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Silk and Wool

Last Sunday, I attended the annual Funeral Celebrants Association of Australia event, as a guest speaker, to talk about Shroud Memento and the shrouds I make.  Firstly, I didn’t connect that funeral celebrants exist as do wedding celebrants.  I presumed that funeral services were conducted by priests or by a director at a funeral home; I live and learn.

Without any preconceived ideas, I went out to Macquarie Park Crematorium and Cemetery at North Ryde where the event was held.  I told myself that once my presentation was done (before morning tea) I could leave if I wanted to do so, however the range of speakers, as well as friendly and interesting attendees, were so interesting and informative that I was riveted and stayed until the end of the day.

One piece of information that was specifically beneficial to me was the type of cloth to use for a shroud if one chose Aquamation over burial or cremation.  And if, like me, you had not heard of Aquamation before, I can tell you that it is a relatively new method promoted as part of the green funeral philosophy.

The procedure is to place the individual body into a bath-like container using a gentle flow of water, at the right temperature and alkalinity to accelerating the natural course of decomposition.  The liquid waste is sterile and can be safely distributed into the earth or ocean.  The bones of the body remain insitu, so soft they can be crumbled by hand.  This is all that is left with cremation.  Whilst we refer to the bones as ashes, they aren’t, and it is the crushing of the bones that is returned to the family as ‘ashes’.

Unlike cremation, no items need to be removed from the body, such as implants, jewellery or fillings, (they can be taken out at the end of the process fully intact), yet the clothing or cloth used to cover the body is important.  When using Aquamation, only animal-made products such as wool, silk or leather will fully disintegrate.  Organic plant fibres, such as linen and cotton will end up in a sludge amongst the liquid waste.  This is the not a big problem but good to be aware.

If you’re interested knowing more about Aquamation click on the first site and the web address for the speaker at the FCAA event who operates from Moree in New South Wales:

I’m interested to know if Aquamation is something you would consider?


 2 Responses 

  1. James Blackwell

    Hi Helen… Very interesting post! I do have a question about the aquamation process, how long does it take ? I had never heard of this before !

    • helen

      Hi James
      I’d not heard of it either, until the FCAA event. It’s appealing because it’s gentle, clean, and uses an element I love, water! I had a look at the brochure I picked up and couldn’t see a time frame, however, I thought I recalled the speaker saying 7 hours. Could be way off here, but you could always contact them directly. They also do animals. The number is 0438 318 802. They are based in Moree NSW and his name is John Humphries who, according to his brochure, developed the technology.

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