You Can Get The Cremated Ashes Of A Loved One Turned Into Some Pottery

How does a mushroom omelet, sausage links, orange juice, and a side of "being reminded that we're all mortal beings who will one day die" sound for breakfast? Great, coming right up! Ceramics artist Justin Crowe creates functional objects using the cremated ashes of loved ones to insert a little mortality into everyday life. If you're craving a cup of joe, you can have it. Literally — a coffee cup made with Grandpa Joe.


There's no shortage of interesting ways to deal with the remains of a deceased friend or family member. Why go with a casket or cremation when you could turn a decomposing body into a tree, diamond, mushroom farm, or coral reef? Perhaps you'd rather get a tattoo of your beloved grandma, using ink mixed with your beloved grandma. Or, hell, just preserve one of her actual tattoos in a frame for your front room. Why stop there? New Mexico-based artist Justin Crowe is putting another option on the table by turning the deceased into various ceramic objects. Grief is weird.

Crowe got this maybe-morbid idea after an art project he called "Nourish." For it, he used the mixed ashes of about 200 people (bought from bone dealers who typically sell to medical professionals, students and oddity collectors) to make functional dinnerware. Crowe turned the bones into ash in a kiln, ground it up with mortar and pestle, and blended the fine ash into a liquid glaze used to coat the cups, bowls, and plates. According to his website, this series was "designed to infuse a sense of mortality into everyday moments. [...] It's inspiration to celebrate, share, and live full while reflecting on our very existence."

Bone Appétit

After he completed "Nourish," Crowe was approached about creating custom orders for people looking to memorialize their deceased loved ones in a new and certainly unique way. And just like that, Crowe's Chronicle Cremation Designs was born. Today, you can choose from a variety of forms you'd like ashes to be transformed into: coffee mugs, candle luminaries, jewelry, and china. Instead of feeling dejected by an empty seat at your breakfast nook, you can sip your morning tea with your passed-on family member in a different way.

If the thought of heating up leftovers on Uncle Phil makes you uncomfortable, that's not something that would surprise Crowe. He notes that especially in the U.S., death is a very taboo topic that often gets swept under the rug; it's not something we want to confront on the regular. He wants to put death out in the open, if only to normalize it.

"What's been really interesting about creating ceramic objects from the ashes of passed loved ones is that it allows the owner or the person who has the pieces to interact with them," Crowe told Inverse. "It integrates them into their daily life, rather than looking at a picture on a shelf or a cremation urn on a mantle. You now have this object that is very much a part of your life."

Ashes into Glass Jewelry / How It's Made

Written by Joanie Faletto September 18, 2017

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