Painted Caskets


I've sometimes thought of a casket as a sort of boundary where life an death meet on civil terms. Although I make caskets, I don't kid myself. I am neither the beginning nor the end of the process. I just build the box. Under the best circumstances, the family and friends then take my box and make it a meaningful part of their ceremony.

I received an email this morning that shows this process at its best. Sunshine and I had delivered a spruce casket to the family last weekend for their grandfather. Cristina Garcia and Carla Abreu-Garcia then painted a tree trunk onto the lid. The leaves of the tree were then added by their family and friends at the ceremony. The leaves are fingerprints. It seems perfect for a patriarch.

That's how it should be. I made a unique casket, but they made it his.

Photos: Lucas J. Montanez


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