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Single Tear Catchers

Grief Objects Designed to Inspire Healing Discussions

The single tear vial is one of the Non-therapeutic Tools of Grieving by Matthew Coombes, a collection of objects aimed at encouraging discussion of grief. The single tear catcher allows a solitary tear to be captured and stored in a vial sealed with a cork. Each vial is placed inside of a box and attached to it with a black ribbon. A small scroll upon which relevant information is written can be added to the single tear vial memorial as well.

Coombes was inspired to create grief objects because he wanted to encourage people to talk about grief, a subject that many find awkward and ill-equipped to deal with. The Single Tear Catcher came from the experience of shedding a solitary tear at a funeral.

“My brother and father died when I was sixteen. Throughout the whole funeral shed a single tear. I guess that’s how I coped,” says Coombes on his website.

In addition to the tear catcher, Coombes designed a cuticle protector and husband stilts.

Of the cuticle protector he says: “During a particularly traumatic time in my teens, including my friend being stabbed to death, I started to bite and pick at my cuticles when stressed. I still do it.”

And the husband stilts? 

”The ‘husband stilts’ represents the physical loss of a loved one, the practical implications: ‘My husband always helped me reach things that were too high and lift things that were too heavy for me.’“

The objects are part of the Designersblock London 2009 exhibition that takes place during the London Design Festival September 24-27, 2009.