Dolls with even more of a mission
Aptly named artist, J Stocks Dearborn, creates “one of a kind, handsculpted, newborn art dolls” on her equally aptly named online store, My Tangible Peace.
The artist explains the driving force behind her craft, “I love babies, I always have, they completely amaze me. And when I discovered my passion for sculpting the newborn form I was instantly sucked into the world of dolls.”
Indeed, her newborn dolls are as realistic as you can get. They are anatomically correct, with 10 fingers and 10 toes, wrinkles and creases, and last but not least, light veining. In fact, some even have slight cone-shaped heads and come with clamped umbilical cords. As the artist herself puts it, her newborn dolls are “really just a pint-sized version of the real thing.”
For an estimate of size, Olivia Anne – #157/07, a gender-neutral baby with an ample amount of blonde Mohair, selling for $120 (USD), is 4 inches long.
Besides the regular miniature dolls, My Tangible Peace also carries life-sized newborn dolls, such as Maxwell Thomas – #165/07, who measures 7 inches long and weighs 5lbs, and “will arrive at his new home with [p]acifier, preemie star T-shirt [and] [P]amper, a pink/[b]lue hospital hat and blanket, [and a] Hospital ID tag.”
But what will really make you sit up is that in addition to regular miniature newborn dolls and life-sized newborn dolls, the artist also sculpts “memorial pieces,” meaning commissioned replicas of babies who have passed on. In fact, the artist’s first memorial piece was of her own baby daughter. She says, “It only seemed natural – I was sculpting to help me cope with my own grief over the loss of my daugher.” She then progressed to sculpting memorial pieces for other bereaved parents. “[I]t seemed right to take that energy and put it into Art Dolls that were being requested from other familes who walk my path,” she continues.
Even though the artist estimates that a large part of her work – about 85% of her newborn dolls – are memorial pieces, she does not charge for them. She reasons, “It’s not Art for Art’s sake… it’s art for the heart… [H]ow can you put a price tag on something that is priceless? … I am not out there to make money off of your loss.” Instead, she takes a donation to cover the cost of her supplies in making these memorial pieces.
(Link to My Tangible Peace)
Is memory made tangible still memory? At which point does Buadrillard’s simulacrum become the real thing? Rushdie’s Fury, anyone?