Funeral Urns can be Artistic

Usually when we think of funeral urns we think of the traditional one that we’ve always seen. It’s usually made of bronze, or granite, or some sort of ceramic, and looks…well it looks like an urn. Not something that you would want to put on your shelf or have as a display piece on the mantle. However, with the rising popularity of cremation, it has in turn inspired artists to begin creating these beautiful pieces of art that don’t look like urns at all. From hand carved wood urns made from local hardwoods to Raku covered clay pieces. Each urn being a work of art and one of a kind.

The artistry that is put into each one of these works of art is incredible and requires an artist’s eye and skill. You can only talk about it so look below, because these you need to see to believe.

Copper Raku Funeral UrnCopper Raku Cremation Urn

This urn was done using a Raku style of firing. Raku is a style of clay firing where the clay is baked at over 1800 degrees Fahrenheit. Afterwards it is placed in a smoker with some different combustible materials, and the glaze reacts to the smoke and creates unique and interesting patterns and colors. Each piece reacts differently and creates beautiful designs and colors from the glazes.

Horse Hair Artistic Cremation UrnHorse Hair Funeral Urn

The style that this urn is done is very similar to the Raku style described above. The ceramic is removed from the kiln at 1200 degrees Fahrenheit, and horse hair is placed on it rapidly before it cools. The horse hair is burnt off leaving different dramatic carbon scorching mark behind. Each urn is then glazed several times to preserve the marks and how the hair lands and burns makes each urn unique.

Hand Painted Ceramic Artisan UrnHand Painted Ceramic Urns

Finally, this last one features an artistic painting on a ceramic urn. While closer to the more traditional urns, these style of urns can still symbolize something that your loved one cared for before passing.

We know that dealing with the passing of a loved one is a very painful and emotional time for everyone. During this sensitive time patience, empathy, and integrity are just as necessary as product accuracy, knowledge and efficiency. It is our honor and privilege to serve you and your family in this difficult time.

Celebrations of the Dead Around the World

While the passing of a loved one can be a somber affair, we also look to celebrate their memory and life while we grieve their passing. This is done in different ways around the world. However, no matter the culture we all look at celebrating the life along with paying our respects to those we have lost. Here is our look at some of these celebrations from around the world.

Halloween and the Saints

All-Hallows Eve, popularly known as Halloween, didn’t start off as a night to dress up, get candy, and have a good time while dressed as someone else. It’s origins date back to the ancient Celts celebration of Samhain. This celebration was done to celebrate the end of the harvest and was seen as when the boundary between our world and the world of the spirits became mutable, allowing spirits to cross over to our world. The wearing of costumes, holding parades, bonfires, and pranking is as ancient as the origins of this holiday. Interestingly enough, the wearing of costumes was originally to fool the spirits that crossed over into thinking that you were a ghost as well so you weren’t accosted by them. After the spread of Christianity, the Catholic Church absorbed the holiday of Samhain into it’s celebration of All-Saints day which was also known as All-Hallows, which the evening before was called All-Hallows Eve.

Which leads us to our next holiday of All-Saints Day and All-Souls Day. These holidays are some of the oldest holy days of the Catholic Church. All-Saints day was to pay respect and prayers for the souls of unknown saints and martyrs who gave their lives for the grace of god and the church. All-Souls Day is even more somber, as it is to pray for the souls trapped in purgatory, so their souls are cleansed of their earthly sins and they can ascend to heaven.

Obon, The Lantern Festival

Next, we have Obon, which is the Japanese Lantern Festival. This Buddhist tradition has been celebrated in Japan for over 500 years and is held every August for three days. During this time, it is believed that spirits pass over into our world, however, unlike Halloween, which sees the spirits as violent and mean us harm, the spirits that cross over during Obon are here to visit their relatives. Many Buddhists in Japan celebrate this holiday by preparing special food and drink for their ancestors’ spirits. These special offerings are placed at temples and shrines to honor the dead. When night comes, families light paper lanterns and hang them in front of their home to guide the spirits to their home. At the close of the festival, people light colored paper lanterns and send them down the rivers and bays of Japan out to sea. This is to help guide the spirits back to the afterlife until the next festival.

