Our beloved GG passed away peacefully at 93 years old this month.
My Grandma Gilda had a massive influence on my design career and those who are regular followers of this blog will know how much I enjoyed sharing her work and talking about her professional life as a Ticket Writer for several Australian fashion brands.
My Mum wrote her eulogy and my brother and I shared our memories of GG at her funeral this week…
My Grandma gave me a gift. She taught me about what living a creative life meant. She taught me about the light in the trees and how it changed the shades of green in front of us. She taught me about autumnal beauty, the colour of flowers, how to draw, how to brush letter and how to get things just… perfect.
And she knew how to truly achieve perfection in baked goods. My brother Nick and I raided her post CWA afternoon teas when we got home from school and the crescent shape of her delicious, melt in your mouth Yo Yo’s and gorgeously light Sponge Puffs were not wasted on our eager lips! We were however never encouraged to be greedy. Or as Grandma put it… grrreeedy (note the rolled ‘R’).
Grandma was always making, stewing, potting, planting, painting, drawing or sewing something. Finding ways to be creative and express herself really only stopped in the last 5 -10 years of her life… and I see now that it really was something inherently part of her. Something she needed to do and something she encouraged in me.
Grandma worked as a Ticket Writer in the fashion industry during 50’s and 60’s Melbourne. Her stunning hand lettering was used across many well known Australian brands such as Sportsgirl and I spent lots of afternoons watching her work as a small child, the smell of turps in the air, half drunken cups of coffee and the odd Sherry littering her paint stained work table.
As I got older and became interested in working in the design industry myself I realised how cool Grandma had actually been in her day. Working full-time in what was very much a male dominated creative industry I believe was a rarity for her time and I am so proud that I had a Grandma who helped me believe that I could do something similar with my life. The art of hand lettered Ticket Writing is a coveted practice in the design world today but I am yet to see anyone’s work measure up to what Grandma created. Not even close. The Gilda of that era was stylish and very much her own person. As she got older this was something I would have to remind her of but it was often met with ‘Did I?’ or ‘Really Breebles!’ and she would laugh. I would always respond with yes Grandma, that was you.
Grandma’s work has inspired a lot of the material I talk about in my own professional life and I thank her for that. She will live on and her legacy sits very firmly in these fingertips.
Thank you GG. I love you xxx
RIP Gilda May Norris. 8 May 1922 – 27 May 2015