Port Kembla's Tender Funerals employs an artist in residency program

Tender Funerals director Amy Sagar with artist Michele Elliot. Picture: Sylvia Liber
Tender Funerals director Amy Sagar with artist Michele Elliot. Picture: Sylvia Liber

Port Kembla holistic funeral service Tender Funerals has now added an artist and two musicians to their roster thanks to a cultural grant from Create NSW.

“The Realm Project” is an artist-in-residency program which will see Michele Elliot, Malika Elizabeth and Jodi Phillis work with those grieving to help them find the best way to remember a loved one.

Spokeswoman Jenny Briscoe-Hough said the inspiration for the project came from wanting to empower people to have a ceremony in their own unhurried way.

“[A ceremony] doesn’t have to be limited to what we know,” she said. “Lets not be prescriptive.”

The artists will also host “after care” workshops (such as a choir and a sewing circle) where those who are still grieving have a space to express that they feel in a group of people going through the same thing.

Jenny Briscoe-Hough. Picture: Sylvia Liber

Jenny Briscoe-Hough. Picture: Sylvia Liber

The not-for-profit funeral service, based out of a converted fire station on Military Road, opened its doors in September 2016 after seven years of planning and fundraising.

Ms Briscoe-Hough said she has been amazed how their service has grown and how many clients have surprisingly wanted to become volunteers with the organisation after using their services.

Some of their services have included informal ceremony’s with bands, opera singing and children telling jokes.

“Often people think there is a formula,” Ms Briscoe-Hough said. “Mostly it’s pretty simple and people can participate in any aspect that they want.”