|Artist: Carole Schroeder|
Title: Home Amongst The Gum Trees
Dimensions: 240 x 274 cms
Why did you choose to work on a shroud rather than a coffin?
A shroud seemed more comforting to me rather than a box. Being wrapped engages a sense of being care for, in a similar way that a young baby is wrapped in ‘swaddling cloth’.
What materials have you used for your artwork?
Cotton sheets from my Swedish grandmother and mother in law, that have their initials embossed on them and handmade lace inserts. Natural dyes from nativelemon scented gum leaves and lemon scented grasses and cotton thread.
What is the story behind your artwork – what does it represent about you and your life story?
My art making symbolises my connections to trees and their depiction throughout the ions in mythology and culture and spirituality.
Trees have always held a special resonance with me whether it was climbing them, building forts amongst their branches, or being surrounded by them walking through the bush. They continue to be that part of nature that offers a place for restorative shelter and reflective practice. It seemed only natural to me that I wanted an ecofriendly source to guide my travels to the new worlds.
Throughout history the tree has been a powerful mythical symbol and has played a significant role in many sacred stories. So the tree in whatever form was in going to a part of my creative shroud, being wrapped offers felt a sense of safety, with a wise tree guardian giving strength and nourishment for journey ahead.
I am inspired by the Nordic culture and the way they buried their dead, well, their wealthy famous ones anyway. I visited the ancient burial ground at Uppsala, where the Norse gods and their symbols impressed my historical longings.
So with all that marinating in my mind, my shroud is being made out of heritage sheets from my Swedish relatives ,‘painted’ with eucalyptus leaves and infused with their lemon scent. To find my way to the other worlds I intend to paint a classic style labyrinth, a map for the soul’s pathway.
Poem by Carole
Wrapped tight in my mother’s womb,
birthed and wrapped in swaddling clothes,
sensing my new world.
Wrapped again in the warmth of cool cotton sheets,
Keeping me safe for my body’s next transition.
Gum trees will now become my lungs and
labyrinth pathways will guide
my body, descending into humus of being.
What are 3 things you have learned from being part of the eco coffin project?
- A sense of being in the moment
- Celebration of life
- Practical and helpful strategies to manage the official ways of leaving this earth
Any other thoughts or comments you would like to add?
Darkness is your candle.
Your boundaries are your quest.
You must have shadow and light source both.
Listen and lay your head under the tree of awe.
The course has offered some very practical knowledge from the basics regarding wills to death doula and what contemporary funeral directors are now offering have been particularly helpful.
Our day out at Enfield with Adelaide Cemeteries Authorities was an eye opener and all the staff there gave a honest, caring and sincere approach to their delivery and roles. I hope their eco-friendly award application has been successful.
The facilitator of the project Abby has been terrific. Her personal friendly, flexible -re Covid manner, knowledge, and compassion in this sensitive environment shone through. She is a great communicator and supported all of us through individual moments and great sadness as our group experienced the death of one of our colleagues.
Many thanks to all the sponsors listed below and I’m very grateful for your forward thinking in backing this pilot program.
- Gawler Council
- Adelaide Cemeteries Authority
- Riverdell Spiritual Centre
- Gawler Civic Centre
- Abby Buckley, Celebrant
I dedicate this humble review to
Murray- B- Good