|Artist: Meredith Parker|
Title: The Process
Dimensions: 1600mm by 600mm
Why did you choose to work on a shroud rather than a coffin?
The coverlet for my burial shroud is a work in progress. The process will continue for months or even years. I am choosing a natural burial, because as a gardener and someone trying to maintain a sustainable life style, it is important for me that after I die my body will compost and nourish the earth. I prefer to be buried in a shroud so that I would be closer to the earth than I would be in a coffin.
I am a keen sewer, having made many of my own and children’s clothes, so it just seemed normal that I would make my own burial shroud.
What materials have you used for your artwork?
Materials used are cotton fabric and threads, natural dyes. I began the shroud with a pure linen table cloth purchased from Recreate. The table cloth had some synthetic embroidery in the corners which I needed to unpick. In line with regulations the shroud is made entirely from pure linen and cotton. I used the good parts of a worn cotton sheet for the base and a pocket for the burial board. The shroud has six very strong carry handles. For the exhibition I am making a coverlet which can go over the shroud for burial. I am using natural fibres and natural dyes.
What is the story behind your artwork – what does it represent about you and your life story?
As a child I loved to make things from doll’s clothes to doll’s houses. As an adult I have continued to make things, from pure wool pilchers for my own babies, cotton muslin baby wraps for my grandchildren to the mud brick house my husband and I live in and our daughters grew up. I love to garden, growing plants and living in nature is important to me. I am making the coverlet from all natural fibres, sourced from Op shops or my own cupboards. A series of patches using natural dyes, hand and free form maching embroidery, attached to a lovely piece of used damask.
What are 3 things you have learned from being part of the eco coffin project?
Three things I learned from the eco-coffin project:
- That it is legal to be buried on private land with restrictions.
- I learnt what I wanted to know about natural burial and how to make my own shroud
- That it is possible to make choices about the end of life
What is one thing you will do (or have done already) differently as a result from being part of the project?
I have been in touch with my local council and asked them to consider establishing a natural burial ground in their locality. They have responded positively and have commenced the process by looking at possible sites.
The project answered all my questions or gave me the resources to further investigate. The speakers were very knowledgeable and generous with their time. I wish Abby all the best for running future courses.