In this unsolicited review, Lyrical Gypsy examines some of the ways art inspires people, even in their moments of grief and pain. Artful Ashes, a glassblowing company out of Seattle, WA, offers customers an artistic way to memorialize their loved ones by creating a one-of-a-kind glass keepsake to cherish forever.
The talented glassblowing artists at Artful Ashes found a unique way to incorporate cremated human and/or pet remains into a gorgeous work of art. Currently, the company makes glass hearts, orbs, and pendants, many with dichroic glass for various color accents. They also offer gorgeous pet keepsakes through their cousin company, Rainbow Bridge Hearts.
Summary of How the Artful Ashes Process Works
Customers send the company about a tablespoon of their loved ones cremated remains. They also choose the shape, color, and the personalized etching on the back of the keepsake, as part of the ordering process.
Then, in about four weeks, the customer receives the keepsake in the mail, along with several other goodies, and any remaining ashes.
Unfortunately, some countries prohibit the transportation of cremated remains via mail. In that case, Artful Ashes invites customers to visit their location, hand deliver the ashes, and observe the entire artistic process in person.
Prices range from $185 to $195 plus shipping, depending on what shape and style the customer chooses. The company also offers a discount for multiple orders at $145 per piece. But make sure to check the current prices on the company website or call before placing an order.
In this video, you can see the loved ones also taking part in the artistic process. The woman places some of her loved one’s cremated remains on the silver tray, and then the artist rolls the glass in the finely sifted dust.
“At first, I was focused on the process, then I noticed the loved ones were taking part in the process. Very touching. Thank you for sharing.” ~ R. Hicks
If You Can’t be an Artist, Be the Art
Most people choosing to use Artful Ashes’ services are those looking for alternative options besides scattering or burial. Or, they want to have an active part in their final arrangements. Many people have already added Artful Ashes to their legal wills.
Art like this gives the friend or family member a tangible, colorful keepsake they can physically see and hold in times of sorrow.
“Words are not enough to describe my feelings holding my daughter’s heart. Perfect.” ~ E. Jones
If art meant anything to the loved one during life, Artful Ashes is a beautiful, artistic way to memorialize their passion and help them leave an artistic legacy behind.
How Does Artful Ashes Inspire Others Creatively?
In just one post, Artful Ashes inspired several people to pursue their creative dreams in art and glassblowing. One follower wrote:
“Wish I worked there, to have the ability to make such a beautiful memoriam piece for the loved ones!!! What a gift to have!” ~ L. Glenn
The company inspires people to take an active role in their memorial plan. Lyrical Gypsy read countless requests from family members and friends to their loved ones asking to become art once they pass away.
One of my favorite requests came from a twin sister. She decided to hold deceased brother’s ashes until she passes. Then they’ll become art together. It was really beautiful to read some of the memorial wishes.
But perhaps the best part was reading all the creative ways people challenge Artful Ashes’ creations. Some shapes and designs people asked for were: baseballs for a little boy; butterflies for grandma; race cars for dad; a plant watering stick for mother; Superman figurines; and even dragons.
Others wanted to add special items to the glass such as, dried flowers, locks of hair, and even fingerprints. One girl even had her senior picture taken with a heart that represented her late brother. All the creative ideas were wonderful to read about!
A Time For Everything
Memorializing a person’s remains is not so much for the decedent as it is for the love one left to grieve. But most followers on Artful Ashes’ Facebook page agree to some extent that art like this makes the process of planning for death and working through grief more manageable.
“…your artists treat every work of art as if it is their own family member. Thank you for what you do for those of us grieving.” ~ Melodee K.
A lot of people noted that they wanted to make an artistic memorial for their loved one but struggled with the idea of separating with the ashes, even temporarily. Many people felt it was creepy to divide a loved one’s cremated remains.
“…I was taught to respect the deceased and treat the body or ashes with respect. Everyone is entitled to their opinion.” ~ G. Sturm
Unfortunately, for as many people who worry about separating with their loved one’s ashes there’s just as many people wondering what happens once the newness wears off. Is it a novelty piece? Perhaps, in the wrong hands it could be.
As seen with a lot of art, appreciation wears off. It’s significance is unknown or forgotten. And sometimes, beautiful artwork gets tossed into the trash, sold at garage sales, or donated to thrift shops.
One elderly woman’s comment nearly broke my heart:
“Beautiful…my family would just put me in a garage sale or it would get stolen…But wonderful for loving families.” ~ D. Miller
But while her concerns are valid, isn’t that pretty much what people do after a burial? It’s out of sight and out of mind, for the most part. Very few people return to a cemetery, except on special occasions.
“Beautiful. This is why I want to be cremated so my loved ones could have something as beautiful as this instead of going to a cold cemetery and being underground.” ~ P. Gallagher
Artful Ashes gives the decedent a permanent place in the loved one’s heart from the moment they lay eyes on the beautiful artwork.
And some final thoughts from a perspective customer:
“…better than putting all the ashes in the ground. You can still hug your loved one when you need a little love.” ~ J. Beasley