Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Keepsake Jewellery for Ashes Questionnaire

I was approached this week by a lady from Goldsmiths University of London who is doing a degree in Anthropology and Media. One of her courses at the moment is 'Anthropology and the Visual' and this year she has been asked to base her projects on the theme of 'The Body'. She has chosen to think about the boundaries and limitations of the body after death, focusing on the subject of creating something out of ashes.

Keepsake pendant for ashes
Keepsake pendant for ashes


She was hoping that I could answer some questions concerning my Keepsake Jewellery for Ashes which she would be able to include in her report. I am always glad to help and share my experiences so here are the questions and my answers!

When did you first start offering this service of preserving ashes inside the jewellery?

I hadn’t thought of offering a service encapsulating ashes until someone rang me to ask if I could do it. It must have been a few years ago now, but when I was asked, I felt so honoured to have been approached in the first place, I couldn’t turn down the honour so I provided the service. It has been a big part of my work ever since.

Why did you choose to offer this service?

Preserving ashes is such a personal thing. It gives me a real sense of pride and humility knowing I have helped a family in some way help their grief at what is such a sad time for them. Knowing they have that small part of someone special with them gives me such a warm feeling, and the families are always so grateful for my help, it is humbling.

Memorial cufflinks for ashes
Memorial cufflinks for ashes


Have you noticed a rise in the amount of people interested and requesting this service?

Absolutely. I hadn’t realised what a popular service it would be, but I am happy that people feel they can come to me and ask. I treat every order as such a precious and personal thing. At the end of the day, you are being trusted with someone very special, so you want to make the family proud.

Do you think this way of preserving ashes is more personal than using the ashes to create, for example, a diamond?

I do actually. There are some very interesting ways of treating ashes, but I think preserving ashes this way is so unique and special, and it is often in ways that mean people can take their special momentum everywhere with them such as the pendants I offer.

Personalised keepsake jewellery for ashes
Personalised keepsake jewellery for ashes


Do you think the jewellery you produce, and other similar (for example, making diamonds for rings out of ashes) help the grieving process, disallows people to truly ‘let go’ of their loved ones?

Grief is a delicate process. People deal with the loss of a loved one in many ways. A lot of the families I have worked with have been so happy that they have their special something and I really do think it helps the process of grieving. It’s not about letting go, it’s about remembering the good things, and often that’s what my jewellery evokes in people. That is something very special.

The idea of using ashes for jewellery (and other objects) is still arguably a taboo situation; do you think it will become more common over time?

I don’t think it is as taboo as people think. There used to be a time where I think most of us would have thought it was odd. A lot of people had ashes in containers from their loved ones on the mantle-piece. Now it is more commonplace to want to do more than just scatter ashes somewhere special. That is of course, a wonderful thing for those who want to do that, but I also think people don’t feel that it is strange to want to keep a part of someone with them. It feels very natural for a lot of people and I think it is a lovely way of just having something you treasure from someone you loved right there when you feel you need it.

Custom made paperweight for ashes
Custom made paperweight for ashes


Any other comments or points you would like to add...

I always feel privileged to work with the people I do, and make my jewellery and keep sakes knowing the joy and happiness it will bring people. It’s always a personal thing for me, and I love that I can provide the service for people.

Mick

2 comments:

  1. That's a great interview Mick. I must say the personal service you give is second to none, and the memories from what you create for us help to bring a smile throughout the sadness.

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    Replies
    1. Yes the personal service is extremely important and is something that us makers of handmade crafts can give (unlike a lot of the high street shops!).

      Mick

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