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I know this is a bit of a strange topic, but I will write an article in the New Ceramics magazine about funeral urns and I need every insight/help/information/tip etc. I can get from you.

 

I have never made an urn myself and I don't want to in the future. I'am interested in your stories, how you came to make urns, if you find it creepy to make urns or quite the contrary, if you know of really extraordinary or unusual urns etc.

 

Thank you for every help, link and tip you can give.

 

Evelyne

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Sunny    5

I made one for my son who was killed 2 years ago.  It's not your usual urn.  He always lived in not so good apartments, so I made him a castle with things that he enjoyed painted on it, and his picture on top.  When it comes time to bury him (if I ever get to that point) my husband will make a wooden box to put the urn in. I found comfort in it, but I don't think I would make one for anyone else.

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Marcia Selsor    1,301

First one I made was for a student whose teenage daughter had died from suicide while she was unattended in a mental health facility. My student was so devastated. I made a porcelain copper red as she requested. I gave it to her. I couldn't dream of charging her. My student did return to classes after a year or two. It was a very emotional situation when her daughter was going through so much trouble and then losing her.

 

The second time was for my in-laws. My mother-in-law wanted one big enough for both of them so their ashes could be stirred up together. I made it of porcelain with carved lilies and glazed in celadon. My father-in-law actually went to a Military cemetery so the urn is just for my mother-in-law now.

 

Marcia

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I've only made urns for companion animals, but each one touches my heart in a different way. The stories about the love their furparents had for them are what I try to put into the illustrations on the urn. I'm working on an urn for my own precious Thanatos, and it's going to be an onion, for his amorous stink. I miss him so much... :'(

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ChenowethArts    461

@Evelyne Schoenmann

 

My son and I had a related conversation about using human ashes to make a glaze...and lo, and behold, there is a post here on the CAC forum from several years back that discusses urns as well as the glaze idea (a little creepy for my taste): http://community.ceramicartsdaily.org/topic/375-human-ash-glaze-cone-6/

 

Good luck with your story.  Be sure to share when it gets published,

-Paul

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Benzine    610

I have made two, one for each of my Dad's parents.  My Grandpa asked to do so, years ago, and it was kind of put on the back burner.  Sadly, a year or two later, my Grandma quickly fell ill, so I had to make her's rather quick.  So I just made my Grandpa's at the same time.  My parent's actually have it on display, at their house, which I find odd.  Because, when my Grandpa comes over, it's right there.

 

The main thing is getting the right size.  They say one cubic inch of space, for each pound the person weighed.  

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Chris Campbell    1,087

Well, I already related my triple urn nightmare ... I was not bothered by the idea of making an urn, just the people who ordered them.

For a while I was on a few mailing lists as an urn supplier ... (Long story ...)

 

Don't forget to mention that there is a huge market for pet urns and memorials ... People pay more to bury their pets than their relatives.

Also, a market for mixing ashes right in a clay piece, such as a vase, pendant, stone etc. ... yes, really. They send you a test tube amount of the ashes and you mix it in ... Be it a pet or a relative.

There is a good market for custom urns shaped like whatever the persons interests were ... Cars, motorcycles, boats etc.

 

Google urns and you will not believe how many sites come up with a very wide range of products.

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It's not creepy at all! At least, not when it's for someone you love.

 

I've made one urn so far, for the two brothers of our dog. Sherman and Riley were great boys, and we all miss them terribly. Riley passed in 2010 and Sherman just this past January. Our boy, Jasper is still plugging along at the ripe old age of 14 and a half. When his time is near, I'll likely make one for him too.

 

My father passed in 2002 and mom has him in a very nice urn on the piano. She and I have talked about me making one that will be big enough to hold her and daddy together, when her time comes. I can think of nothing more honorable and heartfelt than making a final resting vessel for two people I love more than life itself. And I know that nobody on this planet could imbue that urn with more love than me.

 

As for making urns for others.......For me, it would depend largely on who it's for. For a beloved pet, I'm sure I could do it easily. I love animals. I couldn't imagine a life without my critters. Knowing all too well the pain of losing them, I can empathize with that loss. That empathy would enable me to make a piece that could possibly make that loss a little easier to bear. If the urn were for a human that I knew, I think I could do it. Though it might be a little harder to do.......

