It was with great admiration that we sat down and discussed our favorite topics with Laura Flook. Laura is the designer of an evolving collection of clothing, accessories, three dimensional objects, and illustrative and written narratives. Her work is inspired not only by her love and knowledge of literature, music, the Victorian era, and the memorial arts, but also by her early career in the funeral industry where she literally learned to sew by suturing incisions on the bodies of the deceased.
After graduating from New York City's McAllister Institute of Funeral Service in August of 1999, Laura began working in the funeral industry which led her to realize her true calling as an embalmer. Post-Mortem Cosmetology and Restorative Art spoke to her many talents both artistic and scientific. She found the work to be rewarding, meaningful, and creatively fulfilling. After a growing discontent with the industry she had found such a profound connection with, in 2006 Laura made the choice to indefinitely leave the world of death-care.
She now prevails in the realm of fashion, art, and beyond.
Explore her collection, story, and poetic vision at lauraflook.com
We asked Laura to describe her "Dream Funeral" her answers are here:
I, laura Flook, of Somewhere OVer yonder, being of adequate blood sugar, sound mind and erratic memory, do hereby claim all of the former and following grammatical, spelling and typographical errors to be of my own.
Location of funeral service
I actually do not want a funeral service. When i was a teenager, I always declared “i want to be propped up in a chair in the corner of my apartment with a drink and a cigarette.. surrounded by friends.." but that was before i knew what exactly that would physically entail~ and at the time, i did not even have enough friends to visibly surround me, so in retrospect, had i died years ago and my last wishes were legally approved and miraculously respected, i imagine that might have been somewhat awkward… two or three people feeling obligated to spend time in a close-quartered, music-filled, party-themed room with my ACTION-POSED corpse. . though primARily, it’s the embalming and heavy leak-proofing measures that would be required to entertain such a display that made me quickly dismiss the idea altogether.
I don’t like being physically handled by people i don’t know. A lot of people argue - “BUT what does it matter? You’ll be dead!”.. the same could be reasoned by a necropheliac. It still doesn’t make the thought of being touched by a stranger any more comforting—THAT Said, i SHOULD clarify - i do NOT anticipate anyone’s remote desire to roger my remains. ALSO-The proliferation of camera-phones and instant publishing access to the INTERNET does not put me at ease. Despite the illegality of the matter, dignity and respect for the deceased (along with their families) goes beYONd concealing their eyes in an instagram photo with a black rectangle. Sadly, There are a few, truly despicable types within the medical and funerary professions who sacrifice the privacy of others to promote their "brand" and social media stardom with shocking images-all under the weak-justification of "education" and "science". It's awful, but that's reality.
Buried or cremated
Direct Cremation. The faster i am no longer whole, the better.
Open or closed casket or__
I will be wearing__
Bacteria.. and depending on the amount of time I was dead before my body was discovered and where i died, possibly larvae/maggots and/or dental impressions.
Music will be playing
In the event that i AM mentally present after death, for safe measure - i would like to request Cristina’s recorded perversion of Peggy Lee’s “Is that All there Is?” playing for me on the way to the Crematory..on a loop.. Hopefully the ride will not be long, but at least the person driving me there will have a laugh.
I would like __type of flowers
Flowers are forbidden.
My prized possession __goes to__
My will is a surprise and subject to change.
My ultimate sendoff
If i have the ability, energy and timely-foresight to plan ahead, i would ultimately prefer a “FUNERAL SHOWER” to an actual Funeral. or..A “GOING OUT” Party, if you like. Funerals are for the living - not the dead. I hate the idea of people gathering and discussing me when i’m not around-IN LIFE - why in Washington Square would i want to arrange such an event that FEATURES the very things i detest - in death?
I want to be alert and preseNt for my sendoff so i can actually enjoy it. Instead of people showering me with gifts and cards, I can be Santa Claus for a day and bequeath my possessions IN PERSON-to my guests, enjoy the company of my friends, share memories AND allow me a definitive opportunity to tell those i care for how much i appreciate them and how they have personally impacted my life -It will also give my friends the chance to say anything they wish and not have any regret later over words unspoken. As for aesthetic, it will be a smallish, dimly-lit, invite-only (NO entry for opportunistic acquaintances and faux-friends) gathering at my home. There WILL be LOTS Of alcohol. A self-curated play-list of songs and sounds will be amplified. A photo-slideshow i’ve pre-prepared of images i fancy will be projected on a large screen or wall. There will be a buffet comprised of various snacks i became addicted to in life for periods of time. If i have no corporally-present animal companions at the time, i desire a gaggle of comfort-raccoons to join us and I want the room to smell like Fruity Pebbles.
How I would like to be__memorialized
By those i love? Fondly, i hope!.. but it’s okay if they stand around a burning effigy and curse me for ever prowling the planet. i really don’t expect a blessed thing, but I WOULD like to arrange some sort of SCAVENger hunt -to be carried out in my absence - when/AFTER I actually die - in LIEU of a traditional funeral. I am a big fan of Scooby Doo, cold case files and crime documentaries. I would give a list of clues to each guest at my Funeral Shower and they can make a night of it together once i’m dead and have a jolly mystery adventure!
I’d like to be remembered for__
Being AMAZING. i’m kidding. i don’t know. for TRYING my best, maybe? Yeah. THat sounds more reasonable.