Artist who made lifelike doll police believed was real baby not surprised it … – Mirror.co.uk
The artist behind the lifelike doll that sparked controversy when it was “rescued” by police is not surprised it was mistaken for a real baby.
Debbie Bonner Smith who gave the doll to little Janaih Rattray, 10, as a present, praised the cops for acting to save what they thought was a very sick baby.
But she also defended Delesia Rattray, who has been the victim of criticism for leaving it in her Vauxhall Corsa when she went to see her mother in A&E.
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Mrs Bonner Smith, 50, who wrote on the West Midlands Police Facebook page to defend both the police and Delesia told the Mirror Online: “If you’ve never seen one of these dolls before it is easy to mistake it for a baby.
“I’m just a bit gobsmacked really, I thought it was quite funny, it was a compliment to my work as I’m a perfectionist.
“But the police could not have taken any chances. If it had been a dead baby or one that was seriously ill and they had left it in the car, they would have come in for even worse criticism.”
But she also criticised the way Delesia, who is a family friend, had been treated by police and social media, saying she had more important things to worry about than putting the doll in the boot.
She said: “This was a 20 year old girl who had rushed with her little sister to visit their mum who was in A&E. They had other things to think about than putting the doll in the boot.
“The little girl carries the doll everywhere with her. They should have been more apologetic and given her the benefit of the doubt. From what I heard the police weren’t going to give compensation until the story went to the press.”
She added Delesia, whom she has known since she was a child, had been distressed by the damage to her car and the abuse she has been getting on social media.
She said: “Delesia has been in a right state. When she got home she wouldn’t even speak, she went straight to her room. Her poor mother is having to deal with her own illness and a distressed child. It’s really bad.”
The artist, who works for a day care centre for people with physical disabilities, creates the dolls in her spare time.
She was inspired to start making them 10 years ago after seeing a programme on them and wanting her own, but because they were so expensive she decided to make them herself.
The realistic colouring is created by painting a rubber frame in layers so the veins are created, then the flesh colour, then the mottled layer over the top. She adds the eyelashes and hair using alpaca hair, which is the only thing that really looks like baby hair.
The process is a very expensive one, it costs more than Â£100, and many hours of work, to produce a doll, but she says she does it for love and gives them away rather than sells them.
She added most conventional dolls available in the shops were white, or spray painted brown to make a black doll, and were not realistic.
Instead she wants to make toys for little girls of all races so they can have dolls that look just like them.
She said: “I gave the doll to the little girl because she was admiring one I made and I knew she would appreciate it.
“Some people think they’re disgusting and creepy and ask me why I enjoy making things that look like dead babies, but each to their own.
“I think they’re beautiful. I make them with love.”
She added she had been encouraged to make more dolls by the publicity she had received and might even start selling them if there was enough interest.
To see more of her unique creations visit her Instagram page.