Frequently Asked Questions
What is a "green burial"?
A: Green burial is determined by these things being true: there is no embalming of the body, there is no vault (concrete box) in the grave, there is no permanent head marker, and all items being buried with the body are 100% biodegradable and locally sourced.
Where and how can I arrange to have a green burial?
A: Green burial is legal in every state. You can have one on your own land, a friend's land, or in a green burial cemetery. There are also hybrid cemeteries, where most plots are for conventional burials but they allow for green burials in designated plots. To learn how to arrange one on your own land or a friend's, for more general information about green burial and to find a list of green cemeteries in New England, visit https://www.greenburialcouncil.org/
How much do your caskets cost?
A: I have a sliding scale for the adult coffins at $2000-$4500. Visit my page "Weaving" to see all the information about my coffins.
Can I pre-order a coffin?
A: Yes. People will often send me a picture and story about who they are, so I can weave that personal connection into the coffin and hold them in my mind while I am working. Many people will pre-order a coffin for themselves and store the coffin in their home or attic. This is a kind service to their loved ones, one less step to cover when they pass.
How long does it take to make a coffin with willow?
A: It takes 8-12 days to soak the willow, and roughly 35-40 hours, or four full days to weave the coffin. Baby and child coffins take approx. 12-16 hours to weave.
Can you ship the coffins?
A: Yes. My vision is to provide locally, but being one of the very few makers on the continent, I get requests from several states away and am willing to ship by ground freight (train), which is the most carbon minimal way to ship long distance. It usually takes three days and costs between $300-$600. I charge an extra $100 added to the shipping cost for packaging time.
Are the coffins weight-tested?
A: I often get questions about how strong the coffins are and if they can really hold the weight of a body, and is the rope strong enough to lift it, etc. The answer is YES! The coffins can carry far more weight than the size body they could possibly fit. The average adult coffin can lift 500 pounds, and the handles are part of that. There is no state or federal certification for this, but I have personally tested the weight on my coffins and abide by the making techniques used traditionally in the UK for centuries.
Can you custom make larger sizes?
A: Yes. Please email me about this, and when you place an order send me dimensions and weight. Larger coffins do cost more in materials and time, so the sliding scale price is higher.
Are the baskets and coffins polished or lacquered?
A: No, they are not. The natural oil in willow bark makes it very smooth and even shiny. There are no dyes, finishes, or added oils to any of my baskets or coffins.
Do you make pet coffins?
A: I will take custom orders for any kind of willow coffin or basket. Custom orders, on average, take a month to complete, so if you want a pet coffin in time for a burial, it's best to pre-order. Email me to get a custom order.
How long does it take for the coffins to decompose?
A: Willow will decompose very quickly once exposed to moisture, microbes and soil. It will take a matter of weeks, and up to a few months, for the coffin to entirely decompose and become dirt. A body will take longer, and depends on several factors to determine how quickly one decomposes. In Vermont the burial depth law was recently changed to 3.5 feet, which is the deepest at which microbes and soil life are available to decompose a body. This means in can be 2-4 months for the body to decompose down to bone fragments. At 6 feet deep, which is the current burial depth by law in most other states, decomposition takes much longer and can be between a year or several years for the body to decompose. Washington was recently the first state to legalize body composting, where burial is quite shallow and the soil life is at its highest level, bringing decomposition time down to a matter of weeks.
What's the difference between a coffin and a casket?
A: The original meaning of the word 'coffiin' is from Greek and essentially translates to "basket". The word 'casket' come from the Old English/French "cassette", a small box for valuables.