Harrison Center Artist: Allison Ford
Allison Ford is one of many Harrison Center for the Arts studio artists growing her practice in Indianapolis. Originally from the South Bend area, Ford attended school at Indiana University, then moved to Indianapolis after meeting her now husband.
Ford is the sixth generation of first-born women in her family. Jewelry was a big part of her life growing up and the women in her family were known to vest themselves with big hats and big jewelry. In addition to pretending and dressing up, she and her friends would go to dollar stores to buy objects to re-purpose into jewelry. At age eleven, she took her first jewelry making class.
While working at an Indianapolis party supply store, she picked up jewelry again using found objects. Soon after she returned to making jewelry, her found object pieces hit a roadblock. A particular show denied her participating because the pieces were commercially fabricated. They wanted completely original work. She turned to wood. Wood for her was something that was approachable and easily manipulable with a Dremel tool - what she had available. She began making small beads and then moved to rings. Now her work includes a variety of wood pieces, even hats.
For her, it's about the biomechanical process. "It's beautiful to me to be working with my hands," she said. She works closely manipulating the wood into, what other artists refer to her work as, sexy adornments. Watching in her studio with a magnifier, one can see her attention to detail and patience as she sculpts and stipples.
Described as clean, modern, organic, and now sexy, she incorporates a variety of motifs into the jewelry. Ford gives a nod to history and nature. She does this by adding hieroglyphics and bugs to the jewelry. And the bugs she sculpts are all Indiana-based. "I don't know why, but I'm just fascinated by bugs," she said.
Ford is expanding into new territory. Not able to find a suitable hat for last years inaugural Fashion Arts Society Hats Off Luncheon, she created her own loosely based on a tropical leaf. Her wood hat won best in show. Talking about hats in general she noted, "I wish everyone would wear a hat." She has added hat making to her list of accessory making; hoping one day that it becomes a staple of daily wear again.
Additionally, men's fashion has entered into her realm of interests. She is working alongside another Indy-creative to design a unique and classically inspired leather men's bag. It, of course, will include an element of wood. She is hoping to release the bag some time next year.
What's next for Allison Ford? As an established Indianapolis artist, she is looking to grow her business and continue to expand her practice. Come to for an IDADA First Friday and say hello to this HCA studio artist. Visit her Etsy site, also, for more jewelry and accessory listings.