Q1. When and what was the first Crazy Coffin?
A1. One day, a lady knocked on the door. This lady had a half-built coffin in the back of her van. It was in the form of an aeroplane fuselage. She asked us to finish it off. Other people got to hear about this, and a trickle of orders came in. The Sun picked up the story, and ran it across the whole of Page 3. The Sun used the term 'crazy coffins'. That's how the name 'Crazy Coffins' was born. The newspaper acted as midwife, at a birth we'd never expected.
Q2. How many Crazy Coffins are made and sold?
A2. Not very many. Lots of enquiries come in. But when a family learns that a Ferrari-shaped coffin could take two weeks to build and might cost five thousand pounds, they tend to back off. Under the circumstances, they often buy a conventional coffin, with a Ferrari design painted on the sides or the lid. (The job takes three days and costs about five hundred pounds.)
There again, quite a few crazy coffins are sold to people who, although presently active and fit, want to have a coffin ready and waiting, for the day that they die. Probably the person who was building the 'aeroplane' coffin belonged to that class.
Q3. Do we have a range of Crazy Coffins?
A3. No. We build only to order. The customer says exactly what he or she wants. And this isn't really so strange. When someone wants a Ferrari coffin, they don't want any old Ferrari. They have a precise model in mind, in the colours of this or that team. They do the thinking; they always know what they want.
Q4. What do Crazy Coffins cost?
A4. It depends on what the client specifies. It depends partly upon speed (if you want it quickly, that involves lots of overtime working), and partly upon the complexity of the shapes which we have to create. A coffin shaped like a particular motor car may set you back four or five thousand pounds. But a simplified football boot may cost you only eight hundred pounds.
Q5. What is our favourite Crazy Coffin?
A5. It tends to be the coffin on which we are working right now. Two months ago, we were working on a Viking boat coffin. To be modelled on the 'Osberg' which lies in an Oslo museum. Full of gracious curves and meticulous planking. A challenge, and a pleasure to make. Now we are working on a beer bottle coffin, mounted on a brewer's delivery truck. It's a puzzle. All of us ponder the drawings, and play with ideas. It is this coffin which, for the moment, occupies centre place, as the most interesting one.
Q6. Is it art? Or just a joke, in poor taste?
A6. The only artists amongst us are the clients themselves. Each one of them has a vision of how a funeral should be. Each client is his or her own theatre director. We ourselves play a subordinate part, just as, in the conventional theatre, the carpenters do who make up the sets.
A client has ordered a skip."It is a dustbin", he says, "which will carry me off, at my end". We took it to Germany, and exhibited it there. People were surprised, perhaps even shocked. How can a dustbin show proper respect? It's a joke, they said, in dubious taste.
Q7. Is there any Crazy Coffin you can't make?
A7. Not really, we try to fulfil everyone's wish. A difficult challenge would have been a glass casket, akka, Sleeping Beauty, but the client pulled out after our quote, but maybe one day? Given the time to manufacture, all things are possible.
Q8. What kind of people buy Crazy Coffins?
A8. Young and old are now thinking about their funeral and how they want to be buried or cremated: how should they make their final journey, what and how to celebrate their own lives. Cost does not determine the type of person that will buy a crazy coffin; lifestyle, hobbies and interests might. Even the thought, "to cause a stir at my funeral", carries some weight.
Q9. Materials used?
A9. Crazy coffins are usually made from medium density fibreboard and flexi-ply. Materials are from sustainable forests and our finishes are from water based products.
Q10. Patent Rights?
A10. Crazy Coffins is a registered name here in the UK and Europe. We do not have a patent.
A11. We do have a catalogue, which is born from our exhibition work, but our products are bespoke and we much prefer our clients to express their own thoughts and ideas.
A12. Some clients request that we store their coffin for them, some take them home and use them as a piece of furniture. For instance we made a glass top casket, which was used as a coffee table. When storing clients coffins we are often allowed to use them in exhibitions plus "their story". We presently do not charge for storage.
Q13. Orders from other countries outside the UK?
A13. Not as yet. The time between death and the funeral is sometimes short and can prohibit an order from abroad. A better idea is to buy now and die later.