Cremained Ashes in Glass Jewelry

- Photo courtesy of Visions By Heather -
 
 
How Cremains in Glass came about.
My aunt, uncle, and cousin, Karen, Jon, and Emily Quarles were tragically killed in a senseless shooting in Appomattox, Virginia on January 19th, 2010. They were three of eight victims. This is the most devastating incident my family has ever been through.

They were cremated together and the cremains were split between the two sides of the family. I asked for some of the ashes because I wanted to see if I would be able to incorporate them into glass as part of my personal healing process. The first try was the hardest because I couldn't even see through my tears to make out what I was doing. After a few tries, I was able to do it.

I had my brother and uncle to my house for a guys weekend of mountain biking and glassblowing. I helped them to make their own orb with the cremains as we grieved and shared stories. They each took their orb home and later visiting their separate houses, I noticed that they had both placed them on their mantle, able to remember our loved ones with each glance.

My grandmother had an idea that she would commission me to make necklaces for the women in my family with three colors representing a rainbow that we spotted in a cloudless sky the afternoon of their wake that only had three colors. We all knew it was a sign from them, as there were only three colors, and at that moment we all knew they were alright.

Well, I decided to take this project a step further and incorporate their cremains into the beads I was making for the necklaces. I even made a necklace for my cousin Meghan that she could wrap into her bouquet so that her mom, stepdad, and sister could truly be at her wedding. I didn't know if she had really done this until I saw her wedding pictures and noticed it in her bouquet.

Coming up on the 12th anniversary of my wife's mother's death, she asked me if I would make her a necklace with her mom's ashes we have in an urn in our curio cabinet. I made her a beautiful necklace that she wears all the time. She wears it to work and when people comment on how beautiful it is, Crystal not being shy, tells them that her husband made it with her mom's ashes. She has had coworkers ask if she thought I would make them a necklace with their loved ones ashes. One coworker even wanted me to make a necklace with her dog's ashes. I couldn't believe all the requests and all within a couple of weeks.

I went to our family beach house with my dad's side of the family and I told them what I had done for the women in my mom's family. I also told them about the requests I was getting from Crystal wearing her necklace to work. Then, never in a million years would I imagine this coming from my mother's mouth; she said "You should start a business". It was at that moment things started falling into place almost effortlessly. It only makes sense to me and everyone I tell. Doubt has never entered my mind. It seems as though I am meant to do this in memory of my aunt, uncle and cousin.

Two months later and here I am, ready to share this beautiful alternative I have found. For others to hold their loved ones in their hand, illuminate from beneath on their mantle, or wear them secretly or openly around their neck or wrist. Remembering all of the great memories they shared and the lives they may have created. To show them how something so sad, tragic or devastating can be turned into something so beautiful.