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funeral urns-longish

updated mon 30 may 05


Rhonda Kale on sun 29 may 05

Hello all-
I found the thread on funeral urns interesting-I have done several-people and pets.
My son is a Methodist Minister and while he was getting his Divinity degree, he was in charge of a small parish which was in the country. He called one day and asked me if I would help him out. He said that he had a lady in his church whose situation was very bad. She was dying of breast cancer and the families resources were literally down to nothing. They had no idea what was going to happen when she died as far as arrangements. They ulitmately decided to cremate but the urns that the funeral home offered were really high. He called to see if there was any way that I would make her an urn. This really was a bad situation, so I did the urn.
People underestimate how much ash there is when this is done. This lady was still a very large person even after the ravages of illness and her urn was about 18-20" high and we did it in the classic 'ginger jar shape.' Due to the urgency and speed of the need, I used a slip form. And actually it was a form for a rather large lamp. Because the lid and body were of one piece, we did a platform piece and when the funeral home unceremoniously chunked the bag to my son (NO JOKING-freaked him out at their callousness) they put the remains in the urn and epoxied it shut. The urn was mauve, with butterflies and flowers on the panels and I sculpted a butterfly for the top of the jar. This woman loved butterflies and when she became ill they took on new meaning as a symbol of rebirth. The jar could have been considered by some to be a bit, ummm, gaudy by some fine art standards, but it was what she wanted. When my son took it to the husband, he cried openly. He couldn't believe that someo
ne would have cared enough to do that for them. Son said that he kept saying it was so pretty she would have liked it while she was alive.
For pets, most Veterinarians have a place that they do business with that will do the cremation. M-in-law's late chihuahua, Little One, aka "Booger" is in a jar about 7 inches high. Trudy the late Schnauzer is in an urn bigger in diameter and about 9" high.
Friend had German Sheperd big dog mix and it was the same size as human.
For those who never thought about it, there is a market out there for this service. People love their pets and consider them their "family." It might be an avenue to pursue by contacting local veterinarians. My best friend who is 92, has asked me to do his jar for the service-after which he will be sprinkled somewhere. He is a collector of Wedgewood and Blue Delft-I hope I do his urn justice.....
Oh yes-and before anyone makes the comment-ewwww profiting off of death. You are providing a needed service. For those who don't know, I am also a classically trained soprano (3 1/2 octave range). It paid for college and I still sing choirs, do occassional weddings. But what I also do is sing on call for a local funeral home. Yes, I am paid. The modern version of the ancient Greek Chorus of mourners. But I provide the family a service-I am professional in my dress, personae, and strive to do a good job.Music speaks to the heart and in many cases it allows family to get in touch with each other, to greive and express what they feel.Then I know that I have done a human service of kindness.
Would I do more jars? Yes-it is not something everyone can do. But those who have commented on it are right. There is inherently something more right about using something created out of love and human caring than a $1000 profit for some mass-produced cold metal urn.
"Ashes to ashes, dust to dust...." Something poetic about resting back in the arms of the (clay) earth.....
Just my 27 1/2 cents worth.....

Rhonda Kale
31.23595 N, 85.40529 W
Potters Council Member