Aotearoa born Fran Allison graduated from the Royal College of Art, London. As a designer and jeweler, she practiced and lectured in London and Melbourne for a number of years before returning to Aotearoa, New Zealand, in 1994. She spent several decades as a senior lecturer in jewellery at the School of Creative Arts, Manukau Institute of Technology, and at Hungry Creek Art and Craft School in Tāmaki Makaurau.
The inspiration for her work comes from many areas, including a fascination with the connotations associated with found and/or discarded domestic objects. She cites Julian Schnabel: 'I work with things left over from other things' as a source for this exploration:‘ I like to use pre-existing objects in my work that come with an already established history and reading. Then I like to mess with that reading in some way. The objects start off as decorative in one sense or in one environment and end up on the body as decorative jewellery pieces. A challenge for me is to reconfigure these 'found' fragments so that they still possess an essence of their original attractiveness.'