African American Starling
Secrist Doll Company proudly presents their first African American doll, newborned by artist Valencia Lacy. Scroll down for painting technique.
Written by Judith Clegg
Edited by Ranelle Krejci
The Secrist Doll Company is once again taking the art of newborning to new heights with the introduction of their first African American newborn kit. This adorable doll kit has been newborned by artist Ms. Valencia Lacy. Through her work as a newborn/reborn artist, Lacy is reaching out to the hearts and souls of America's African American population, and all those who love the art of reborning. Traditionally the majority of newborn/reborn baby dolls are sold to adult collectors, but the majority of Valencia's babies are sold to children and teenagers. Children are pushed to grow up so fast; Valencia believes that introducing newborns/reborns to children and teenagers will allow them to enjoy their childhood a bit longer. The self esteem the children develop is remarkable as they proudly show off their babies to the many people who stop to admire them. Ms. Lacy hopes that her venture with Secrist will open up a whole new market for reborners in the African American community. Combining her artistic work with a heavy work schedule as a Worship Leader/Minister of Music, Valencia finds that her work is always rewarding. Our interview with Ms. Lacy revealed a very diverse and talented woman
Valencia brings a diverse background to her newfound talent for reborning. She has been giving of her talents as a Worship Leader/Minister of Music for the past nineteen years. Prior to going into the music ministry, she owned two hair salons. Obstacles are viewed as just minor bumps along the way. Using the gifts that God has given her, Valencia has always found her work to be rewarding. She finds rewards in everything she does.
Having loved dolls since childhood, Ms. Lacy was told by a good friend that she could buy "anything" on eBay. Her curiosity piqued, she clicked on a link entitled "Reborns" and she was "hooked." "You could have sold me for a wooden nickel," laughed Lacy. The babies were so lifelike, she found herself buying a new one every week. Needless to say, this little habit soon became very expensive, but she felt she just "had to have them!" Having been blessed to travel all over the world, collecting dolls from various countries, Valencia found these dolls to be "unlike any in the world."
As an African American, Valencia has always found it difficult to find beautiful black babies. She is motivated by that fact to create babies to love for children and adults alike. Lacy recounted the story of a father who purchased a doll for his daughter at Christmas. The father contacted Valencia saying, "You would not believe how many people stop us to look at this baby! We can't go anywhere, but most of all you would not believe the self esteem that these babies build up in children, she is so proud to stop and show off her baby. You should see her smile!' That's why her company is called Love My Baby.
When asked what being the first artist to newborn an African American baby for the Secrist Doll Company meant to her, Valencia quickly replied, "Oh my goodness!! It means the world to me. I have purchased every Secrist DVD and I feel like I know Pat and Stephanie. I am so excited; I pray that this is the start of a long relationship. I wrote to Mae that the world of newborning was a little lonely for me because until I started so many African American's had never heard of it. I had no one to talk to about it. My prayer is that together we will open up a whole new market for newborner/reborners in the African American community."
Valencia feels that this achievement will help her to connect with fellow newborn/reborn artists, both new and established, allowing them to establish a line of communication and to be a great help to each other. "I have a lot to give and a lot to learn" she stated. "I want to reach out to everyone and every race. We need to take the limits off! I make African American's, Caucasian, Hispanic, and Asian babies." We can all do this, so I hope it reaches anyone who is a little wary of venturing into the depths of newborn artistry. She feels that she has not only fulfilled a personal ambition, but has been given the opportunity allow young people to retain a bit of their childhood as the majority of her babies are purchased as gifts for young children and teenagers. Valencia found herself still playing with dolls at the age of 15 and she hopes that her babies will help her young customers to hold on to that sense of innocence.
Getting Started with African American Reborns
Ms. Lacy reminds aspiring newborners that when she started newborning, she "made many mistakes, it's not easy to get a good paint mix, but I wanted to keep trying because I absolutely love this art form!!" If you are not African American go to a hospital to study newborn African American babies. Stephanie Sullivan was correct in saying on the Genesis paint DVD that African American babies are not born with very dark pigment in their skin; we tend to develop our color as we get older and remember there are light complexions in our race. Sometimes you can do a lighter paint mix or use a coarser mohair, but not too coarse, remember you are creating a baby.
Valencia recommends developing any newborn/reborn color techniques on sample limbs which are available through Secrist Doll Company regardless of the complexion you are trying to achieve. She would like to see an expansion of the newborn/reborn market for African American dolls and manufacturers producing more African American kits/dolls. "It is so difficult to find beautiful African American babies and when I began to sell these there was a mad rush to buy them! You can't buy these babies at Toys 'r' Us and I loved dolls from being a child through to my adult years. When I wanted to buy a doll on eBay it was very hard to find a beautiful one. When I first discovered reborns I was out of control (laugh), I bought at least ten and only three were black and two Asian. Luckily I love and make dolls of all races, but of course like every little girl and adult collector I wanted a baby that looked like me."
Valencia's basic technique and tools those that are demonstrated on the Painting with Genesis Heat Set Paints training DVD. The main difference is the color mix, using the Petite Ethnic Paint Set. "My paint mixes are done a little like soul food - not a lot of measuring just love and eye measurement, therefore I encourage everyone to purchase a copy of the Secrist Genesis Paint DVD to serve as a basic guideline to creating a beautiful African American baby."
Valencia is grateful to the Secrist Company for helping her to complete this project. "I just have to say thank you again to Mae for allowing me to complete this project for Secrist. I was a very lonely reborn artist and now I feel appreciated and part of the Secrist family." Perhaps as you read this article, you will be inspired to pursue your own passion. With a little determination, a little help from friends, and your own vision, maybe yours will be the next success story.
If you are in the Atlanta, Georgia area or are an African American reborner, Valencia would love to hear from you! You can contact her via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.