Updated: 03/31/2014 1:15 PM
Created: 11/13/2012 4:21 PM WDIO.com
By: Laurie Stribling
Caskets take on a new function in Duluth and Grand Marais. The Duluth Casket Shop sells eco-friendly caskets made with wood from area sawmills, but owner Jude Collins said a new design is expanding the use of a casket.
Collins was approached by a friend, Father William Graham, about making a casket that can be used as a bookcase until it's put in the ground. Graham works at St. Scholastica and said he wanted the "casket-turned-bookcase" to remind him of death in his daily life.
"Saint Benedict, and his rule for monastery, has 73 instruments of good work," Graham said. "Number 47 is 'keep death daily before your eyes'. So, this is a reminder that we will all die."
Graham said death should not be feared, but at the forefront of your mind. He said this mentality may change how you conduct yourself in daily life.
"It lets us know that we have limited number of days," Graham said. "These days are precious and there are things to do: work to do, prays to say, hymns to sing."
While Graham has come to terms with death, some might think using a casket for a bookshelf is eerie. Graham and Collins disagree.
"It doesn't scare me," Graham said. "You're going to be in one too. It's a good thing for us to consider that because it helps us live better day to day a think."
"I haven't met anybody whose gotten out alive yet," Collins said. "Sometimes, in life, we just have to take the bull by the horns and do it."
Up in Grand Marais, a group takes a more hands-on approach to this idea. The North House Folk School holds a casket-building class.
"It's a course we like to joke about," Director Greg Wright said. "Everybody does. Build your own casket; bury yourself in your work."
During the class, they teach people how to build a basic casket that can be used earlier in life as a coffee table or bookshelf.
"There is a lot of people who are rather inquisitive about it," Instructor Randy Schnobrich said. "(They say) what's it like? Doesn't it sound kind of morbid?"
While Schnobrich knows it may seem odd to many people, he has had wonderful experiences teaching the class. Both Schnobrich and Wright agreed people could learn a lot from death.
"If we all lived that way a little bit more with that clarity, as soon as we can see, you're going to live a lot better life," Schnobrich said. "(Rather) than denying it the whole time, and then get to the end and find out I wish I did a lot of other stuff."
"One could pretty easily argue that the world would be a better place if we all stopped and got to build our own casket," Wright said. "It would challenge us to think a little bit about, what am I here for? How do I want to touch this world?"
The North House Folk School offers many different classes in Nordic craft. For more information, click here.
All Pints Brew Fest Back in Duluth for Fifth Year
The fifth annual All Pints North Summer Brew Fest brought 120 craft brews to Duluth nearly 4,000 beer fans.
"Taste of Greece" Festival Makes Summer Delicious
The 24th annual "Taste of Greece" festival brings Greek culture to the Northland this weekend.
Storm Cleanup Underway; Crews Double in Restoration Efforts
More than 25,000 residents are still without power following Thursday morning's storm. One of the areas hit the hardest was Woodland. That's one of the places Minnesota Power says they have extra crews on the ground working to restore power.
Curbside Pick Up of Tree Debris in Duluth
The City of Duluth is offering curbside pick up starting on Monday for storm damaged tree debris as another option for clean up. Yard and food waste should be brought to the WLSSD waste drop off site.
Vikings Cut the Ribbon at New $1.1 Billion Football Stadium
The Vikings held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new indoor stadium Friday, and fireworks were shot off after Gov. Mark Dayton did the honors. It was the culmination of 31 months of construction that forced the Vikings to play for two seasons at the University of Minnesota's stadium across town.