First Daughter of the First Daughter

“A self portrait and an embrace of self, in coming out of a difficult year.  I have suffered, but have also willingly bore witness to the suffering of others. Through therapy, I have learned the importance of being vulnerable and showing up.  There is comfort in sharing burden. I was born as the 6th generation first daughter of the first daughter; Harper, (my first daughter) will be the 7th. The more I express, the more I look within, and have found both comfort and burden within this matriarchal familial lineage. “ 


“These pieces represent burden as a theme that all people share.  It is my way of being vulnerable, acknowledging issues within myself and showing up.  Each piece in the collection is a burden - they are big, bulky, beautiful and not meant to be worn or seen all the time, you have to take care of them, wear them properly, prepare to wear them. “

This new body of work is by far Allison’s most conceptual and best work to date. Ford, a jewelry designer working in wood and metal, describes this show as a self-portrait in five pieces or elements of self, explaining that this has been her first experience creating work as a form of art therapy. She goes on to explain that each piece relates to something that has been difficult for her over the past year–from grief to aging, family changes to thinking about our place in the human family, diversity, white privilege, death and the ways we treat one another.


Allison’s show is both beautiful and thought provoking, something we all struggle to celebrate is how we are all really the same. This piece titled Anyone Everyone, the skull is a physical manifestation that represents our humanity; underneath, we all have this in common. On the flip side, Ford has been pondering diversity in many layers and has come to the conclusion that you or I could be any one of these pieces. One is not more beautiful, or better than the other - they are all different, but all the same.


In her love letter to her husband, Jon Ford, she takes a shawl pattern handed down from her great-grandmother and copies the pattern with metal hands representative of Ford’s particularly hand woven life. She ponders the foundation of this life by the placement of the stick pin, without it everything falls apart. The stick pin represents her husband as the foundation and everything being made around that foundation.


If you did not get a chance to see the show during First Friday, I highly suggest you stop by and spend some time with it. The work is on display in the City Gallery through March 29th.

Nikki Owens