|Artist: Kerry Dellar|
Type: Eco Coffin
Title: Kerry’s Coffin
Dimensions: 2020 x 440-620 x 380-290 mm
Why did you choose to work on a shroud rather than a coffin?
As a young adult my father told me to be prepared due to the traumatic experience he had when he lost his mother at a young age. He instilled in us that we need to accept that death is at the end of our life and that we have choices and can make our own preparations. He repeatedly said that we needed to take out a funeral plan and then we could afford our own coffin.
I wanted my end of life to reflect my personality and the life I have lived in a way that those closest to me would recognise and relate to without sadness.
What materials have you used for your artwork?
• Eco wooden coffin
• Photos printed to paper
• Torn employment papers
• Water based adhesive
• Clear finishing glaze
What is the story behind your artwork – what does it represent about you and your life story?
I chose paper. Paper is a medium that I have used in all areas of my life. I used paper and books to study to gain my nursing diploma and continued with education for my employment. I love quilting and making clothing using patterns, following the music and words while singing with friends, reading with children and grandchildren. I learnt ballet as a child, line dance, ballroom, rock and roll in midlife for social connect and fitness and with each learning came instruction and guidance in the form of paper. I like to remember and reflect when I walk and explore and to appreciate all that surrounds me by taking pictures, some of which I have printed as they have a special place in my heart, I printed them to paper and placed on my coffin.
What are 3 things you have learned from being part of the eco coffin project?
• The importance of choice and discussing end life wishes with family and friends
• The various cultural end of life processes
• The legalities and options such as using an end of life guide, or a cold board so that a person can remain in their home for an extended length of time for their family and friends to say goodbye.
What is one thing you will do (or have done already) differently as a result from being part of the project?
I hadn’t heard of an emotional will, and it resonated with me as an opportunity to communicate in a less “legal” way.
I’ve now discussed this with my family, and I am in the early stages of completing an emotional will, I feel it’s important for my loved ones to have this last link to me. I want to give them a warm handover rather than a cold goodbye.
Any other thoughts or comments you would like to add?
As a nurse, for the past 30 years I have been involved in the caring of the dying and been witness to the finality of death. In this time I have encountered very few people who were well informed and or prepared in any way for the finality of death.
The Eco coffin project highlighted a vast array of topics and gave me a lot of information on a subject that has previously been difficult to talk about.
The information given in various formats from brochures and handouts to guest speakers was invaluable. I appreciated being given the information by the funeral director on the subject of end of life sustainable body management, and choices offered such as using a shroud to wrap a body, as these were not subjects one normally thinks about.
The entire project has been instrumental in giving me the understanding and guidance to make informed decisions and has been an irreplaceable experience.