Eco Coffin Project Artist: Adelaide Secomb (2023)

Adelaide Secomb

Shroud. Artist: Adelaide Secomb. Title: Returning To The Nest. Dimensions: 2500 x 1500 mm

Artist: Adelaide Secomb

Type: Shroud

Title: Returning To The Nest

Dimensions: 2500 x 1500 mm

Materials: Red-wine-dyed seeded calico, eco-paint, appliqued recycled raffia, twine, feathers and sticks

Why did you choose to work on a shroud rather than a coffin?

I have chosen to work on a shroud as I thought it would be more biodegradable.

What materials have you used for your artwork?

I made my shroud out of seeded calico, and dyed it with the use of wine from my parents wedding which was 20 years earlier. The paint I have used to decorate my shroud was non toxic acrylic. The nest I made with the use of raffia, twine, feathers and sticks that I collected whilst walking in our local area.

What is the story behind your artwork. What does it represent about you and your life story?

When I was a child my Grandparents would put baby birds on my lap, I would watch as they fed and nursed the young. My love for birds has grown exponentially over the years; I feel a sense of peace when spending time with my birds. Like me they are playful and adventurous. I have alway had birds in my life; my first pet bird was a white dove gifted to me by my Grandfather at the age of four. My next bird was a white fantail, who visited our home everyday to spend time with my dove. Since the age of eight I have rescued injured birds such as owls, tawny frogmouths, magpies, and musk lorikeets; the most difficult being three baby Zebra Finches that I fed every two hours for several weeks. I have since done an animal rescue course, and I already know I will be surrounded by birds for the rest of my life; I hope to focus on native flora and fauna revegetation, and have a positive impact on our avian friends.

What are some things you have learned from being part of the eco coffin project?

Though doing the Eco Coffin Project we were able to discuss many different traditions that surround death, three of things that resonated with me were; learning about the tight restrictions on sea burials in Australia, learning that some families will get the ashes of their loved one turned into jewelry so as to be able to keep them with them at all times, and the Coffin Club, original started in New Zealand. Due to finding out about the Coffin Club I hope to build and decorate my own Coffin in 2024.

What is one thing you will do (or have done already) differently as a result from being part of the project?

Something I will try and remember to do is to use the correct terms such as ‘death’ or ‘dying’ instead of euphemisms. After doing the project I think I have become more comfortable giving others the space to talk about their loved ones who have died , instead of shying away from those conversations.

Any other thoughts or comments you would like to add?

Before starting the project I had a fixed mindset surrounding death, but now I see it as an evolution of life.


The real gift for me was in the conversations I have had with people both in the workshops and with our wider community.

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