At first Amber Groome was not sure that she could bring herself to show her dolls in a gallery, and then she had to deal with whether she wanted to part with them or not. Then there were several periods when we could not reach her for many months at a time… as she struggled with her bipolar disorder. Amber eventually decided that she was ready, and that letting the dolls go would be a good thing for her. Each is meticulously crafted from polymer clay, then dressed and given attributes that tell the stories of her life.
Groome explains, “Each doll that I make is one of a kind as well as handcrafted. They are symbolic in their afflictions. For me, my dolls are a testimony to the trauma and sorrow of being female and living with mental illness. When I create the dolls, I become absorbed and preoccupied with internal conflict as well the private depths of my childhood and psyche. The dolls are adored and loathed by me at the same time. I prefer to have them viewed in large quantities so they appear to be even more obsessive and detailed in nature.”
Amber has given us this key to explain the symbols used in her doll boxes:
Hearts with glass shards-religious, devotion
Pins and Needles-affliction, self mutilation
Safety Pins-opposite of safety, inflicts pain
Doilies and Lace-femininity
Pills-being dependent on medication