What Matters to Gai Gherardi

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Debbie Millman has an ongoing project at PRINT titled “What Matters.” This is an effort to understand the interior life of artists, designers, and creative thinkers. This facet of the project is a request of each invited respondent to answer ten identical questions and submit a nonprofessional photograph.

Gai Gherardi is co-founder/designer of l.a.Eyeworks with Barbara McReynolds. She is passionate about accordion music, people’s names, and protecting the California desert tortoise.

What is the thing you like doing most in the world?

Traveling. Observing how people walk in their shoes. Being in and around water.

What is the first memory you have of being creative?

Asking my pet duck Matilda if she would wear a necklace I made for her out of twigs, mud balls, and grass.

What is your biggest regret?

That my brother died of a drug overdose before I knew how to help him, and not knowing we had a sister who was relinquished for adoption until I was 71 years old (we’re good friends now).

How have you gotten over heartbreak?

By making things and by being of service to others.

What makes you cry?

Watching families and couples saying hello and goodbye at airports.
All talk of profound love.
Certain harmonies in music.
Sadness in others.
Happiness of others.
The majesty of nature.

How long does the pride and joy of accomplishing something last for you?

Knowing that people are living their lives wearing something that I made— that joy comes often, in flashes, and is sustaining.

Do you believe in an afterlife, and if so, what does that look like to you?

For me, it’s an evolution, and I will return many times until I unwind all the way back to become fully nothing.

What do you hate most about yourself?

I’m never really a hater of myself, but I’m impatient when passive aggressive behavior surfaces, and I am not spontaneously loving.

What do you love most about yourself?

I’m a good friend, and I have been gifted with optimism and happy feet.

What is your absolute favorite meal?

It starts with a sweet vermouth. Then spaghetti family-style with friends, specifically all’astice, briny with sea water, light tomato sauce, eaten anywhere by the sea.