Tender Funerals Artist and Musicians in Residence: the REALM Project

Funeral ceremonies have always been a part of our culture.  Through our work at Tender Funerals, we have discovered that one of the things that helps when someone we love dies, is a ceremony that goes to the heart of who that person was and what they meant to us. A ceremony can be whatever we imagine it to be, and we believe that this can be made sacred. A ceremony can be as simple as singing a song or making something together, and often the perfect ceremony is one made with our own hands.

Through our artist and musician in residence program, Tender Funerals is offering a direct experience of the transformative power of art. You, your family and your community have the opportunity to work with skilled artists and musicians who will work alongside you to assist you in this farewelling.

Art for Funeral Services

The commonality between Tender Funerals and my art practice resides in the language of textiles and its connection to ritual, memory and the presence of cloth in our lives. As artist in residence, I am at hand to create a shared experience that commemorates your loved one. My role will be guided by your family’s particular wishes, as I work with you to produce a meaningful expression of the passing of your family member.

It could be in the form of a private keepsake for your immediate family, or a collection of small items or mementos to be shared at the funeral service. It might involve a gathering with your family’s children or young people to make decorative pieces, or to create a simple wrapping cloth. It is also possible to hold a quiet stitching vigil in honour of your loved one.

It is a privilege to be artist in residence at Tender Funerals and I look forward to working with you to find a creative expression that holds meaning for your family.       Michele Elliot

Music For Funeral Services

Music can create a sacred atmosphere that will always be cherished and remembered by family and friends. It can help to shift energy, elevate moods and connect people. Whether it is while washing and dressing your loved one, at any time during their ceremony, or at a wake or remembrance gathering, music is extremely healing and soothing.

We offer a wide selection of musical choices to suit any tastes, ages, cultures and religious beliefs. We can perform one special song or provide background music for several hours. We can provide a choir, or a band, or individual performers. We can help guide your families to perform songs, or make special playlists for the service.

Whatever your musical vision is for the funeral service of your loved one, we will assist you in making it happen.          Malika Elizabeth and Jodi Phillis


Our artists and musicians:

Michele Elliot is a visual artist, educator and occasional writer. Her artworks include textiles, drawing and sculpture and have been exhibited widely across Australia. She often works with everyday materials such as fabric, clothing and thread, to produce large scale, ephemeral installations, whose themes include memory, place and the passing of time.

Michele has been a lecturer in tertiary education for many years. More recently, her focus has been running textile and embroidery workshops in regional NSW. Michele enjoys works with small groups to create a supportive and responsive learning environment, and a relaxed space for conversation and connections.



Malika Elizabeth has been a professional musician for over two decades, in a variety of bands and groups, and has been singing all of her life.  Her voice is rich and deep, and her original songs are soulful and uplifting. She also teaches music to preschoolers and hosts a family friendly community show. Malika understands how important the healing energy of music is, and how it helps to unite people in emotional times.

Singing at funerals has been powerful, cathartic and healing for all involved. It is an honour for her to be able to share in such a profound experience with families.


Jodi Phillis is a highly regarded singer, songwriter and composer with a wealth of musical experience and skills. Jodi performs regularly with her various acts, releases albums and also composes music for the screen.

Over the years, Jodi has been drawn more and more to community work, facilitating choirs, music mentoring, music therapy and singing at funeral ceremonies for family and friends.

Jodi is passionate about helping people through life’s most challenging times, with the healing balm of music…in all its forms.



 The Artist and Musicians in Residence, a component of the

 Tender Funerals REALM project, is supported by the

 NSW Government through Create NSW.