Friday, June 30, 2006

Dust to dust ,ashes to vase

A potter is using human ashes to create hand-made memorial vases for people who have cremated their loved ones. Neil Richardson, from Carmarthen, mixes a small amount of the remains into a glaze to decorate the commemorative containers.

It is based on an ancient Japanese technique called raku and he first had the idea when looking for a way to remember his father when he died. He and his business partner have started a company offering the service.

While there are businesses that use human remains to create glassware and even jewellery, Mr Richardson and his partner Peter Coates say their company Here In Spirit is different.

"We will send you out a little package for you to put the ash in and return," he explained.

"I hand grind the ash to a very fine consistency and then carefully it is mixed in with the glaze and then it is applied to the pot."
The effect is created by using a process called copper fuming.

"One of the things that I loved about it were the swirls and flame like distortions you get on the outside of the pot that give a kind of spiritual effect," he said. "With my father's ashes I made a cylinder because it typifies my father - he was a very tall, upright man. When it came out I really loved it and there were certain parts of the swirls that really reminded me of him. It means that you have a piece of art that also doubles up as something to commemorate someone by."

He appreciated the idea would not appeal to all, but said many people he spoke to thought it a better way to remember their loved ones than keeping their ashes in an urn.

"I find urns quite morbid in many respects because they are usually very Victorian looking, so I wanted something that you could put on your mantlepiece, but you don't have to tell anyone what it is unless they ask. Peter was actually my first customer. His mother had passed away and he is so pleased with it. It's in his house, he sees it everyday and it does exactly what he wants. It reminds him of his mum but it in a nice way. People's views in this country are changing. When researching it we found a lot of people were looking for alternative styles of burial and alternative styles of bereavement. Attitudes are changing - people are more open about it."


yellowdog granny said...

hmmm. im still working on a fine ash made from husbands ashes that the widow can use as a duche....

dom said...

You'll have to dig them up from under the patio to do that ? hehehehe