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Ashes to ashes

Categories: Architecture + Interiors, Art + Graphics, DIY + How To, Modern Decor + Objects, Sustainability

I have this friend who said that he didn’t care what happened to his ashes. Rather than debate the body and soul or sentimentality to cemeteries or urns – I instead thought of the most utilitarian thing one could have your ashes made into – a cinder block.

Photo by Matt Sigmon

Photo by Matt Sigmon

Ok, I got a laugh out of him, but ever since that day – I’ve been wondering what people want to happen with their remains, aside from the usual methods (burial, cremation followed by burying, scattering, keeping on a shelf, under a tree/bush/etc.).We’ve all heard of Ashes to Diamond and LifeGem, right? Make your loved ones into “gemstones” that are insanely expensive.

Gemstones made from Human or Pet Ashes

Gemstones made from Human or Pet Ashes

I keep my ears open and have heard people proclaim that they want to be scattered into cement and used for a building (actually this is quite common, although the location and purpose of the building varies greatly). I’ve heard all about the Ashes to Diamond and LifeGem alternatives, though these stones are more expensive than regular diamonds. I have seen all method of receptacles for wearing as adornment (rings, necklaces, earrings, wrist charms, keychains, watches, lockets, etc.) and also weapons (hilts of just about anything, including canes – if you consider those to be potential weapons).

Skull cane with secret compartment

Skull cane with secret compartment

I came across the Art of the Dutch Design Studio, Weiki Somers, along the way. The project “In Progress” involved using human ashes as a substrate for the 3D printing of “still lives” that “question the value of life and objects…using the visual language that can be found in 16th and 17th century vanitas paintings”. By using objects “such as fruit, flowers and insects that symbolize the meaninglessness of earthly life, the transcience of life, the futility of pleasure, and the certainty of death.”

detail of Consume or Conserve, 2010 from Weiki Somers Studio

detail of Consume or Conserve, 2010 from Weiki Somers Studio

The website is pretty limited (click on 2nd row 4th column {Consume or…}) or you can go to a plethora of websites talking about this project. DesignBoom has got more photos, the sketches, and a critical take.

Consume or Conserve, 2010 from Weiki Somers Studio

Consume or Conserve, 2010 from Weiki Somers Studio

I also came across the WebUrbanist article about using Body Parts and Fluids as Art Materials.

WebUrbanist Article about Body Parts and Fluids being used as Art Materials

WebUrbanist Article about Body Parts and Fluids being used as Art Materials

I know Body World’s Gunther Von Hagens would be featured and Marc Quinn, who uses his own blood to make a self portrait every 5 years, but the rest were new to me.

One Comment to "Ashes to ashes"

  1. this is really cool

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