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Handmade Felt Shroud
BBC Radio4 Womans Hour feature: A return to traditional materials for burial
Bellacouche Leafcocoons are made of locally sourced wool and wood. A padded wooden base is sewn in to two layers of thick felt. A soft felt shroud is secured to this and two further layers of felt give added strength and a smooth outline. Six strong handles take all the weight.
Designs for the top cover are optional and are based on native trees.
a sturdy greenwood frame is encased in thick woollen felt: sewn in & secure
at both ends to ease movement in & out of a vehicle + six carrying handles
the body is wrapped in a soft woollen cocoon and strapped to the frame
this layer shelters the shrouded body, and is fastened all round with wooden toggles
a decorative leaf lies gently on top in plain white felt or a choice of designs
The Leafcocoon offers a comforting and beautiful alternative to the hard outlines of a conventional coffin and is hand made in Devon.
WOOL has kept the heart of mankind warm: the shepherd's cloak and the fine shawl, the pilgrim's robe and the warrior's mantle have all served well wherever they have served at all
from The Romance of French Weaving by Paul Rodier
The Leafcocoon connects our wool and textile traditions to the landscape & the natural world. By creating this range of felted ‘soft coffins’, we aim to make the most of wool's special qualities, as well as encourage its wider use.
This is not a new idea in 1666 a law to benefit the wool trade was passed, requiring everyone to be buried in a woollen shroud.
There is also archeological evidence for the use of felt in a burial tomb in the Altai Mountains in Siberia. Dating from around 600 BC, the permafrost miraculously preserved some wonderful felts that suggest some ritual significance.
Local & Sustainable
The Leafcocoons are made from new British wool and use the natural fleece colours of different breeds of sheep. We also use some fleece that has been hand-dyed with indigo, onion & madder. The carrying frame and wooden pegs are made from wood coppiced in Devon. The wool is needlefelted for us, also in Devon, and finished by hand in our Dartmoor workshop.
The word Bellacouche comes from the traditional name of the makers' barn workshop in Chagford, Dartmoor, and means "beautiful resting place".
Artists & Feltmakers
Anne Belgrave and Yuli Somme have worked together since 2003 to develop this new & gentler approach to burial.
Anne lives on the Welsh Borders, and Yuli on Dartmoor. A love of the landscape and natural world has influenced our choice of materials and design - "our shared aim is to make something that stays close to nature, and is also intrinsically soft and comforting."
please ring Yuli at the workshop: 01647 432155 to order or discuss your requirements
workshop: 01647 432155
8 Meldon Road Chagford Devon TQ13 8BG