My First Urn

 My love for ceramics began when I was seventeen years old. I had just moved back in with my mother and stepfather. She was already taking ceramic classes and I really loved the work she was doing. To create mother and daughter quality time, I joined my mom and went to the lessons with her. 

 At that time, we were living in the quaint little town of Port Hope, Ontario. The ceramic classes were in the neighbouring town of Cobourg. I loved going to Cobourg because it was where I spent much of my youth growing up. It is a beautiful town with a popular beachfront overlooking Lake Ontario. 

 The ceramic shop was tucked away on a side street. I enjoyed opening the door, causing the little bells to chime and announce our arrival. Everyone at the tables would pause for a slight moment to look over at the door and have a curious peek as to who had just arrived. The workshop was usually super warm from the lingering heat of the kiln. One area of the shop was designated for all the greenware. The rows of shelves displayed all kinds of greenware ornaments, statues and dishes. There were plenty of traditional garden gnomes carrying water cans, pushing wheelbarrows, or were smelling flowers. Holiday decor of Christmas trees, Halloween pumpkins and Thanksgiving serving dishes were always in stock. I began my craft of ceramics by practicing on a skull mug, an ashtray, and Care Bears. 

 For two years, my mother and I enjoyed our weekly classes together. I was quite surprised and impressed with my mother’s artistic skills. It seemed I’d inherited some of her passion for the art. The last piece I did at that time was what I called ‘my urn’. It wasn’t exactly an ‘actual urn’, but rather a decanter. The clay imprint was of a First Nations Chief standing in prayer on a cliff in the mountains. I used the decanter itself to represent the Great Spirit. Therefore, the majestic scene of the chief and the mountains became the belly of the Great Spirit. 

1985. My first urn.

 In hindsight, it makes a lot of sense that I would create such a thing. From a young age, I’ve sensed the power of nature and the presence of the elements. As a child, I was fascinated by the spirituality of the natural world. The urn idea was most likely influenced by my father. By the time I was nineteen, he and my stepmother were then working in the business of body removal services. It was through their work that I began to see all aspects of the death industry in an entirely new light. I was not permitted to go to the scene of a death, but I did have the opportunity to go to the hospital cold storage units or the crematorium. Due to my spiritual background and ability to perceive spirits, I began to see the importance of beauty and uniqueness in a casket or urn. For the next twenty years, I felt the calling of creating these urns, but for unclear reasons or excuses I could come up with, I dismissed the calling. 

  I no longer dismiss the calling. 

We’ve all read the stories of people being buried in Cadillacs, etc., but for the average person, the cost of such a thing would be prohibitive. Imagine if your husband loved Cadillacs that much, and you were able to provide an urn which looked like a Cadillac or even just a logo. We could provide an opportunity for them to bury or contain the ashes of their loved one while acknowledging the uniqueness of their life and personality, without taking every cent they have. I believe it is important to provide a service that not only reflects the uniqueness of our clients, but also the values from which this company was created, thus: personal expression, respect and compassion.

Greetings

Have you ever reached that moment when you realized it was time to stop avoiding your calling? Did you think your ideas seemed ludicrous? Maybe you thought the idea was “too big” and you’d never be successful. Perhaps someone close to you talked you out of taking those first steps towards what had been calling you forward. Or it could be that you just weren’t quite ready yet to make a long term commitment. For me, it was all of those things. For so many years I traced the outskirts of my calling with ‘what ifs’. Then the day came when I asked myself, ‘what if’ I actually fail because I never truly began. That thought, that idea was more disturbing than any of the things that had originally held me back.

Therefore, Welcome to my new endeavor as I embrace my calling. My company is Forget~Me~Not Studios and the blog Urning a Living is my platform for sharing this journey. As I create unique, personalized urns, I will also be embracing my love for travel, writing, and exploring how different cultures use their own traditions to celebrate their dead, and bring comfort to those left behind.

And so it begins…..