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rakukuku    122

someone at our studio made some small urns with a concave knob. in the knob depression some ashes were put in along with some bits of glass. fired out nicely and they were beautiful .  the family wanted 6 or 8 of them so they could divide ashes.  the family showed up for the kiln opening (including kids) which was weird because we all had to behave ourselves and not make jokes.   i personally would like to become an ash glaze.    rakuku

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Denice    243

I have made one for my sons dog at his request, he just wanted a regular pot with a lid.  I made a small covered dish and carved the dog's name, date and little paw prints crossing the bottom.  I have made one for my me and my husband but I may change my mind and make a different one later.  The one I have right now is a Hopi Wedding vase  design in black and white in stoneware clay.  Hopi Wedding vases are usually made out of low fire clay but I was afraid it might be to fragile.  I made a Greek funerary urn just for fun one time.  I have never made one for any of my pets, their spirits are with me all of the time.   Denice

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LeeU    330

Never had a yearning to do any urning tho I intend to go out burning. (Sorry...just had to.)

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Ria    0

I once read a book about a lady who made beautifully carved gourds. She was working on and just finished the last one when she died. Her three best friends put her ashes in that specific gourd. 

That gave me an idea: I went to all the funeral services in the area and requested to look at their urns. They were horrific. There were either wooden boxes or the very intricate, mass production gilded kitsch thingies. 

 

I then made myself a promise (which was welcomed by the people there) that I would make handmade ones and have it there for people who need something different than the usual.

Although it might sound sort of creepy to others when I tell them, I do not feel it when making those urns. I just keep on making it with love, thinking of my own brothers and sister who I love so dearly.

My urns are made with love and I often get commissions from friends - for themselves.... Can you believe that? 

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I had never been to a funeral for a family member before I was 27, and within the space of about 5 years I lost 3 grandparents, my Dad and a great uncle I was close to. They all got very simple jars, because, well, I could make jars, and it seemed far nicer to use something I had made rather than some of the really awful things funeral parlours have to offer.

After the whole experience, I looked into the requirements for supplying funeral homes. I didn't follow through because I was grieving pretty hard at the time, and I haven't picked up that particular train of thought just yet. I will likely look into it in the future, because I think it's something that I CAN do wholeheartedly to be of service.

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Mark C.    1,800

As to urns and loss I have lost two brothers and parents all pretty early in life but we are into creamation and spreading our ashes so urns were not in the plans and are not inm my future.

That said I have made urns for others-In a strange twist I made a urn for two but they both where/are alive and well in Atlanta. It was just like the pot which was my moniker with a bamboo handle that I used here for a few years.

I also have had a few covered pieces bought as urns over the years though not made exactly for that purpose all at art shows and in the moment. I have made about 4 cat urns- two for myself as well as cremating 3 cats myself one was for a friend the others where ours.I did not charge for this .

I have almost a few times started to make an animal line of urns for our local vets but its just another idea I have in the wings when fairs become to hard on the body.I have buyers in vets but money is not always enough for me

Loss is just part of life for me since 12 years of age . I am the age where friends are passing more and more-but for me its always been just part of living.You grow up quick when this happens when you are young.It really is a two edged sword.It cuts both ways.

Mark

 

PS in some strange Irony the thread below this one is -Living the Dream

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I'am overwhelmed! Thank you all so much for contributing. My sincere condolences to those who lost a loved one only lately!

 

The idea for the urn-article started in my head when I've read about the contest one of my friends (Sandrine from the ceramics school V.I.A in Vallauris) organizes. Another friend, Robert Lawarre III, made an urn for this competition that's looking like a turtle. Seeing that I thought, well, maybe one can look at the theme also in a way one doesn't normally expect. I want to cover the theme from historical use of urns to competitions with turtles as urns. Please keep your eyes and mind open to the theme and contact me whenever you find something you think "that would be great in the article about urns". You can contact me also by email via my website (see below-signature). Thanks.

 

I appreciate your help! And of course I will show you the article after it's published (autumn or winter 2015).

 

Hugs,

 

Evelyne

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alabama    144

Hey Evelyne,

     I was asked by an elderly friend to make a funerary urn for her.  She had lost her husband several yrs

earlier and had him cremated.  So I made a lidded cannister from about 10 lbs clay and put 4 small handles

on the upper body/shoulder of the vessel and a looped handle in the middle of the lid.  The idea was

so when the lid was on it would be laced on by passing the cord thru the shoulder handles and thru the handle

on the lid in a criss-cross fashion.  When it was still in the leather hard stage, I gave it to a woman who

carved, which she did some kind of nice geometric design around the mid-section and shoulder.

     The woman then told us that she was going to put it in her will, that after she was cremated, her remains

were to be placed in the urn, then her husbands ashes, and then a family member was to place the lid on and

SHAKE it! 

Good luck with the article.

