In 2011, artist Ashley Gilreath created “I Am Who They Were,” a cast silver and bronze necklace consisting of dollhouse picture frames filled with images of her ancestors. She made it to represent the memory of her “grandparent’s long staircase” at their house.
…I want the viewer to see my history as the necklace wraps around, and to feel the sensation of climbing up and down the stairs as the images of my family line the walls. More importantly, I wanted my skin to show through as my family’s skin, so that my stories, my life and who I am as an individual is shown as the sum of all of the people who came before me.
I casted dollhouse frames from sterling silver and bronze, and printed my family directly onto the glass. I created a box clasp mechanism to support the weight of my loved ones.
photos via Ashley Gilreath