My grandmother Elizabeth (or Gan-Gan as I called her) was a force of nature; she was wonderful. As a child she seemed to me like a visitor from another time or place. Her tiny terraced house in Bideford was full of treasures; hundreds of books, a medusa's head, Peter the Great's ivory letter opener, the caul of her mother tied up in blue ribbon, a tile stolen from the Alhambra, a silk blouse embroidered by nuns, deadly poison, beautiful Pre-Raphaelite artworks, a knife carved from the wood of HMS Victory, Granny Green's pince-nez, and diaries full of stories from a hard life well-lived.
After her death in 2010, I helped my father and uncle sort through some of her possessions. I inherited some of her clothes to wear, books to read, a bicycle to ride. But how do you make sense of all the other things that someone leaves behind, the things nobody sees, boxes full of photographs, and bits of string?
I used these objects alongside images and memories of my own to make this short animation, which I dedicate to her memory.
Music by George Manson – georgemanson.com
Elizabeth Boat made by Rachel Sumner – rachelsumner.org
Excerpts taken from ‘The Fairies’ by William Allingham and ‘Eternal Father, Strong to Save’ (The Naval Hymn) by William Whiting.
With many thanks to the Carningli Centre in Newport Pembrokeshire.
Screened at Onedotzero Adventures in Motion Festival 2010.
A film by Tilman Singer.
Photography found in Monster Skateboard Magazine: Fabian Lang by Eric Mirbach, Jake Johnson by Jon Mehring, Jan Hofer by Mikendo, Lance Mountain by Ray Zimmermann, Stephan Guenther by Eric Mirbach, Jean Feil. Photography found in Place Magazine: Lem Villemin by Flo Renner, Manny Santiago by Joe Krolick, Niklas Speer by Adam Sello, Thomas Weber by Daniel Wagner, Enrique Lorenzo by Roger Ferrero, Sven Kilchenmann by Lukas Mäder, Valerie Rosomako by Henrik Biemer. Some sources unknown.