said Allen.

And then there's my eyes," said Allen, displaying a container of packaged orbs. They vary in price and come in a multitude of sizes and colors. She held up one set that cost $10 US.  Teeth can also be purchased. Mohair costs about $45 US/oz., which can be almost the amount used for one doll.

Allen takes advantage of sales when possible. "I try to save up, try to do an order of about $100 a time because it saves shipping fees; but if you go too high then you're paying customs fees." She primarily uses PayPal for both selling and buying in American dollars.

Reborning Process

After removing most of the vinyl "hairs" (if rooting head), the doll parts are washed in hot sudsy water. Allen uses a drill to gently open nose holes, then backs them with burgundy felt. Incredibly lifelike eyes are set and sealed in place. The eyes are incredibly lifelike. Pointing at a newborn, Allen said she tried to make the eyes look like they weren't focusing well. 

"Everything you see on these I've done," she noted. "Other artists have used baked-on polymer clay to change the size and shape of different facial features. The clay will crack if you over-bake it and the vinyl can also get burnt. "It's kind of tricky balancing it [baking time] back and forth.”

Skin and veins

Face molds and body parts—including posing plates (chest/belly and back/bum)—are available for creating dolls of different ethnicities, but Allen prefers to color or "blush" them herself because,  “then you can keep the hands and the feet the proper color. You can't really lighten it, you can darken it." All reborn dolls, including Caucasian dolls, need to have the skin and veins painted to create the most realistic tones. 

 “It's funny,” said Allen, “because I know that people kind of look at me strange if I'm staring at their kid—I'm looking at the skin tones and where their veins are and everything. I'm trying not to make it obvious, 'cause I don't want to come off as some creepy person," she laughed, "and when I don't have grandkids to look at, and my kids are long grown up, it's hard...you can look at the internet all day long, and I do have a lot of good pictures that I go by, but there's nothing like the real thing."

Vinyl doll parts can have slight blemishes or light scratches, so artists will incorporate these to give some babies milia, angel kisses or stork bites, freckles or birth marks. "They're not going to tell you that, but it is true. I know, because I talk to them."  

The dyes and inks commonly used in the early years are not as stable as the baked-on oil paints Allen uses now. Each layer of paint is baked before moving on to the next layer. Allen uses a mounted magnifying lamp to do all of the detailed work. 

Mixing her own colors, she uses paint thinner and a “tiny touch of paint so they go on very translucent, otherwise you can see the paint." The goal is to create tones and shades that don't look painted on—more of a stained or blushed effect. 

Nails, finger/toe creases and lips are tinted with various shades. Very narrow off-white tips at the nail ends give a trimmed look. A matte sealer is applied last, and sometimes satin sealer for a wetter look.

"Back in the day when my kids were little, you boiled these vinyl pieces with clothing dye. They'd come home and I'd have a pot of arms and legs," she chuckled. "Now, of course, I just put them in the oven and cook them!" 

Allen admits she was quite popular at Halloween. "I gave them all the parts that didn't work out and I'm not even going to ask them what they did. I know they had fun."

Hair and lashes

Allen has extremely fine rooting needles for adding hair and lashes. They have a tiny barb on the end that catches the hair and pushes it into the vinyl. "You have to push it in at a certain angle, otherwise you're just going to have it sticking out of the top of the head looking like a troll doll or something." Once the hair is rooted from the outside of the head, it is glued on the inside so it doesn't pull out. "It's a long tedious process." 

Human hair is available for purchase, but is difficult to root as it breaks easily. Allen likes to use mohair (Angora goat), which has more stretch and works better when putting a needle through latex. She often mixes two different colors, to pick up different highlights and make it more realistic. 

 Allen is trying out painting techniques for hair and eyebrows, though eyelashes have to be rooted individually or glued on as a set. Brows are painted on one tiny stroke at a time and blended together slightly. She uses a heat gun for spot heating. "You can wreck the doll awfully quick if you're not careful." 

Bodies and limbs

Allen prefers to sew the doll bodies rather than buy them.  “I like to make everything on my own so that it looks like it's made by me and not bought this from that company and this from that company. She uses soft suede material in rose, peach, beige or brown. 

The limbs come in different lengths and widths. "This one is more chubby," she said, holding up a package of parts, "so then I'd have to make the body a little chubbier." 

Both the doll bodies and limbs are weighted with cloth bags filled with glass beads, or steel or plastic pellets, depending on the weight needed to make them feel lifelike. Polyfill is stuffed around the bags so they don’t shift around. Narrow plastic ties are used to put the doll together.

"I do try to handle them like babies so that they don't get wrecked. You don't want the head to flop over backwards." 

