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Making the Memories Count....

"We didn't realize we were making memories, we just knew we were having fun"

One of the things we are often privileged to be asked to do is create a Memorial Bench.

This can take many forms, often, being the nation of animal lovers that we are, it will be in memory of a beloved pet, we have twice in recent years created Benches for a customer’s adored Burmese Cats, and dogs have featured heavily too.

Often though, memories of course turn to people, and are a tribute to someone who was loved by family and friends and they wish to have something beautiful to remember them by. 

Every seat tells its own story and serves as a gentle reminder of people, or animals, who were adored and are gone but not forgotten.  They are important because as well as honouring a person, place or event, they also provide a restful place for people to sit and contemplate.

Many find a memorial bench to be helpful in coming to terms with loss. They are viewed as a celebration of life that can be enjoyed for years to come.

Some people like to place the bench in a spot that their loved one liked. This can be a park they enjoyed visiting or a spot overlooking the sea (see the Swirl Bench photo at the top of this blog, this has been placed on the South West Coastal Path at Seatown, on the Jurassic Coast, which was especially meaningful to the family who commissioned us). People find that placing the bench at a popular beauty spot can help the mourning process. The idea that the bench will be acknowledged and enjoyed as a place of rest for countless other people can be a comfort. Discuss with family and friends where they think the bench should be placed.

Make sure you contact the park or organisation responsible for where you want to put your memorial bench – they will nearly always be happy to oblige. Alternatively, place your memorial bench in a garden to have a small reminder of your loved one every day.

We were recently commissioned to make a garden bench in memory of a customer's very dear friend, who had been an acclaimed, and much awarded, bowls player.  Out customer wanted something really spectaular to remember her friend by, so we made a bespoke bench for her, based on our Centenary Bench,  with the addition of a really beautiful bronze plaque inset in the centre of the back.  For this our carver/sculptor, visited our customer and looked at all the memorobilia she had of her friend, choosing an image from a newspaper featuring one of her prize winning performances, that was used to base the sculpture on.  You can see the finished result below, a truly fitting tribute to a dear friend.

There's also a really rather lovely little story about this.  The bench was completed and awaiting collection in our maker James's workshop.  James noticed that a little robin started visiting the workshop, James said at the time: 

"Had a robin keep popping into the workshop today. He was a bit shy but managed to snap him on the arm of the centenary bench. Thought it was a nice enough photo to share!"

And our customer said:

"I think it might have been Eileen’s spirit come to inspect her bench"

So each and every piece has its own story to tell, sometimes happy, sometimes sad

Robin visitor

A fun swing seat we worked on was for a customer’s adored spaniel, Ali Bongo, still very much alive and kicking, our customer wanted to enjoy a bench with a carving of him on it whilst he is still with her, but also, looking ahead, to keep as a much loved memory of him.  Siobhan, being a huge dog lover, worked closely with our customer, showing her images of her own bronze carving of her dog Drogo, and alongside our bronze worker, they all came up with the glorious image you see below.  We are now waiting for a photo of Ali Bongo along his likeness!

On receiving her commission, our customer said:

"Siobhan, I am absolutely over the moon, that is even more beautiful than I had imagined. I cannot thank the team at Sitting Spiritually enough. It is perfect. I want to be able to stroke him when I am reading the Weekend papers and sipping a coffee and my husband is playing golf. However, I am not at all sure that Bongo will permit mum to sit down for 5 minutes in the seat - I think he will take full possession!" Jan P, Oxon

Drogo on Swirl Back
Ali Bongo

So they are certainly not only commissioned for sad times, many people will commission us to make a special seat for a big birthday celebration, so happy times form a large part of a memorial seat.

Writing a memorable dedication can be lovely to honour the memory of the seat and look back on it years to come.

We’re always happy to discuss your ideas, and these can be interpreted into a garden bench, swing seat of even a rope swing (these can be a lot of fun for a big birthday celebration, STILL SWINGING AT 70 is one that often pops up!)

So why not make the process of commissioning us part of the memory too?  

Posted by Siobhan on January 5th 2021

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