Sheila Paul, a Black British woman began producing reborn dolls as a hobby in 2014 when she accidentally made a bid on a doll and was amazed when 6 days later she won the bid. However, when she opened the box, she was surprised at how realistic it looked and according to her, “experienced emotions never felt before, looking at a doll.” She was, however, disappointed that the doll’s skin complexion was fairer than hers, as the doll was meant to be ‘her baby’. Ms Paul, therefore, decided to paint the doll to match her own skin colour. She did the same with the hair and made herself a little baby in her image. From there, It’s A Doll was born.
All hand-painted, taking many layers of paint and hours to create a dark-complexioned skin tone, each doll is unique. Instead of painting on canvas, Sheila paints on vinyl shaped doll limbs to create a piece of art that you can hold, a comforter.
“Worldwide, more and more women are collecting reborn dolls as part of their art collection. The dolls are also given to those who have stress and anxiety as well as other mental or emotional health issues such as dementia.
Our aim is to fill the market gap with a wider spectrum of skin tones of dolls for our grandmothers, mothers, aunties and sisters to hold. We really hope to offer an alternative way to manage anxiety and other mental health issues using dolls. ”
“We are looking to collaborate with organisations such as women’s mental health charities to provide dolls for those within the home who could benefit from receiving comfort from holding a doll, like –It’s A Doll.”