Eco Coffin Project Artist: Scarlet Secomb (2023)

Scarlet Secomb

Shroud. Artist: Scarlet Secomb. Title: Idiosyncratic. Dimensions: 2500 x 2050 mm

Artist: Scarlet Secomb

Type: Shroud

Title: Idiosyncratic

Dimensions: 2500 x 2050 mm

Materials: Australian-black-bean-dyed seeded calico, turmeric-dyed recycled rope

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

I have chosen to make a shroud for my art piece as I love to work with tactile materials, and I thought a shroud would be more versatile, I really wanted to be able to use my shroud in my everyday life so it wouldn’t just sit in a cupboard until it was needed.

What materials have you used for your artwork?

The bulk of my shroud is seeded calico, which I dyed using Australian dried black beans. The rope I have used is made from recycled thread and I have dyed it with turmeric.

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

My shroud is based-off an art piece I did five years ago; I wrote about myself in the shape of my fingerprint, to represent my physical self and what makes me uniquely me. To get this image across to my shroud I mimicked the outline, then hand stitched the rope over the top. I hope to add writing to my shroud so that it becomes a reflection of my life.

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

During The Eco Coffin Project we discussed different laws throughout Australia and compared what people do overseas compared to what we do here in Australia. As an example, I was surprised to learn that water cremation or Aquamation is possible in Australia in NSW but not yet legal in all states. Being buried at sea is another process that is legal under very specific circumstances, and is not easy to get permission to do in Australia. Something else I found interesting was the process of donating your body to Science through the University of Adelaide. I learnt that they hold an event every year to commemorate those who have decided to gift their bodies to science.

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

Since being a part of this project I have had several conversations with different people from my community. I have appreciated others’ opinions, and learning about their experiences after the death of a loved one.

Any other thoughts or comments you would like to add?

I hope to be able to carry this knowledge through the rest of my life, and to build on it. I intend to build myself a coffin in the next couple of years that will hopefully double as a bookshelf until it is needed.


The Eco Coffin Project was a great opportunity to explore the topic of death in a safe environment with like minded people. I believe that through learning about death we are then able to reflect on life, and make sure we have the least amount of impact on our environment. We are then able to have the important conversations with our loved ones so we know exactly what they want.

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