Labour of love

Labour of love
LIFELIKE: Singaporean artist Linda Ho takes six weeks to make a reborn doll. To get that realistic look, she paints only in natural light.

She looks so lifelike, you would expect her to open her eyes and cry for milk.

Even though this doll is not a real baby, the process of its "birth" is almost as intensive as real labour.

First, there are layers - at least 40 of them - of paint to be slathered on the doll. And each layer has to be baked in an oven to heat-set the colour before the next layer is painted on.

This process takes at least two weeks for Madam Linda Ho, the only artist here who creates these "reborn" dolls.

She also paints blue veins and blemishes like those on newborns.

Madam Ho can only paint during daylight hours because she needs natural light to get that realistic effect.

The stay-at-home mother, 25, then puts in mohair, strand by strand onto the doll's head. This takes another two to three weeks.

In an interview with The New Paper on Sunday, Madam Ho says she decided to make her own because she could not get realistic dolls in Singapore.

Her attempts at buying these dolls from overseas left her disappointed.

She says: "I tried to buy twice from overseas, but the transaction didn't happen.

"I was heartbroken because I just wanted one badly."

The mother of three children, aged three, five and six, says it started off as a hobby.

"I was amazed that it's possible to turn a blank sculpture into something so lifelike.

"It is like turning a blank canvas into something realistic by just painting. It intrigues me."

Madam Ho is also a doula, a woman giving support, help, and advice to another woman during pregnancy and during and after the birth.

She says: "It's like having a baby who never grows up. I like babies, but they don't stay that way forever."

In total, she has spent more than $10,000 on more than 100 kits. Each kit, which she bought online, comes with a head, a pair of hands and a pair of legs.

"I was becoming a hoarder because I collected those that I liked."

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