She carefully handed over a doll. "You're going to probably be amazed and start feeling like you need to cuddle her...or bounce her on your knee or something. It's actually very automatic, even I do it," she laughed. " You can't help it, you know it just kind of happens. You don't know you're dong it!”

As real as the doll felt to hold, due to the weight distribution throughout the body, not to mention the very lifelike eyes glistening upwards, there was a noticeable lack of that wonderful smell babies emit.  Apparently it is possible to buy "baby scent" to put on the dolls. 

Most of the dolls Allen makes are implanted with magnets in their mouth and scalp, enabling pacifiers and hair bows to be easily attached. Hearts can be put into zippered chest cavities that produce a realistic heartbeat when pressed. Pressure-activated voice boxes enable dolls to talk. "Oh yeah, it's a nonstop market," said Allen, "You can buy forever…people put jewelry on them too; they'll even put diamonds on them and that is where your $2000 starts coming in. I don't want to be doing that."

Allen will sometimes sculpt umbilical cords with the hospital clamp. A magnet connects the cord to the belly plate. "This is made with various different colors of clay inside there, rolled up, translucent-looking, so that it looks like veins inside."

Clothing and accessories

Dolls are made in a smoke-free environment and leave the “nursery” lightly scented with baby powder.  Each comes with a blanket, two outfits, two diapers, a toy, a pacifier, shoes or booties and/or socks. "They don't go naked!" Allen chuckled. "I try to make them look nice when a person opens the package. I want them to be happy." 

She makes most outfits herself, but the patterns she has need to be changed in order to hide the cloth on the neck, arms and legs—everywhere there isn't vinyl. She has bought baby clothes in the past, but those needed altering as well. 

Allen signs the cloth bottom or inside pocket of each doll she crafts, as well as the accompanying Rebirth Certificate—her only safeguard as an artist, besides the photos she takes. "People COULD take…everything off and redo them if they wanted to. I hope they don't. I can't stop them. I just...what can you do? I can't get paranoid about it."

 A labour of love

“I never mass create my dolls,” says Allen. “Each baby is a one of a kind labour of love.” Each reborn artist has her/his own ideas and “that is what makes it each doll special. I have had customers ask me to duplicate another reborn artist’s work. It can’t be done exactly and isn’t ethical.”

While Allen can custom-make dolls according to customer preferences, she "would rather not, because sometimes a person will see in their mind what it looks like and, as an artist, when you're doing it, you're seeing it in your mind. They might say, 'Oh I want it to have peach skin and dark hair and green eyes,' so you'll do all that, but even if they've picked the mold they want...it'll look totally different." 

 Allen recalled one custom order from North Carolina. "It's name was Miniya—they named it, not me—and they wanted a light-skinned African-American with green eyes, because her husband was black and she was Caucasian...her husband also had green eyes. And I thought, what am I going to do? She wants a white African-American basically. So I did the best I could. I looked at all kinds of pictures...she really liked it. So thank God...it wasn't easy doing that one."

 What about reproducing from photographs? "I can to a point," said Allen. "I have to find a mold that looks very similar, and I have done that before for somebody.” But even after finding a mold that is a good match, the artist still needs to match the hair and skin tones, veining, and even birth marks. Allen is still trying to find molds for her own children. “I haven't done one of mine. I'd like to." 

Toddler dolls less realistic 

Allen's dolls thus far range in age from preemie to six months. "Most of them are newborn to three months." She recently ordered her first toddler doll, age two. "They are a different skin tone," she pointed out, "so it's going to be a learning experience to do that one." 

At 32" tall, this doll will also require more paint and other materials to complete. "I'm going to have to get a bigger oven to heat it because the pieces are big, so I don't know how much I'm going to really like doing it."

 "To me, the older they are, they look more fake," observed Allen. "When they're babies you can kind of, you know, pose them a certain way if they're sleeping. Toddler dolls, when they're standing, they're absolutely stiff…I prefer to keep it more realistic looking."

Allen has one preemie that she bought to reborn for herself about 10 years ago—a tiny, anatomically correct girl that she has not started yet. "I bought it for me. It's probably going to be sold eventually. Like I said, I buy for myself and then I just don't keep them." 

 Not just earthlings

Allen has recently changed her company name from North Country Nursery to North Star Nursery because she is now branching out into "all kinds of babies, like, not just earthlings." 

She walked over to a cupboard. "My other one is in here, but I didn't want to startle you," she grinned. She pulled out a doll that looked like a cross between Chuckee and a Klingon. The champagne-colored eyes were eerily warm. 

"The reason I decided to turn this one into an alien is once I bought the...mold—it's just the pieces—I really thought it was ugly. I didn't want to make it and then, all of a sudden, I looked at it one day and I though oh my God, it looks like a Star Trek character. So I turned it into one." 

