|Artist: Eloise Hall|
Title: Ochre Shroud
Dimensions: 2 x 2.8m
Why did you choose to work on a coffin rather than a shroud or a shroud rather than a coffin?
Eloise chose to make a shroud so it can be used as a rug or bed cover for many years first, rather than be another possession taking up room. Then she was too overwhelmed with Covid 19 lockdown and TAFE assignments to decide how she wanted to continue, so she helped with the coffin will make a shroud in her own time and I started on these.
What materials have you used for your artwork?
We bought two long lengths of Linen/Cotton blend in rust and olive colours just before the store-closing as we left Adelaide at the start of the Covid 19 lockdown. Eloise chose the colours and helped with fabric choice. The material has a lovely flow, a fairly, tight weave, is strong, plant based and beautiful. For the handles, I doubled a strong cotton furnishing fabric I had and encased these within the shroud material. This gives four strong handles on each side, double stitched to the shroud to prevent ‘embarrassments’. The pattern we adapted has a pocket for a backing board, for this we were able to utilise a spare pine bookshelf from the shed. The second shroud, the olive coloured one, is folded, board-less until needed. We made a dummy, Bob, from overalls, boots and towels to work out sizes and as a model.
What is the story behind your artwork – what does it represent about you and your life story?
The colours we both love, red dirt and mulga. Also with a dispersed family, some fairly mobile, these easily pack away until required. They were also made big, and the backing board can be longer if required. I had intended to stitch some patterns onto the finished shroud or ties, but I like them plain.
What are 3 things you have learned from being part of the eco coffin project?
- I love the possibility of being shroud wrapped and placed into the ground in a bush setting, without varnished coffins or cement coverings.
- I also loved hearing of the increasing options to manage funerals as families.
- I would like to explore local coffin clubs in the future.
What is one thing you will do (or have done already) differently as a result from being part of the project?
We have continued discussions with family members about funeral and burial options. Several friends have expressed interest in having a shroud made for them, so that is something to look at in the future. Eloise has even more ideas for want she wants from her shroud…but not yet.
Any other thoughts or comments you would like to add?
Eloise is still considering how she would like to make a shroud that would first serve her for many years as a rug or bed cover.
It has been an amazing experience to hear from Abby and our guest speakers and to have the opportunity to ask some deep questions and get a range of interesting and sometimes unexpected answers. Seeing the variety of techniques, especially for shrouds has been great.