Alabama

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Darcy Kane    28

I struggle a bit with the whole death thing.  I still have the ashes of one of my favorite dogs and just can't part with them; however, my dad was tossed from a plane asap, and my in laws were distributed at sea.  Go figure right?  So here is my present feelings on urns etc.  I'm all about the urns as a temporary holding cell (?) until loved ones can let go, but I find adding ashes to glaze horrifying!  I can't think of anything worse than having my ashes fused with glass for time eternal.  And what if the piece of pottery my ashes were affixed to should break?  Nope, I find the whole ashes/glazing creepy.  BUT this idea I think is way cool! http://www.luciapottery.com/urns/urns_biodegradable.php 

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TJR    359

I struggle a bit with the whole death thing.  I still have the ashes of one of my favorite dogs and just can't part with them; however, my dad was tossed from a plane asap, and my in laws were distributed at sea.  Go figure right?  So here is my present feelings on urns etc.  I'm all about the urns as a temporary holding cell (?) until loved ones can let go, but I find adding ashes to glaze horrifying!  I can't think of anything worse than having my ashes fused with glass for time eternal.  And what if the piece of pottery my ashes were affixed to should break?  Nope, I find the whole ashes/glazing creepy.  BUT this idea I think is way cool! http://www.luciapottery.com/urns/urns_biodegradable.php 

You mean that your dad's ashes were tossed from a plane, not your dad! Scared me there!

T.

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TJR    359

I have made several urns. I usually make two-one to be buried and one for the family.

I made two for my mom. she died in 2003. We buried one in her grave, and then have the other on a shelf.I like the idea of having somewhere concrete to visit, as in a grave sight.

The jars were 5 pounds of stoneware. I placed my mom in there myself. I then epoxied the lid on.. She should be good for about 2,ooo years.

TJR.

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TJR    359

 

  BUT this idea I think is way cool! http://www.luciapottery.com/urns/urns_biodegradable.php 

That link didn't work for me, but this one does:  http://www.luciapottery.com/urns/urns_biodegradable.php

 

There was a space at the end.........

 

I am going for permanence, not biodegradable. I would not want to drop one of those green urns full of ashes. The ashes are quite heavy. What if someone knocks Dad off the mantel?

TJR.

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Darcy Kane    28

I have made several urns. I usually make two-one to be buried and one for the family.

I made two for my mom. she died in 2003. We buried one in her grave, and then have the other on a shelf.I like the idea of having somewhere concrete to visit, as in a grave sight.

The jars were 5 pounds of stoneware. I placed my mom in there myself. I then epoxied the lid on.. She should be good for about 2,ooo years.

TJR.

So you split her up into two "pieces?"

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Darcy Kane    28

 

 

  BUT this idea I think is way cool! http://www.luciapottery.com/urns/urns_biodegradable.php 

That link didn't work for me, but this one does:  http://www.luciapottery.com/urns/urns_biodegradable.php

 

There was a space at the end.........

 

I am going for permanence, not biodegradable. I would not want to drop one of those green urns full of ashes. The ashes are quite heavy. What if someone knocks Dad off the mantel?

TJR.

 

The whole idea of the biodegradable urn is that it does break down quickly in the ground.  Dust to dust, ashes to ashes and all that.  The goal isn't to entomb the ashes for time eternal but to return the body to the earth.  

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Thank you all so much in continuing to write stories about urns, death and all that's going with it...

 

I too are struggling with the Death thing, Darcy, but I like to tackle it by writing the article. And Alabama: I like the SHAKE part. I want to be together with my husband too in an urn, and the shaking is only a mixing the ashes a bit better... Awwwww, it's so strange to write about all that. I always have a feeling of starting to giggle uncontrollably, out of insecurity and nervousness....

 

I have huge problems too with the ash glazes! I couldn't do that. And also with dividing the ashes. I want to get into an urn whole, (no pun intended), I mean ALL of my ashes, not just a part.

 

Keep the infos and your notions about this topic coming please! Thank you and kudos to you all.

 

Evelyne

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TJR    359

 

 

 

  BUT this idea I think is way cool! http://www.luciapottery.com/urns/urns_biodegradable.php 

That link didn't work for me, but this one does:  http://www.luciapottery.com/urns/urns_biodegradable.php

 

There was a space at the end.........

 

I am going for permanence, not biodegradable. I would not want to drop one of those green urns full of ashes. The ashes are quite heavy. What if someone knocks Dad off the mantel?

TJR.

 

The whole idea of the biodegradable urn is that it does break down quickly in the ground.  Dust to dust, ashes to ashes and all that.  The goal isn't to entomb the ashes for time eternal but to return the body to the earth.  

 

I know what the idea is.I know how long greenware lasts. I am going for eternity.

TJR.

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