“This is, of course, alien milk," Allen laughed as she held up a baby bottle of creamy green liquid. 

 She may write a fictitious story to accompany the alien baby, about where and how he was found, but said "I'm not really in a big hurry to sell him," citing further touchups needed.

The topic turned to Allen’s thoughts on animal reborns. She has one gorilla baby, "and there are dog ones." She waffled a bit as she collected her thoughts. "Mmm, no,,,I like to stick with these and I'm getting into the aliens more, but I like to try to keep them cute and still look babyish…I don't really think that [alien baby] is horror-looking, There are horror babies and I think they're awful. I don't want one in my house." 

I’m getting better as I go

 How would Allen compare the dolls she is making now with her first attempts? "Night and day difference. Oh, I'm way better now…I'm getting better as I go." She remembers almost every doll she's completed, though isn't certain of the number. "I'm not even sure, probably a couple hundred maybe, and sold them all over North America."

The first doll she made 14 years ago cost about $100 to make. Allen sold it for about $150. "So your time is NOT paid for. It takes me between two weeks and a month to make one."

“It’s a strange market, it really is.”

You can find many reborn dolls available for sale online these days. Allen has sold dolls across the U.S. and Canada. "Most of them sell, for some reason, down south. I don't know why." When asked about the going rates, she said it depends. "Mine, I don't sell for less than $250. I try to sell them for more and I will eventually.” The most she has sold a doll for to date is $550 US.  

 "It's a strange market, it really is. If you do a search on EBay, "reborn baby," you'll see some selling for about $80 and you'll see some selling for $2000. If you look at the one that's $80, chances are it's going to be extremely ugly, it's going to have felt pen drawn-on eyebrows, plugs for hair." Allen picked up one of her finished dolls. "Every hair you see I rooted. It's not a plug, it's not like 10 hairs at a time stuck here and there—it's 1-2 hairs." 

Just the time alone to do the hair rooting explains the higher price tags of well-made dolls like Allen's, though she will likely never recoup the cost of her time.  "And I have arthritis in my hands, so it's not easy. It takes me about 40 hours to do the hair."  

Many people these days don't understand the value of hand-crafted products, believing they can buy an identical factory product for much less. However, the old adage "you get what you pay for" is more true than not, and what looks like a beautifully detailed collector's piece is often a disappointment upon closer inspection.

Years ago, Allen bought some dolls from Ashton-Drake Galleries to take apart and redo. “They had hair and eyes and fingernails," she recalled. "They're ugly up close! The hair is...pushed on and the glue is half coming off. The fingernails were peeling off—as soon as you touch them it just peels off. It was awful and they're charging $150?"

 "I've had people offer me $50 for one, and that's a slap in the face, because that's not even a quarter sometimes of what I put into it," remarked Allen. "Depending on the doll, each one will cost me anywhere from double the price of just the kit to quadruple, depending on what I do. I could do way more to it and charge a fortune. You know, add gold jewelry and things that people do, or buy custom-ordered outfits or high-end $200 outfits." She says she is trying to keep hers affordable but still good quality. "So if the person wants, if they like my doll, THEY can go buy the outfit."

Customer stories — “I never ask”

 "There's a lot of people who...in my opinion are a little crazy," surmised Allen. "Well, I've seen it on TV—usually men for some strange reason. They'll buy a doll, a woman doll, and then they'll start buying their kids, and they'll have toddlers and babies and they'll set them up in their yard and take family portraits...that is getting a little weird to me. I think they need a little help, but whatever." 

Allen tries not to pass judgment. "As long as it doesn't hurt anyone, I don't really see what the problem is. "There are certainly much more bizarre "fetishes" out there.” 

She does know that some dolls have gone for advertising and possibly plays, or other types of visual and performing arts, "but after that, I think a lot of them are just collectors. Why they collect them, I don't know. You know, whether it's because they need one for a childcare class or they've lost a child or what, I don't know." 

She is not aware of any counsellors or therapists buying her dolls, but suspects that others may sell to them. Allen doesn’t query her customers about why they want a doll. "I actually never ask, because I feel that—if they want to tell me, I'll listen. I'm a compassionate person. I will listen and I won't tell anybody things, but I never ask." 

She can understand why people might be appalled at the idea of creating a doll that replicates a deceased child, but none of her work to date has done so. "I would do it for somebody—maybe. I would feel a little weird about it, but if that's what they want and they're willing to pay—I enjoy doing it [the art], and if it makes them feel happy, or maybe not happy, but comforted somehow, I suppose. Though it would make me feel a little weird. If it was my own kid, I wouldn't want that. But everybody's got their own ideas."

One of her earlier dolls is in a New York insurance office. She also sells to movie production crews, as it is sometimes more practical for them to use a reborn than a real baby. 

