Debbie Henshaw of They Never Grow up Nursery, Where Babies are babies forever, www.theynevergrowupnursery.com began Reborning in 2005 three years after discovering the art of Reborning.
In 2002 Debbie was fairly new to collecting dolls. At Christmas her husband was looking to purchase a new doll for her collection and stumbled upon Reborns on eBay. Once Debbie saw these Reborns she was mesmerized by this relatively new art form. For the next two and a half years she studied everything she could find about Reborns without the intention of ever creating one herself. One day the thought came to her that she should try to make one and she did. Her first creation was named “Abby” She was inspired to continue Reborning dolls by the feedback she was given by her first customer.
When we asked Debbie how she honestly feels about Reborns she had this to say. “I think Reborns are amazing in many ways. Not only are they beautiful pieces of art to collect and adore, they also have a therapeutic aspect to them. It is human nature to smile while hugging a big teddy bear or to even feel “comfort” from that fuzzy innate creature. Reborn dolls can affect us in the same way. When we hold a reborn we automatically begin to rock and bounce the bundle in our arms. Our stress levels go down and a look of peace crosses our face. Reborns are excellent comfort items for those suffering Alzheimer or dementia also. When presented with a reborn doll, patient’s anxiety and stress levels are also lowered making them more accommodating to their care. To learn more about Reborns as therapy dolls please visit: http://www.seniorhomecareinformation.com/dementia/benefits-of-reborn-baby-dolls-to-alzheimers-and-dementia-patients/ or click on the video link.
Reborns are “huggable art” Debbie loves using them as conversation starters with the general public and she also writes whimsical picture stories using the dolls. You can view some of her picture stories on her blog at http://theynevergrowupnursery.blogspot.com/
Debbie has obtained numerous awards throughout her Reborning career. From the guilds she belongs to she has received Artist of month which is voted on by peers in the industry as well as several annual awards. As she has grown in the Reborn community she has been recognized as a Master Reborn Artist and Teacher. In 2009 she received the Tiny Treasure Reborn Doll of the year as well as the rooting award and the Public choice award. The same year she was nominated for a Colliii Award http://www.colliii.com and later did an interview with Colliii TV http://colliii.com/en/story/debbie-henshaw-meet-colliii-award-2009-nominated-doll-artist
These days Debbie’s does not have the time to enter contest as she is keeping busy with teaching this art and showing her creations at shows. Each year she attends several shows across the United States where she shows and teaches. This year, 2012, she hopes to attend the Peterborough show in the United Kingdom http://www.thedollshow.co.uk/octobershowinfo.htm. This will be Debbie’s first International show. Debbie usually teaches a 2 day course at the shows on multi-dimensional skin tones. Debbie also offers private classes where you can choose from a 2 day painting course or a week long one on one course. To see an up to date show and class schedule please visit http://www.theynevergrowupnursery.com/classes-and-shows.html
Though Debbie does not accept Regular Custom Reborn orders she will accept Custom Portrait Orders. The current wait time is approximately 6 months and these orders must be paid in full before she begins work. Debbie also offers, premium hand processed acid dyed angora mohair, LDC air paint color guides and Free online help as well as tutorials on Doll dreams http://www.dolldreams.net/tutorials Soon she will be releasing her full reborn DVD course. This course was filmed at Dianna Effners studio as Debbie taught Dianna how to Reborn her first vinyl kit “Huggy Bear” http://theynevergrowupnursery.blogspot.com/2011/12/huggy-bear-that-dianna-effner-reborned.html
One of Debbie’s most memorable experiences in Reborning happened recently. She spent a week with her granddaughter Jena who is 9 years old, teaching her how to create a Reborn. Jena spent her spring break from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day with her grandmother learning this art. Jena reborned one of the Stephanie Sullivan quads sculpts. The best memory of the class besides the completion of Bella was the anticipation that Jena was filled with right before “Bella” was finished. The first time she held Bella was something that both Debbie and Jena will always remember. To see Jena at work please visit: http://theynevergrowupnursery.blogspot.com/2012/04/bella-is-born-jena-is-in-love.html
When asked what advice would she give to new reborn artists Debbie stated “Please study everything you can about this art before buying one single supply. The Art of Reborning is not something that you can pick up overnight. You must first understand the terms used in Reborning and become familiar with the various products available to Reborners. Invest in tutorials and join forums to further your knowledge of this art. Finally you must have the mind set to be an Artist. To be meticulous and to be willing to spend whatever amount of money and time it takes to make a quality Reborn Baby.”
As a doll collector as well as an Artist Debbie wants collectors to know “go beyond the first look attraction that pulls at your heart strings and look at the key elements. Look at the hair closely; does it look dry or brittle? Does it stand straight up? Is it patchy of pluggy? Look at the eyes, do they sit correctly in the socket, are the eyelashes placed correctly. How does the paint look? Is it dry pasty and thick or soft smooth and translucent? Check the creases closely. Is the doll easy to pose or does it look stiff and rigid. Most importantly read the listing or auction or ask questions. Find out if the doll comes from a smoke free environment or a pet free environment if you are allergic to animals.
Now that Debbie’s DVD is produced and will be on the market soon her goals are smaller this year. She simply wants to Reborn all the kits that she currently has in stock and start fresh with only a few kits. She admits that with so many amazing artists this might be hard to do.
Are final question to Debbie was Where do you see Reborning going in the coming years? Debbie says in the past 2 years there have been a lot more “artist quality” Reborns. Artists are improving their techniques making quality count not quantity. She hopes that this trend continues. She would also like to see Artists given the respect due to them. She says “For some strange reason the public seems to think that since we make dolls and we are sweet, loving compassionate people, and that they have a right to ask us to reduce our already below minimum wage prices or to give them a free doll. We spend a lot of money, and work very hard and very long to create one Reborn doll. I hope we can continue to educate the public about what it actually costs and takes to make a Reborn”