From Dust to Dust:

Green Coffins and Containers

May 8th, 9th and 10th, 2009 registration

Death is an auspicious time in which to weave tradition and meaning into the fabric of our lives. Families and caregivers deserve meaningful participation in and support for handling the end of life. Sometimes the best way to handle the challenge of all the feelings and fears that come with death is through hands on action.

Participants will help with the construction of several simple coffins, with a concentration on tools and materials that are readily available to most casual craftsfolk. During the workshop we will also discuss how we can reclaim this time, in any number of great and small ways. Attendees can expect to be able to apply the skills and information presented to create their own coffins when they are ready.

Come prepared to be informed, empowered and inspired.

This workshop will take place in Madison , WI

This is a Natural Passings Event

(PDF version of this info in flyer form)


From Dust to Dust:

Building Green Coffins and Containers

It is important that individuals, their families and their communities know that they have choices at the end of their lives. One choice open to us in the majority of states in the US and most countries in the world is what we will be buried in. This workshop will give you guidance on how to use a home workshop to build your own coffin or one for someone you care about.

There will be a presentation relating the diversity of materials and methods, funeral customs, and alternatives, and sharing of, resources for further development. Some topics covered will be tool safety, design, measurements, strength and reinforcement, hardware, and embellishments. This workshop will provide resources, ideas, and introduce skills so that your personally built coffin can be beautiful, functional, and eco-friendly.

The workshop will also provide you with information and resources to become an ambassador and resource for people who are seeking green options, creative alternatives or those who want to make conscious choices as the end of their life.


Gene Delcourt has been working with wood since 1992. He carves, designs, works with chainsaws, makes containers, drums, sculptures, installations, yurts, etc. After retirement he plans to become a luthier specializing in violins, mandolins and other string instruments. Gene teaches at Malcolm Shabazz High School and works with young people. He also serves community in ways that support spirituality and interfaith.

Math Heinzel worked with fine furniture design, building, and restoration, then moved on to work with sustainability, permaculture, environment and community issues... Much of his time these days is spent working with computers assisting people in making a difference in our world. Math currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Trust for Natural Legacies

Casey Heinzel  Contractor and carpenter since before the turn of the Century.  Skilled with both power and hand tools, designed and built the coffin for his mother’s funeral .

The Other Participants – in a workshop on death, dying and internment, we are all experts. Each person attending has been touched/impacted by death and can offer their knowledge and expertise to the group. We will make time for story sharing along with the hard core learning and skill enhancement that this workshop will offer. Each of us will also have some time for self reflection on why we want to gain more knowledge in this area and explore strategies to help us move forward in a healthy and positive way.

Dust to Dust Weekend Schedule

Friday May 8, 2009 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Registration and Introductions

Safety, Tools, Customs, Design and Resources

Saturday May 9, 2009 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

8:00 - 9:00 Continental Breakfast

9:00 - 12:30 Morning Session

12:30 - 2:00 Lunch and discussion on site

1:30 - 5:00 Afternoon Session

Sunday May 10, 2009 9:00 to 5:00

8:00 – 9:00 Continental Breakfast

9:00 - 12:30 Morning Session

12:30 - 2:00 Lunch and discussion on site

1:30 - 5:00 Afternoon Session

For additional information, contact Math at 608.444.9406 or