Designing and Making a Garden Urn
When families or friends lose a loved one and receive the ashes from the funeral director or crematorium, it can take a long time to decide what to do with them, it is a big decision to make!
Do they scatter them or keep them?
Divide them up or keep them complete?
If kept, where and in what?
Many people procrastinate over these questions among others for years, in the meantime their loved one remains in the wardrobe.
Of course, others may know exactly what they want and get straight onto making arrangements. As with everything in life, we are all different and deal with situations in our own way that feels right for us, and that’s exactly how it should be.
In the past it seemed like the choices were limited to whatever the funeral director offered, but with the rise of the internet, all that has changed.
There is a huge range of urns out there for keeping the ashes indoors or outdoors, or for burying the ashes to bio-degrade. They are available within every price bracket, mass produced and handmade.
We are finding at Elysium Memorials that more and more people are opting to find a way to keep the ashes safe in the garden, in the form of an outdoor urn or a garden memorial sculpture.
This makes sense in a couple of ways:
It relates more to the traditional idea of putting a memorial in a cemetery or churchyard.
It keeps the ashes close to home, without them being within the house.
A well designed sculpture to hold the ashes can look wonderful as a garden feature, as well as being a poignant reminder of someone.
As more people opt for keeping the ashes in a garden urn rather than scattering them, designers have to come up with products that can do the job. This is actually quite a difficult task.
They have to be watertight and weatherproof and incredibly robust to last outside. This narrows the materials you can use to make an outdoor urn quite considerably.
You have to be able to put the ashes in and maybe take them out again.
A full set of ashes is quite a volume, so there has to be quite a large void to house the ashes.
We have made several different garden memorial sculptures and outdoor urns at Elysium over the years, and they definitely seem to becoming a more and more popular way to mark the life of a loved one.
The Bronze Pebble Urn we make at Elysium fits all the criteria perfectly. It is a lovely small and discreet sculpture to have in any garden. It is almost indestructible, bronze is the strongest of all materials used for outdoor sculpture. The pebble is cast in a bronze foundry in Somerset by incredible craftspeople. The process of casting bronze is very lengthy and complicated, requiring great skill and knowledge. The finished piece holds a full set of ashes and is of superb quality.
Sometimes we are asked to design a sculpture to keep an urn of ashes inside it. This again is a tricky brief, as the standard urns from a funeral director are quite a size. The void required to house the urn is thus, relatively large. Often a space is made in the base of a sculpture, or as with our Beehive Portland stone garden sculpture, within the body of the sculpture itself. It looks like a house for bees, but infact it is a home for ashes and a lovely garden memorial.
Our favourite thing to do at Elysium is to design “unique” memorial garden sculptures, inspired by the person they represent. Ideally we will meet the client to chat to them and really get a feel for the person they have lost. If this isn’t possible emails and phone calls can work just as well. Once we have done our research, we begin to design a sculpture specially for them. Ideas go backwards and forwards until we have something the clients are absolutely happy to go ahead with.
There is something wonderfully satisfying about seeing a well designed and well made piece of garden sculpture, that is also imbued with such personal meaning. We try to use symbols and themes in the sculpture that reflect the person as well as being an aesthetic part of the artwork.
Each sculpture we design and make has two sides:
A poignant reminder of a loved one.
A work of art of the highest quality in design and manufacture.
If we manage to achieve both of these, we have truly succeeded in what we set out to do as a company, nothing could be more satisfying for us.