US Artist Makes Dinnerware from Human Ashes
07 November 2016
Some people prefer to scatter the ashes of loved ones into the air, other keep them in an urn over the fireplace. But, one US artist has come up with a new way to remember your dead relatives... he makes cups, plates, bottles, and mugs from their ashes.
Justin Crowe, the founder and CEO, based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, has launched a range of custom ceramic dinnerware glazed with the cremated ashes of dead loved ones.
Mr. Crowe mixes cremated human ashes into a glaze which he uses to coat bowls, vases, candle holders, coffee cups, urns and other ceramic items.
“I wanted to create a dinnerware set that infuses a sense of mortality into everyday life,” he said, explaining that he bought human remains from bone dealers (who typically sell to medical professionals, students and oddity collectors) and then turned them into ash in the kiln before grinding them up with a mortar and pestle. He then mixed the powder into a glaze.
Crowe believes that using his mugs is “much different” from just “looking at a picture of someone on a shelf or looking at an urn on a shelf”.
“This is a mug you can use every day,” he says.
“The cremation industry has risen 25 percent over the last 10 years and in the US right now the average... 42 percent of all deaths are cremated. The funeral industry is really struggling right now, because they make their money off of caskets, selling caskets, burials, embalming and services.”
“We help you fold the memory of your loved ones into daily life. Our unique service transforms your loved one’s ashes into remarkable design objects for your home,” the website says.
A typical adult human body will generate between 1.8kg (4lb) and 2.7kg (6lb) of ash, and Crowe needs just 100g of it to create the custom glaze. The ash isn’t visible in the final product, but melts in the kiln to become part of the glass coating on the pottery. Crowe charges $399 to create the custom glaze plus between $159 and $649 for each pottery object.
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