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Events and Media

07

Oct

Rookwood Open Day

Invited to present a shroud workshop at the Rookwood Cemetery Open Day on 24 September, I happily agreed but then had to think about how to present a workshop about shroud making to an unknown quantity of people and what could I teach them in an hour?

The day was set up like a fair, with various stalls, musicians, attractions like horse and cart rides, vintage funeral cars, drumming groups, food stalls and face painting.  The allocated area for the workshop was an open space with a cover and the sound of a generator pumping out a lot of noise.  It was overwhelming at first but not put off as to how I would fit in with the unexpected environment I found myself to be in.

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24

Apr

Sydney Writers Festival 2015

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Look who I had the joy of meeting during her book tour of When Smoke Gets In Your Eyes!   Hosted at the Casula Powerhouse, an author talk with the amazing Caitlin Doughty, as part of the Sydney Writers’ Festival, I was thrilled to hear Caitlin interviewed at both the Casula Powerhouse and Walsh Bay venues.  Both interviews revealed much about her work and her spirited personality.   If you’ve not read her book already, I urge you to do so.  It’s an informative and entertaining read.

24

Apr

Compass program 20 March 2016

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The Executive Producer of ABC TV program, Compass, contacted me when she read about the work that I do with Shroud Memento.  That program went to air on Sunday March 20th 2016.  For copyright reasons I’m unable to post the video of the program on my site but whilst the link is still available, you can watch it by clicking on the following titled Melany’s Remedy Series 30 Episode 4.

By watching this program you will have a better insight into the work that I do with Shroud Memento.

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07

Oct

Live Well Leave Well

Thankfully, we now hear more conversations and professionals speaking about our funeral ceremonies and the problematic lack of conversation around death, such a key moment of Life as is birth.  Death and dying are often categorised as a ‘health’ issue rather than a social issue.   It is not yet deemed a normalcy to talk openly about our own impending death or explore the range of funeral ceremonies and practices.  The traditional tendency for most of people is to leave preparation and decisions up to chance, or on the shoulders of family and friends (should they be beyond decision making) to speak on their behalf often guessing what they think would be right at the time, or with an undertaker or cleric who won’t know the deceased or their history.

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24

Jul

It Could Be You!

Dying to Know Day (D2KD) is held on Friday, August 8th an event organised and hosted by The GroundSwell Project http://www.thegroundswellproject.com  It is a day of information, contemplation, celebration and action.  It is about discussions on our experience of death and what we know, or don’t. It is about the choices we make in preparation for our end of life, or don’t, and it’s about finding out the types of things we can do but are seldom told by those in the funeral industry, or feeling comfortable in our communities to ask the questions we wish to ask or to speak the stories about the death of our people without deemed to be morbid or inappropriate.

My role in D2KD is to host a free workshop for someone who would like to start a shroud for their own end of life preparation, or to make a shroud for someone as a gift.  It could be a shroud for someone in memoriam or for a family pet.

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06

Oct

Funeral Celebrants Association event

 Image of myself in the (background) and a funeral celebrant (foreground) modelling a shroud she fancied.
Held on Sunday 25 August 2013, funeral celebrants from around New South Wales attended this annual all day event to hear a range of speakers provide them with information about their vocation, innovations within the funeral industry, topics of a sensitive nature and a sharing of how varied and talented celebrants are.  There were some excellent discussions and some hard questions asked.
Attendees of the day, familiar to me, were Kerrie Noonan, founder of  The GroundSwell Project and Victoria Spence founder of Life Rites.    I was invited as a guest speaker to talk about Shroud Memento and providing me with my first opportunity to shape into words an inaugural speech on what my business is and how it came about.
The very emotion and beliefs that drive me to develop Shroud Memento, were present in the people in that room who understood exactly what I was talking about due to the very work that they do.  As a sole operator, it made me feel part of a much larger family and increased the context of where my business sits, the conversations to be had and the information to be shared.
Should you have any questions or queries about the Funeral Celebrants Association click on the link below.

18

Jul

Dying to Know Day

On August 8th a series of pop-up events will occur as part of the Dying to Know day to inform us on issues of death, dying and good preparation for the end of life.

There is so much we don’t know and so much we can do if only we knew.  Organised by The GroundSwell Project, the Dying to Know Event launch will be held this Monday 22 July at the Kings Cross Hotel.

What sorts of things would you like to know about death and dying and have you ever wondered what sort of plans you would like for your funeral or the environment in which you die?

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11

Jun

Marrickville Council Art Post

MARRICVILLE COUNCIL ART POST

Art Post : What’s On

shroud memento

 

Helen is the woman behind Shroud Memento – she runs workshops and coordinates the making of a shroud, a bespoke cloth used to wrap loved ones in. She seeks connection to the best of human experience via creativity, pragmatism and meaningfulness.

Shrouds can be used as a covering for the deceased instead of clothes used when they were alive, a memento or keepsake for the bereaved, as a funeral pall to drape over the coffin for service or  it can be made retrospectively in honour of a loved one with the benefits of unifying relatives and friends, or perhaps for an anniversary. There are some spectacular samples of her work available on the website – they are simply breathtaking!

More about Shroud Memento and Helen…

My current creative project is… Coordinating a workshop of a small group of people to be filmed by ABC TV program Compass.

My next creative project is… To organise an exhibition of shrouds I have started designing to address the denial and fear of death in western culture and the lack of ceremony that results in exclusion of the bereaved.  I also wish to address other issues around death such as organ donation and the emotions of the bereaved.

What’s flavouring my art right now… I have always loved textiles, flowers and any organic matter that has good form, colour and texture, such as bones and rocks.  Constantly inspired by contemporary artists who uniquely express their ideas, I have forever loved the work of Antoni Gaudi, Frida Kahlo and Marc Chagall, amongst others.

What I like right now… I like the freedom I have given myself to allow the creative and meaningful that was lacking in other work environments.

Favourite website… A wonderful poet, storyteller, musician, singer/songwriter and Canadian, Tanya Davis.  http://www.tanyadavis.ca

Tanya has an original and poignant observation and expression of the human condition and makes words flow whilst delivering inspiring intelligent thought.  People may have seen on social media a video by Tanya and co-creator, Andrea Dorfman, called How To Be Alone.

An Australian website belonging to Blue Mountains based artist, James Blackwell, for his sublime work and the clarity and sereneness of his website. http://james-blackwell.com/about/

Favourite watering hole… I tend to gravitate toward Citrus on King Street when craving a chai latte or green tea because of its location and constantly friendly staff.  Overall, my own kitchen provides the best food and drink with special purchases from the Everleigh Markets on Saturdays.

Favourite Marrickville secret… Whilst no secret, I like Reverse Garbage and Addison Road Community Centre, and when they have their second sales, MUD ceramics have very affordable seconds sold at their factory based in Chapel Street, Marrickville.