|Artist: Jackie |
Title: Roll Up And Dye
Dimensions: 60 x 170 x 10 cm
Why did you choose to work on a shroud rather than a coffin?
When my father died in the UK I chose for him to be cremated in a cardboard coffin. It was a choice that did not entirely sit well with some but since our family business was recycling waste paper it was a decision I hope he would be happy with. Choosing to work on a shroud reminds me of the swaddling we do with our babies. I like the idea of being wrapped and buried! In life I strive to tread lightly, and also in death.
What materials have you used for your artwork?
The fabric is merino wool, dyed with leaves from eucalypt cinderea, eucalypt iron bark and casuarina (sheaok). These are the dried leaves also presented with the shroud. The body shape is made from recycled materials: A light-weight board, bubble wrap and packing tape, none of which were purchased for the piece.
What is the story behind your artwork. What does it represent about you and your life story?
Once I knew this was going to be a project, I had a picture in my mind of the fabric with the image of leaves taking me into nature. This piece is called ‘Roll up and Dye’, though I have no intention of dieing anytime soon, it refers to the process of rolling up the fabric and steaming to transfer the native pigments to the fibre. Llewena Newell was my teacher, with 30 years experience of natural fabrics and dying under her beautifully crafted hat, from her studio in the mid north she creates an eclectic range of wonderful garments. Llewena is so generous and kind. I thank her for sharing her wisdom, experience and enthusiasm with me.
What are 3 things you have learned from being part of the eco coffin project?
Some may think it is morbid to be participating in a workshop about dieing, on the contrary, facing death can bring a focus on living. This workshop also covered the many choices we do have here in Australia. Considering death and discussions with close friends and family has opened other meaningful conversations. I shall be headed to a natural burial ground, as I very much like the idea of being surrounded by other like-minded souls. Though the pages are still blank in my book of what happens ‘after life’.
What is one thing you will do (or have done already) differently as a result from being part of the project?
Having asked my father what arrangements he would like, he responded that he really didn’t care, as when he is gone, he’s gone, only that he wanted his ashes to be buried by my mother’s. Making time to have these conversations and prepare ‘the folder’ releases those grieving from many decisions, not to mention all those tricky computer passwords.
Any other thoughts or comments you would like to add?
Some deaths may be a more practical formality in our lives, and some bring such profound sadness with gargantuan waves that seemingly brewed from the very bottom of the ocean to engulf us uncontrollably, with other waves being more gentle. Like the ocean, there is no way to tame it, we can honour the memories and be kind to ourselves and others sharing this grief – we each experience grief in our own way.
Thank you Abby. You have created a workshop with your positive energy and passion like no other. Always respectful and mindful of the sensitive nature of the subject yet able to cover the ground, delivering well presented and informative sessions. We are all neither too old or too young to benefit from The Eco Coffin Project.