An Animator Remembers Her Grandmother In This Beautifully Touching Video

After the death of her grandmother in 2010, animator and illustrator Gemma Green-Hope pitched in to help sort through her possessions. Needless to say, this was a task fraught with emotion, as each item brought back memories of her grandmother, Elizabeth, or, as Green-Hope called her, Gan-Gan. She inherited a few things, as family members typically do. “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?” she wondered.

At the same time, though, the items in her grandmother’s house also helped Green-Hope understand Elizabeth in a new way. Suddenly, by cataloging her belongings, Green-Hope was given a new insight into the woman her grandmother had been. She collected items from her grandmother’s house–not just the ones you’d expect like photos and heirlooms, but also letters, labels and small personal effects. Using these, Green-Hope created a stop-motion video, a two-and-a-half minute portrait.

The touching project lets us see Elizabeth as Green-Hope did, as a woman full of memories and stories. It’s a celebration of her life, but also a bittersweet one, as it of course reminds us all of the passage of time and the ways we remember our loved ones. Green-Hope describes her Gan-Gan pretty well:

“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.”

You can see more of Green-Hope’s animations and illustrations on her website

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