Allen used to sell to a woman in Calgary who wanted a lot of oriental dolls, "She told me point blank she was reselling them." Allen was fine with this as long as she got the price she wanted. There was another woman out in Nova Scotia who Allen believes was buying and reselling her dolls because she bought a lot. "The only thing I don't want is for them to say they made it, and I don't know if they're saying that, because if they do that then that's not fair."

Overcoming personal tragedy — “They just looked dead.”

Allen took a 5-year hiatus from reborning after a drunk driver killed her husband in 2009, only recently returning to her art in the last year and a half. "I just stopped reborning because to me, when I looked at them [reborns], they looked like dead babies...I saw him made up in the funeral home and he looked awful. It didn't look like him. So then when I started looking at these [dolls] they didn't look real to me anymore. Like, obviously they're not real, but…they just looked dead. And now I do know what some people mean—there was one woman I showed one to and she was horrified, almost started crying and said, "Get that away from me," and...I know what she means now." 

Her husband of over 20 years had been the main income earner for the family. Allen worked on and off, but he didn't like her to work. “I liked being at home with the kids...I loved it when my kids were home—we did everything together." The loss of her partner "really made me have to stop and figure out what am I doing, how am I going to do it, what direction should I go in order to survive." She went to school to become a medical transcriptionist, found a job and worked for a couple of years at it. 

Allen started working on her dolls again because she really missed it. “I'm in a position right now, at this moment, where I can stop and do something for me." She'd like to get out of medical transcription altogether, citing extremely poor wages and developing arthritis. 

Allen will go back to work if needed, but hopes that won't be the case. She would prefer to put devote her time to travelling around the Okanagan and building sales. "I'm hoping it picks up," remarked Allen. "It's time, because I've been doing this for...14 years." 

Getting known

According to Allen, some artists are known "because they're paying more to be known, you know, paying for articles on themselves in magazines and paying for websites. If you put more into it, you're going to be known more. I just haven't put a lot into it." 

Finding Allen on Google was a real challenge until recently, as she didn’t have a website other than an EBay store. Her son has now got one up and running for her, and she is also starting to build more of a presence on social media sites.

Her eBay name is North Country Nursery, but she has changed her actual nursery name to North Star Nursery. Because she has 100% positive feedback as an eBay seller and doesn't want to lose her ratings or comments, Allen won't change the eBay name. "I'm known as one of the better people you can trust," she explained, and doesn't want to start at the beginning with zero feedback, "Because nobody is going to want to buy from me then."  

Allen has also sold locally. “Sometimes people just show up at my door—it's kind of funny—and they'll say, “Are you the lady that makes the babies?”"

 She poses the dolls with their accessories and takes photos for marketing purposes. "Picture taking takes an entire day or two—hundreds of pictures. I mean, you have to whittle it down to...25. It's not easy." A portfolio is in the works to show potential customers and she has a couple of people willing to mentor her so she can "really get into selling." In time, she plans to utilize photos of her dolls for marketable products like greeting cards and calendars. 

Allen hopes to get more connected with the movie and theatre industries, and build a name for herself. Museums are potential customers, though she tried to put her dolls in a local one and was turned down "in case somebody stole one or something."

Small town reaction — “We’re just between rumors”

 Allen said one of her reasons for relocating is because the Okanagan is more of a tourism area, with higher-end shops and markets she hopes to sell to. “Around here (Boundary area), people just look at you like you're nuts."

"I have to admit, I did show them in Grand Forks, and people were really rude—very rude." She said they thought it was weird. She had reborn dolls advertised in the Buy and Sell and people would say, right on her ad, "That woman must be crazy making those. She must have some kind of mental issue. She must be weird. I wouldn't want one of those horrible things in my house.”  Allen was shocked. “I mean…I'm normal! I just like to do artwork. This is my art! And I don't have them all over my house!" 

Allen has encountered a lot of close-minded people in the area, which is surprising, considering what an arts-saturated region this is. 

"If people would spend less time gossiping and do something they might realize there's more to do out there and they might open their minds a little. That might be a rude thing to say—I don't know." 

"I like the small towns, I really do, but I find there's..." Allen paused. Well, for instance, on one of the sites on Facebook right now, there is a man who said, “Isn't there anything going out there? Does anybody have anything to say?” And I thought, “Go get a life! Start a hobby! Do something!” And I had to say it, so I said, “Don't worry, we're just between rumors.” I should have kept my mouth shut, I shouldn't have said that, but I had to." 

Adoption Information

If you are interested in seeing more of Allen’s work or purchasing a reborn doll of your own, you can visit her website at http://www.angelfire.com/art2/northcountrynursery/index.html.

Allen can also be contacted by email at kellyreborns@yahoo.ca. Please type “Reborn Baby” in the subject box.