Out of the Coffin - Art Workshop

Are you a bit like me? You don't really think about death, dying and what happens to your earth body afterwards?

I often have slight panics about the dying thing but mainly because I would hate to have my life taken away from me before I had fulfilled my full potential. Now I have children I worry more about their life than my own. I realise these are things that are mostly out of my control and I do not let my mind wander there.

Even though I was bought up in a christian family I do not have the certainty in an afterlife or even reincarnation. I am the kind of person that can't blindly believe in such things without fact. Living life as well intentioned as possible is my only goal. To help people and to grow myself.

When I booked in this workshop at ArtsCape I was unsure if I would have any connection to the subject. I would have rather not let my mind wander into those places anyway.

I attended the workshop hesitantly. I was happy to be spending the time with some lovely local artists whose work I admire, so I went.

I was surprised with the workshop conversations. They were not dark or fear inspiring, they felt open and down to earth. The conversations centered around the possibilities of natural burial and natural burial grounds.

We were shown skills on how to make string, a simple thing you must think. The string is something to do while the thinking happens. It is a beautiful and natural way to create something so organic and original yet so thought inspiring.

It is a way to weave your thoughts into an object. The string can be made from any materials and I find it so beautiful and earthy. I will be borrowing the technique to use in my own art and to share with others.

I made my string from sewing pattern paper, wool, twine, feathers, other paper and hand written notes.

The artists at the workshop were making their own shrouds and woven bags to be buried in when they pass. What a beautiful idea - to be buried in your art and something so personal. Their recent exhibition Paper Garments for the Grave had similar themes and if you get the chance of it coming close to you then please go and see it. You may also go to one of their up coming string making workshops (events here).

Even if you don't like to think about these things (like me) I am certain you wont feel intimated by the topic after spending time with these lovely ladies. Do yourself a favor and be open to the thoughts of your own passing.

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Michelle Walker is a Tasmanian born creative. An Artist for life, Visual Arts Teacher, Graphic Designer, Photographer, Hairdresser by trade and mother to two beautiful children.