|Artist: Tracey Hall|
Type: Eco coffin
Title: Desert Life
Dimensions: 2.0 x 0.6 x 0.4 m
Why did you choose to work on a coffin rather than a shroud or a shroud rather than a coffin?
My eldest daughter had the opportunity to organise and choose many aspects of her own funeral and got to choose an attractive, unstained plain timber coffin and stain it for her use a few months later, so I don’t mind the idea of another coffin in the house. I chose to make a coffin for my dad so it could be flat-pack transported. He lives in Alice Springs and I don’t know if they yet allow coffin-less burial. My mother would like to be shrouded in one of her self-made, most-used bed quilts, if possible.
What materials have you used for your artwork?
We used a combination of house paint and pots of Liquid Tempera paints that we already had, blended as needed. They seemed to be the best combination of environmental and budget friendly paints available in the colours wanted.
What is the story behind your artwork – what does it represent about you and your life story?
I wanted to use the colours, flowers and birds of Central Australia, where we, dad and his family grew up. That red dirt gets everywhere, including into your blood. The Zebra Finches are called nyiri-nyiri (nee-nee) in Central Australia for the sound they make. Dad was a driller and loved returning to bores he had put down in the deserts and seeing them teaming with native plants, wildlife and flocks of nee-nees.
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. This coffin is a first-come-best-dressed, family coffin. Once used, I would possibly look at having another on stand-by (unless I am the ‘best-dressed’ recipient).
Any other thoughts or comments you would like to add?
I really enjoyed getting back to do some painting with this, which was good therapy during our months of Covid 19 lockdown.
Eloise has enjoyed working on this coffin with me and loved drawing and painting the finches. She is still considering how she would like to make her own 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.