Eco / green funerals and willow wicker coffins and caskets are not a new idea as many believe. A surgeon named Sir Frances Haden developed some of the earliest handwoven willow caskets in the late 19th century in England. In fact wicker baskets were around long before that – they were popular in Roman times and in many places around the World. Sir Francis Haden’s wicker coffin was designed with no lid – he envisioned the coffins being filled with flowers or earth for a more “natural” burial. Haden also tried to convince people of the idea of shallow burials. His thinking behind it was not quite the same as our contemporary ideas, but it does show that he was a forward thinker. Sir Sir George Granville William Sutherland – a Duke in England during Sir Haden’s time – shared a fascination with handwoven willow caskets. In fact, these two men popularised natural, or “green” funerals for a a short period in the late 19th century. The fact that this Earth sensitive concept has reemerged would probably delight them both.
Hand made willow wicker coffins are a beautiful alternative to the more “standard” coffin design. Our quality wicker coffins are handmade, and provided to us by the Handwoven Casket Company in New South Wales. The wicker / willow coffins available in Australia are unfortunately not Australian made like our main casket and coffin range. However, we provide them here due to the fact that they are certainly made from a sustainably raised, renewable resource, and handwoven without the use of any glues or metals at all. Combining this with the fact that we often have requests regarding the handwoven caskets, we provide the following range for those who prefer this style.
Willow is a carbon neutral material. From all accounts, when burnt in a cremation, the wicker material only gives off the same amount of carbon that it consumes within it’s lifetime. This is a welcome aspect of the natural makeup of wicker coffins. We aim to help you with whatever style of Service, and casket or coffin you choose. We do however like to present both sides of the story in lieu of only sentimental “green” ideas. As such, please keep in mind that as these coffins are imported, there is of course the factor of fossil fuel use in shipping them to Australia.
We are committed to caring for you in any way we can, and also for the environment as much as we are able. As such we present this range of wicker / willow handwoven caskets as an option for the unique funeral service that you might have in mind. Each of our willow / wicker coffins is painstakingly handwoven by skilled basket makers. Each one makes a special and unique tribute to a loved one. Due to their woven design, it’s easy to attach flowers to woven willow wicker coffins. As well as the floral arrangement on top of the casket, the addition of a flower garland around the sides – or even individual posies into the woven design – can look lovely.
The beautiful colours you see in these willow wicker coffins are the natural plant dyes in the material. As such, colour tones can vary a little from one coffin to the next, but all are a handwoven, natural work of art.