Sunday, August 1, 2010

"Family Stories"-Jan Girod-Reminiscence

Family stories, listening to the elders of our families tell the tales about their ancestors, we aren't always sure if they are accurate or a "tall tale". I became the caretaker of those reminiscences and the treasures of their lives, for both my husbands and my own families several years ago.

After moving to Georgia 30 years ago I made the trek each summer to Minnesota with my two children so that they would know their great-grandparents, grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins. This was an important part of my childhood and I wanted my children to have those memories. Breakfasts with my husbands grandfather became a highlight of those trips. He was a natural born story teller, his life was full and long. His stories about his father's family were wonderful, entertaining and a bit farfetched at times, but nonetheless his family "stories".

In more recent years my daughter expressed disbielf that she would not be included in her paternal family tree as it only reflected "male" names back to 1491. I innocently began my search for those womens names, facts and stories, very slowly learning a few names. Some of her great-grandfathers stories we have been able to establish as true, we have gained additional stories from distant family members and others may only be best equated to "big fish tales", but they are still part of our family stories.

This piece was made by printing old Swiss documents and photographs onto TAP (Transfer Artist Paper) and transferring them to a batik and copper metal. I could not quickly find a map of Switzerland (sorry Heidi) so I used an old map of France, coated it with Golden Matte Medium, giving it a bit more strength. Then I dug around till I found vintage laces, tatting and watch parts as many Girod's were watchmakers.


  1. Jan...what a wonderful family heritage piece to pass on to future generations. I hope the stories are being written down or recorded...they are such a treasure to share.

  2. Jan... this is perfect! Not only the piece itself... which exudes 'history'... but all that you awere able to accomplish through it.
    Another heirloom as a result of this challenge.
    Well done!
    I also enjoyed the process you described... from a fan of TAP...

  3. Jan, I like, how you show us your 'Swiss' history and I think your and your husbands family did a great job having all these documents and stories still present and having a caretaker for them.

  4. Jan, it is a great piece. You worked so hard on it and it shows. Love those daughters and their spunk. There is a gentleness about the piece that is wonderful.

  5. I would love to get a closer look. Is it possible for you to load a larger photo so when we click on the photo so we can see more detail?