Looking for an earth-friendly burial for yourself and your loved ones? A burial vessel made of willow might just be the answer. It’s hand-made, natural, and 100% biodegradable.
Once Lasswell realized she wanted to weave willow caskets in 2019, she reached out to Carolina Memorial Sanctuary in Mills River, North Carolina, a conservation cemetery within 60 miles of her farm. l. They were thrilled. At the time, Lasswell said, there were only two weavers selling willow caskets in the country: Mary Fraser in Turners Falls, Massachusetts, and Maureen Walrath in Port Townsend, Washington.
Through their work, Fraser, Lasswell, and Walrath lower green burial’s carbon footprint even. Whenever possible, they grow or wildcraft their own willow. They weave their vessels for local populations, lessening the need for imported biodegradable caskets. For Lasswell, it was the willow casket that brought her to green burials, and it is the plants, the creations she makes from them, and the connections she makes with those grieving that keep her inspired.
Fraser and Lasswell also invite people to help weave. “That time between a death and a burial, you’ve got this few days where you often feel very helpless,” said Lasswell. “It’s very meditative. It’s quiet, it’s tactile, it’s beautiful.” Some people have woven their own caskets — and use them in the meantime as storage vessels, coffee tables, or even a bookshelf with removable willow shelves.