Los Dios de los Muertos (The Days of the Dead)

The Mexican cousin to All-Saints day and All-Souls Day, Los Dios de los Muertos is also celebrated on the first two days of November. Like Halloween, this holiday is also a blending of ancient cultures with Christianity and actually dates back to the Aztecs and Mayans. The Aztecs and Mayans festival of the dead was not a day or week long holiday, but actually went on for two months. During this two month period, the fall harvest and death were celebrated and honored. During this time, offerings in the form of food, alcohol, flowers, and ceramics were prepared for the deceased. The Aztecs and Mayans both believed that at the culmination of the festival, the dead passed back over to the land of the living to visit their families and loved ones they left behind. When the Spanish Conquistadors invaded and brought with them Catholicism, they tried to bring this festival under the auspices of All-Saints day and All-Souls day, which today are celebrated in Mexico as Los Dios de los Muertos.

During these two days, living relatives invite the recently deceased back to their family home to visit those who they’ve left behind. Family members will leave photographs of loved ones lost at their grave site or at a family altar along with food, drink, and flowers. This festival is especially important for those who have passed recently as it is a way to help with the grieving process. Additionally, the preparation of the family altar is an extremely important part of this ritual. The altar is usually adorned with flowers to symbolize the shortness of all life, along with sweets, fruits, and other foods. Additionally, the well known Calaveras also take their place on the shrine, these skeletons are depicted in different life poses, from cooking to playing in a mariachi band and are meant to be a reminder to celebrate the life the person lived and to bring a smile to the aggrieved.

Wherever you are from, everyone around the world celebrates the memories of the loved ones who have passed. It helps us grieve and helps us remember those of us who are with us in memory and spirit.

Fingerprint Jewelry: A Personal and Poignant Memorial

Fingerprints are like snowflakes, no two are the same. And when they are gone, there will never again be another. Capture the unique fingerprint or paw-print of a loved one as an enduring symbol of all that made them unique and special.

Okay, so lets say you’ve decided to have a piece of fingerprint jewelry created for you. Now what? Step number one is to capture a high-quality print. Remember that the detail of the finished piece of jewelry will be limited by the quality of the fingerprint provided. There are three ways to capture prints.

First, there is the good old fashioned ink print. Any black ink pad will work. Remember that a light touch with a moderate amount of ink produces the best prints. Take several impressions until you achieve the result you are looking for. To submit ink prints, scan them at the highest resolution you can, attach them to an email and send them to us.

The second method to capture a print is to use a digital scanner designed specifically for this purpose. Most funeral homes have these devices and are happy to take a print at little or no charge. The quality of the print produced by these scanners is very good. The scanner will produce a graphic file that can be emailed to us.

The third way to capture prints is by taking a high-resolution close-up photo. This is the best way to capture the paw-prints and nose-prints of pets. It does not work well for people prints. They lack the contrast necessary to separate the print elements from the surrounding area.

No matter how you take the prints, it is a good idea to send several options. The person who will be working with your prints is a skilled and experienced professional graphic artist and print making technician. They will pick out the print that will produce the best finished product.

We hope you have found this helpful. If you have any questions about personalized fingerprint jewelry please give us a call or shoot us an email.

We look forward to working with you!

What is Cremation Jewelry?

Death is not extinguishing the light; it is putting out the lamp before dawn has come.
– R. Tagore

Cremation jewelry, also known as memorial jewelry, is a beautiful and intimate way that people choose to memorialize a loved one. Cremation jewelry usually takes different forms, but is commonly done as bracelets, pendants, or rings. This jewelry is often worn or displayed and is becoming a popular option amongst the growing trend of cremation options available for memorializing loved ones who have passed. This is usually done when the family keeps a small portion of the ashes after the cremains are buried or scattered. Cremation jewelry is very similar to normal jewelry outside of an inner chamber, similar to a locket, to hold the cremains.

Cremation jewelry is usually prepared from different materials and can even include precious or semi-precious stones. Sometimes, you can even have the ashes made into different gems or colored glass as part of the jewelry. This jewelry can become a family keepsake to help remember the lost and even become an heirloom in time. Cremation jewelry itself has been around since the Victorian Era. In the 18th and 19th century, friends of the bereaved often presented gifts, such as memorial jewelry, or keepsake urns, featuring symbols of loss or the person’s birth and death date.

Memorial jewelry isn’t for everyone. For those looking towards this option, it is a unique way to keep those we’ve lost close to us not only in spirit, but also physically. However, the versatility of memorial jewelry is very high, you can choose to wear the piece or to display it, whatever you feel most comfortable doing. It is a much more unique way of memorializing your loved one than the traditional urn, and while some may not choose to memorialize someone this way, others find it as a beautiful and subtle way to remember those we have lost.

Whatever your choice may be, we at Memorial Gallery have many different options in how you can choose to memorialize the memories of those you’ve lost. Our caring staff are more than willing to help you through this tough time and will answer any questions and concerns you may have discreetly and with the utmost care.