Well Urned Rest was set up after a discussion between Nancy Shafee and a friend who was at the time looking for a ‘soft option’ for an urn for a relative’s cremation ashes. Metal and ceramic seemed too ‘cold’. Wood too ‘hard’. So Nancy, already a well-established textile designer, decided it was time for textiles to play their part.
She now designs individual and highly decorative burial vessels for cremains in handmade wool felt, as well as simpler ‘huggable’ pouches and smaller ones for pets (from hamsters to great danes, so far). The first designs were depictions of the four main elements – Fire, Earth, Water and Air – followed by the seasons.
- Handmade burial urns
- Biodegradable urns for cremation ashes
- Eco-friendly cremation urns
- Custom-made designs
- Pet urns
- Recycled fabric designs
- Handmade felt designs
- Feltmaking workshops
- ‘Memory Gifts’ in handmade felt and recycled fabrics
Discussions with Clandon Natural Burial Ground confirmed she was on the right course. All Nancy’s urns are suitable for natural burial grounds – her handmade felt incorporates wool, with silk, bamboo or other natural fibres, and she only uses wools, silks, cottons and linens for the fabric designs.
Because her designs are decorative, they are equally suitable as statement pieces in a home and Nancy finds people are sometimes buying them just for the shape or colour to suit their home decor! However, their decorative nature means a buyer can make his or her own choice and enjoy owning it prior to it fulfilling its final purpose.
Recent surveys reported in Funeral Service Times have shown that more people are opting for a no-frills option for cremation, so it makes sense for an urn to be part of the final farewell when friends and family gather for a scattering or burial memorial. Nancy also hopes people will be able to use their purchase as a way of discussing their particular end of life wishes with family and friends – whether for the music, the resting place or the manner of service.
Trade memberships / Awards / Qualifications
Nancy Shafee is current chair of The Surrey Guild of Craftsmen. Other memberships include Crafts Council, Heritage Craft Association, Guildford Art Society, Surrey Artists and American Fiber Arts Network. She has been a member of Mensa for more than 40 years and supports the Campaign for Wool. In 2019 Nancy was nominated for the Wool Innovation Prize.
Charles Cottage, Silkmore Lane, West Horsley KT24 6JQ
Telephone: 01483 383471