All about me, Carolyn Doughty:
I live in Preston, Lancashire (in the North West of England), with my partner Joe, my five cats (Coco, Merlin, Phoebe and Joey and Cookie) and Labrador dog (Pepper).
I have always been passionate about art and crafts ... and have tried just about every craft pastime. But my major love was always portraiture, especially children and babies.
In Spring 2011 I found a picture of a reborn baby on the internet. I could not believe it was not a real baby, but a doll. I was utterly fascinated and by the end of the weekend I had ordered a kit, and all the paints and materials I needed to learn to reborn one of these gorgeous kits. When the kit arrived, I just sat and looked at it, stunned by how beautiful that little baby face was, fascinated by the little fingers and toes.
By 2013 I had quite a few lovely reborns under my belt and then I came across a silicone baby on the internet. Well... I wanted to know how to make these gorgeous babies. I could find no information at all about how to make a silicone, so I decided to work it out for myself. I went on a mould-making residential course, and started to teach myself to sculpt. It was over a year before I made a head that was good enough to show anybody, but I was also having difficulty with moulds and materials. It cost me a LOT of wasted money on trial and error, at that time there was no information on what materials or techniques and people who were already making silicone babies tended to keep their trade secrets to themselves. I started my own YouTube channel sharing what I had learnt and encouraging others to learn the craft. I don't believe in keeping things to myself.
In 2016 I met Ja'mir who had been making clay magical people and ball joint dolls and was starting to move into silicone - elves, faeries, dragons. We started working together and formed 'Our World of Chi' which was my main focus until Ja'mir left the partnership in 2021.
So then we were in the midst of the pandemic, it was a bleak and worrying time for all of us, and as a doll artist working from home, was quite isolating, doll shows were cancelled and spending hours and hours in your own company does nothing for your creative juices!
So now it is 2022, and I am kick-starting my doll business with new branding, a fresh new approach and a great deal of excitement and enthusiasm ... exciting times ahead!
So how are the dolls made?
There are basically three stages to making a silicone baby doll.
(1) The first stage is sculpting the doll. I start with a block of clay and sculpting tools, and I sculpt the head and body of the baby in clay. I usually use polymer clay which is soft when used but hardens, or cures, in the oven. Once the baby is baked, he or she is sanded down to give her a nice smooth finish and then she is ready for moulding.
(2) The second stage, the moulding and casting process involves a soft 'glove mould' made out of silicone, and then a hard shell or 'mother mould' so that the glove mould will keep its shape whilst being cast. Then the liquid silicone is prepared, degassed and poured into the mould and allowed to cure. Once cured the new baby is pulled from the mould and cleaned, fixed and prepared for painting.
(3) The third stage is painting and rooting the baby, to make him or her as realistic as possible. The eyelashes are usually rooted, and the hair is rooted using a fine needle pushing in one or two strands at a time.