Plain Pine Casket
This pine casket was made by a carpenter from Billerica who put a great deal of thought into the details. For example, the floor is raised to allow better carrying along the long edges, while still having lengthwise runners allowing it to be used for cremation as well as burial. There is no metal in this casket (you will notice dark wooden nails displayed sticking out of the top, eventually to be used to secure the top). It is solid enough to be used in advance as a storage chest or even a coffee table, as well as being ready for immediate use. Beeswax or another finish could be applied. The interior is unlined, though other options are available.
Cardboard Caskets and Coffins
We have 4 different types of cardboard caskets and coffins available. They can be used as is, or painted and decorated. They can all be carried.
We have one that has already been painted by an artist, which clearly shows how honoring someone like this can be beautiful as well as environmentally-friendly. (I hope to have pictures of all of these caskets/coffins posted soon!)
One mother told me how meaningful it was for her children to be able to express their love by writing on their grandfather's cardboard casket. That was in England, where this has been a valued practice for about 20 years now. A commercially available Bates casket here in the U.S. also encourages this. My brother attended a funeral of a piano teacher where her many students used the Bates markers to cover the casket, crying and laughing while sharing their remembrances. Why not do this on a cardboard casket? It's about the love and personal expression, and leaving a light environmental footprint while shining a light on the person's life.
Painted Pine Casket
A retired firefighter made this casket in Norwood, MA. It was painted by an artist at her home, approximately 3 blocks from our studio.
Woven Fiber Caskets
The studio currently has a two-toned wicker coffin (coffins are the historically traditional shape, tapered at head and feet), two types of coffins woven from bamboo, and an elegant banana leaf casket. Three different sized child caskets are available.
A red Ecopod was pictured in the July, 2008 issue of National Geographic.
Ecopods were invented by a midwife in England and have been used there for 10 years.
They are hand-made out of recycled paper and covered with paper made out of silk and mulberry.
We currently have three Ecopods. The red Ecopod has an Aztec sun design, as shown above. Our green Ecopod, which has a Celtic cross on it, was featured on The Today Show (see details in our News and Events section). Also available is a white Ecopod, elegantly simple without design, or possible to customize.
Artistic, Personally Meaningful Caskets, Coffins, Urns and Shrouds
Mourning Dove Studio offers a range of caskets, coffins, urns and shrouds that are beautiful and eco-friendly. Any of them can be used just as you find them here, and some of them can be further personalized to honor the unique life of you or your loved one. The designs can be added by artists that we work with, by an artist you know, or by family and friends. You are welcome to gather in our studio for this and draw from inspiration here. We can provide assistance with books, resources or an artist or art therapist who can help guide the process. If you prefer, we can provide similar resources in a home setting.
Mourning Dove Studio is connected with a number of artists who will do custom work. For example, the graphic design studio at Artists for Humanity (an art studio that works with inner-city Boston teens), will design and print unique artwork sized to fit our cardboard or pine caskets. We can decoupage that here, or you can do this yourself.
The PBS documentary, A Family Undertaking, shows a midwestern ranching family creating and personalizing a casket using their cattle branding irons, for example. In this film you can also see a number of cardboard caskets that have been lovingly decorated. (You can watch this documentary at the studio or it can be rented through Netflix.)
The pine casket shown here was painted with a historic design from the Ethnography Museum in Budapest, by Sue Cross, to honor her Hungarian ancestry. This specific casket is not for sale. It is displayed here demonstrating the option of using a casket in advance of need, for example as a chest for linens, with a seat cushion on top. It is currently in use as a bench in Sue's living room.
Esmerelda Kent is a former costume designer for film who became interested in the ceremonial and practical benefits of shrouds. Her KINKARACO shrouds debuted on "Six Feet Under" in 2005 and have been widely used for all types of services. All of her shrouds are made in the US.
At Mourning Dove Studio we have the VARANASI silk shroud pictured here (it can also be used inside a casket) as well as the PURELIGHT linen shroud. The linen shroud has lowering straps as an integral part of the design for direct ground burial without vault or casket. Burial using a shroud in this way is commonly done in the officially "green" cemeteries - our closest ones are in New York state (1 cemetery) and Maine (2 cemeteries). Natural burial advocates are working to make this option more widely available here in Massachusetts, and you can certainly ask any cemetery for options like these. (Cemeteries have the right to set their own regulations for vaults; it is not a state or federal regulation). Mount Auburn Cemetery, in Cambridge, MA, currently has some vaultless plots available.