We are a family business
located in Roxboro, North Carolina
Aldergrove Woodworks is a sawdust-covered corner of Aldergrove Farm (aldergroveflowerfarm.com). John and Carolyn have been together for going on forever, and daughter Sunshine is the flower farmer.
The Woodworks has been building wooden caskets since 2015. We'd been through a family tragedy that left us feeling that there had to be a better way - a more human way - to handle death and the tasks surrounding it. Along the way we've met amazing people and heard their stories and had our stories heard in return. We've rethought what death, funerals, and burial mean to us, and the way we mark our passings. When John started building caskets it felt like a calling. It still feels like a calling, so we continue to answer. If you are interested in what we're doing, we're here to answer your call.
John, Carolyn, and Sunshine
A few words on WOODWORKING
People have been making things out of wood for a very long time.
At some point, in the quest for a more comfortable seat, somebody altered a wooden log to better fit the human form.
Thus, the dimension of the human body has long been the basis by which we design objects from natural materials.
In the tradition of designing for human needs and building by human means, I strive to make objects that celebrate our humanity and relationships with the environment.
With each project, I pass along the opportunity to use the object in the manner that best suits YOUR human need:
- painting artwork on a casket to memorialize your loved one.
- growing salsa in your raised garden bed.
- writing books to fill your bookshelves.
I want to craft objects that connect us
both functionally and esthetically
to the artifacts
of our daily lives.
Several years ago our family suffered a series of losses and we were disappointed to find that what was being offered by the funeral industry didn't really seem to align with our tastes and values. It didn't fit. So much of what we were going through as a family felt wrong. We needed something that felt right, that felt like us. Our first green (and Kosher) casket was born of that time of tragedy.
Later, I built my mother’s casket while she was in hospice care in the living room. I needed something to DO and I found solace in pouring my energy into building something that she would have appreciated - a casket that had just the right boards with unusual color and grain. She liked the unusual.
Building caskets was my therapy and my way of pushing back against death then. Of course, there's no stopping death, but I found through the work I could reflect on the process and come to terms.
I continue to build caskets for family and the community, and I still try to pour my heart and soul into each one.
If I may assist you through your end of life tasks, I will do for you as I do for my own.
When I tell people that I work as a coffineer, there is usually a pause while they digest that, often followed by a step back.
Yes, I make caskets.
I feel 'called' to do this work.
I believe my place is to be at the intersection of art, craft, and compassion.