The Spirit Seam is a short animated film about a little girl, Pollywog, and her Pap-Paw. Located in an Appalachain coal-mining town in the 1950s, the film takes the audience through the daily life of both characters. At the start of the film, the characters eat breakfast together and then travel to their respective locations- Pollywog is dropped off at school, and Pap-Paw clocks into work at the Hiraethsburg coal mine. Throughout the film they experience the simple pleasures of rural Appalachian life: catching fireflies, fishing, catching frogs, and birthdays.
Pap-Paw and Pollywog’s bond is incredibly strong. In fact, they are inseparable until illness threatens to fracture their small family.
This film is an homage to Gerst’s maternal side and their origins working in Southwestern Pennsylvania. It is a piece rooted not only in family roots and origin, but in grief over the loss of family members as well.
The Spirit Seam combines a mixture of animation mediums. The characters have been 3D modeled and animated in Audodesk Maya while the elemental effects are created in the 2D Animation software Toonboom Harmony. The sets are created physically, and are created in a variety of ways: 3D printing, embroidery, felted yarn, and sculptural techniques.