In the UK It’s All About Funky Shaped Caskets

August 16, 2015
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Article originally appeared on Birmingham Mail

It’s the perfect final resting place for a loved one who went downhill rapidly – a SLEDGE-shaped coffin.

Or how about ensuring a family member rests in piste in a ski-shaped casket?

And anyone buried in a Viking boat coffin is guaranteed one Valhalla of a send-off. The designs are among a wacky range produced by a Midlands company undertaking to put the fun into funerals.

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They won’t be to everyone’s taste, and many will find the custom-built ballet shoe tutu much.

But even the more conservative will appreciate the irony of a sports bag-shaped casket for fitness fanatics, along with a football boot coffin.

Crazy Coffins. Football boot.

Some of the designs by Crazy Coffins will take pride of place at possibly the most bizarre art exhibition staged in Birmingham.

The Nottingham-based business’ designs will be on show at the Jewellery Quarter’s newest tourist attraction, Newman Brothers Coffin Works, which runs until October 27.

And, yes, they’re the kind of fashion items you WOULD be seen dead in.

The exhibition has been inspired by the Ghanaian tradition of being buried in colourful, bespoke coffins.

Birmingham’s former world-renowned coffin fittings factory, now an award-winning museum, has worked with women from the Ladywood Project community group and artist Sarah Millin to create some truly eye-catching exhibits.

Crazy Coffins. Narrowboat.

Lorraine Kenny from Birmingham Conservation Trust, the charity behind the factory restoration, said: “It might come as a surprise when you consider the subject matter, but the whole project has been so much fun!

“It has been great working with Sarah over six weeks and seeing the beautiful coffins which she has helped us to design and build.

“The work really captures the essence of the project which is about celebrating our own uniqueness and character, and how we would want the world to remember us.”

Crazy Coffins. Guitar.

Being buried in a Nokia phone – one of Crazy Coffins’ designs – certainly has a certain ring to it, while a guitar-shaped casket may hit right note with others.

The famous Fleet Street factory made coffins for the likes of Winston Churchill, Princess Diana and the Queen Mother before closing its doors in 1998.

Newman Brothers left most of the contents in place as if at the end of an ordinary working day, including a huge stock of fittings, shrouds and coffin linings. And as everyone knows, every shroud has a silver lining. The museum opened to the public last year following a £2 million project.

Of the latest attraction, Crazy Coffins’ Ursula Williams said: “The factory museum shows us the conservative world of the funeral trade, rooted in Victorian traditions, whereas the exhibition invites us to consider the possibilities of a coffin in expressing the life-long enthusiasms of an individual, and how it can be an affectionate and even humorous focus of a farewell ceremony.”

Admission is free and visitors are offered the opportunity to design your own miniature coffin. Visit www.coffinworks.org for details.

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