Oh Baby, part 2

So, a while back I wrote a post about finding a stage baby for In the Next Room (the vibrator play).

At the time, I was looking into having a re-born doll made. Think: ladies that craft hyper-realistic baby dolls and then treat them like real children. Its some kind of cross between the sculptor Ron Mueck (see below) and a quilting bee.

Ron Mueck


Anyways, after some discussion, turns out it take about as long to make one of these dolls as it does to make a real baby. So, not really within the “we need it yesterday” time frame for theatrical productions.

We basically needed many different baby options that we could cannibalize to make the ideal baby. I found a website that manufactures the re-born style dolls, and another that sells parts and paint kits for making them yourself. The final baby did not end up being ready made, but the manufactured one came in some of the most amazing packaging i’ve ever seen. Behold:

Packaged baby

The whole thing made me think of the theory of the Uncanny Valley — a technical theory which posits that as human like robots, characters, dolls etc get closer and closer to looking like actual humans, theres a moment of revulsion (ie. a valley), which comes in somewhere around a corpse. Think: talking dogs and the characters in “Up” are cute, a hyper-realistic baby strapped to the inside of a cardboard box is not. It is, in fact, uncanny. On that note, the same company also makes miniature versions of these dolls. Check it out:

tiny miracles doll


… Yep. So, the final result on Baby was a hodge-podge of several different dolls, with custom paint work on the face. This meant that my boss spent several days in her apartment surrounded by baby parts, and eventually had to BAKE the head (its a heat-set paint). Talk about a bun in the oven! Heres the one we ended up using. Enjoy!

INTR baby


About meredithries

Meredith is a set designer living in Brooklyn, NY. See her work at: www.meredithries.com This is a repurposed old blog. Because continuity is important. Malaprop is a malapropism
This entry was posted in In the next room, props, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Oh Baby, part 2

  1. cassie says:

    you are sop cool

  2. I loved you blog, but I think you are looking at reborning from a very negative perspective. I am a reborn artist, and I do not make them to replace real human life. I have two children of my own who are very real…and they let me know it I make reborns because like any other art form it is a way to express creativity. I am also a writer, photographer and sculptor. My main buyers are not lonely women who want a baby to cuddle and pretend with, but wealthy people who like to add to their accumulation of possessions and folks who want their spoiled children to have a very expensive doll to tear apart. Why is reborning any different than the porcelain or composition dolls of the past? For many centuries people have found dolls “creepy”. Perhaps this is similar to the fact that we can hug stuffed rabbits and bears, eat rabbit and bear meat yet get repulsed at the idea of touching/seeing/being near dead human tissue. I would just like to point out that reborning is an art form, and no matter how you choose to look at it, it does not merely cater to sterile women. Now, about the Real Doll, that could be considered slightly odd because they are not meant to be an art form, they are meant to replace real human touch and intimacy, and that can get a bit odd…though I won’t say they aren’t fascinating.

    • meredithries says:

      I appreciate your comment, and I apologize for sounding negative. As a craftsperson I completely appreciate craftsmanship of all kinds, and I certainly shouldn’t have belittled yours.
      What you were saying about the creepiness of the dolls — and the relationship between how we feel about stuffed animals/meat/dead things was what I was bringing up with the Uncanny Valley. Its amazing to me that this mathematical plot can actually capture very real emotional reactions. Whether we are making robots, animated characters, props or dolls, we experience these feelings. I think that its really useful and important for artists of all kinds to bear in mind where those lines are… i know i think about it a lot in my work.

      Anyways, thank you for your comment, and I am sorry to have offended. I am deeply respectful of the craftsmanship and love that goes into those dolls, and its nice to know that some things in this world are still handmade. I was being kind of facetious and I should watch my tongue (or keyboard).



      So, thank you for your comment an

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