|Artist: Carol Muzyk|
Type: Pet Shroud
Title: Messages to Heaven
Why did you choose to work on a shroud rather than a coffin?
I chose to make a shroud for pets because I feel a shroud would be less daunting for children who may be attending a funeral for the first time. It can be very traumatizing and I feel the shroud decorated by a grieving child can create an opportunity to express their grief.
What materials have you used for your artwork?
The shroud is made from unbleached calico and cotton thread. The tags are recycled cardboard. The twine is a natural fibre, The Rosemary is added as it is the recognized as the ‘herb of remembrance”. The ancient Romans used the herb to enhance memory. In Australia we use it on ANZAC Day to remember the fallen.
What is the story behind your artwork – what does it represent about you and your life story?
I am a Civil Celebrant who also conducts pet funerals. I am also an environmental scientist. The pet shroud is an avenue for people to bury their pets in a natural and personalized way. The cardboard tags are a means for children to send “Messages to Heaven”. Anyone who has experienced pet loss knows that the bond between humans and animals can be extremely strong. As a result the grief you may experience with the loss of a pet can be just as intense as what you feel when you lose a human you are close to. Holding a pet funeral may not be for everyone, however a ceremony ritual can help both children and adults to cope with the loss of a treasured animal friend. While many people think of the pet funeral as a modern custom, people have memorialized their pets since ancient times. In many instances the loss of a pet is a child’s first experience of death.
What are 3 things you have learned from being part of the eco coffin project?
The eco coffin project enabled me to gain greater understanding about natural burials. It has also sparked my interest in educating others about the environmental benefits of a natural burial.
What is one thing you will do (or have done already) differently as a result from being part of the project?
It is my intention to further build this into my services as a Funeral Celebrant.
The eco coffin project was beautifully delivered. It was a well organized and structured course that provided many opportunities to learn about natural burials. It also provided an opportunity to hear other participants views and experiences on death and the natural burial options. Abby guided the participants through a journey of discovery, which at times was a little daunting. Her caring approach enabled the group to have open discussions about death and dying in a comfortable environment. I recommend the course to everyone and would like to see it scheduled many more times.