I thought I could improve on this and set about designing and making unique, hand-built crematorium urns, that I hoped, in a discrete way, might celebrate life and be of some comfort to those who remain.
Each crematorium urn is made using the slow and considered technique of hand building. This method is the earliest form of pottery making and it feels natural for me to work in this way. Through it I feel a deep connection to the material and to our ancestors.
An interest in ancient standing stones, with their carved decoration and symbols, led to research into Neolithic burial mounds and consequently, to investigate the newly built barrows that have chambers with niches to hold crematorium urns.
The Long Barrow in Wiltshire is constructed in a similar way to those built in Neolithic times and was the first to be built in 5000 years. Some of my urns now rest in this barrow, a place for contemplation where people come together to remember loved ones, spend time and share memories.
More of these monuments are being built as people search for meaningful and alternative ways to commemorate the dead. In Warwickshire there is Mid-England Barrow while in Kent at The Lost Village of Dode, Holly Barrow nestles underground. Sacred Stones have barrows in Cambridgeshire and Shropshire.
I am a member of the Heritage Crafts Association, Northern Potters, the Good Funeral Guild and the Society of Bereavement Practitioners.