Helen’s partner died suddenly several year's ago just as she herself was diagnosed with cancer. At this difficult time she wasn't ready to make a decision about how to deal with Phil's ashes – she just knew she wanted something very different from what was conventionally on offer, something to celebrate his life in a unique and personal way and a reminder of the time they had shared together.
Having scattered some of Phil's ashes in several locations which were special to the both of them and to their family and friends, Helen wanted the last of his remains to be in a place which had become significant to her following his death. As the final part of the grieving process, and in an attempt to find some closure to this life shattering event, Helen was looking for a sensitive and alternative way to disperse the ashes so she could move forward into a new stage of her life.
The Consultation & Design Process
An Elysium consultant and designer met with Helen and allowed her the time and space to talk about her loss and convey some of the personality, character and spirit of her partner. The brief was simple: something unique to remind Helen of Phil; understated, personal, contemplative and contemporary.
A selection of ideas was sketched up for Helen's approval and input based on the information conveyed at the original meeting: Phil had loved Beech trees, woodworking, walking, outdoor activities and nature, and she wanted to include the essence of those passions in his memorial.
The Making Process
A small beech wood container was turned by one of our Elysium master craftsmen, and carved with a semi-abstract design to represent the soft rolling hills of the West Country where they lived. Helen used the vessel to carry Phil's remaining ashes up to the top of a Dorset hillside which had become a special place to her since his death. A personal ritual of releasing Phil's ashes into the wind was Helen's intimate way of finally saying “Goodbye”.
This beech box then became the supportive base for Helen's commissioned hand blown glass bowl in blue, for his beloved Sheffield Wednesday, for the the sea and the sky, and bearing the moving inscription applied by our calligrapher and glass engraver “Into the freedom of the wind and sunshine, I let you go”.This unique commemorative memorial now sits on the windowsill of Helen's new home – a beautiful object in its own right; catching the sunlight as it streams through the south facing window, reflecting light and playing shadows into her sitting room.
"I appreciate greatly the time, care and thoughtful-ness given not only to the artwork but also to my emotional wellbeing throughout the whole process"
Helen tells us a little about her story on this Elysium film which includes makers discussing their work.