Losing a beloved relative is tough, and there's no easy way to go through the mourning process. But one artist is giving people a new way to memorialize the dead by turning their ashes into a mug that keeps their spirit with you every time you fill your coffee cup. The brains behind the dead relative mug is Justin Crowe, who uses conventional ceramic practices to create unique pieces that incorporate the cremains of his clients' deceased relatives. For this venture, Crowe created Chronicle Cremation Design, a company that can turn the dead's ashes into a mug, bowl, plate, or any other kind of ceramic creation.
Granted, the idea of repurposing ashes in a mug might not be everyone's cup of tea (I'll be here all week). But when it comes to making classic pottery, the use of bone ash is actually pretty standard. In most cases, potters use animal bones rather than human remains, but ultimately the same effect is achieved either way. And the way Crowe sees it, there's no more practical way to remember a loved one than by putting their remains inside of something that is as loved and cherished as a good cup of coffee or tea.
“Integrating someone’s ashes into ceramics is a way of infusing their memory into everyday life. So you can have coffee every morning with the memories of your grandmother, or have a bowl on the table to spark stories at family dinners,” Crowe said.
In fact, the impetus behind the ashes in a mug concept came as a result of an art project, for which Crowe created a set of tableware from human ashes and hosted a dinner party. As macabre as that might have seemed, it gave birth to an idea: For all of the people who were repulsed by Crowe's request on Craigslist for human ashes, more than a few people responded positively, asking him to create keepsakes from the remains of their loved ones.
Crowe's ashes-in-a-mug concept is far from the only novel way to turn ashes into art. The Memorial Tree Urn turns ashes into trees, and a number of companies can even turn ashes into diamonds. Not only are these concepts unique, they're usually much more eco-friendly than your typical casket burial. Plus, they cost a hell of a lot less, which as Adam Ruins Everything points out, means remembering the dead in a way that goes beyond a price tag.