Original Stupa - Sept. 2000
Making bespoke biodegradable urns is the culmination of a lifetime's passion for drawing, painting, printing and making things, an unbounded curiosity about the myriad art and craft techniques, love of nature and belief in the significance of ritual in all aspects of human life.
I didn't think up making eco-urns - it was a friend's idea. Over twenty years ago she asked me to make a biodegradable urn for the ashes of a Buddhist who, true to the principles of non-violence by which he lived, wished his ashes to be buried with least harm to the environment. His friends and family wanted the urn to be in the form of a stupa.
It was a challenge to make sure that all the materials used for this architectural symbol were compostable, down to the very last drop of glue. As well as it being a delight to make, I was touched to find that the urn had very much enhanced the ritual of this green funeral.
This has been my inspiration for offering the service to others.
All the materials used are carefully selected to be toxin free, organic and compostable to respect the environment, earth or water, into which the eco-urn will be placed. Over time, they break down naturally and harmlessly.
Where possible, materials are also recycled: unbleached paper and cardboard packaging, print free. Combined with wallpaper paste they form the base structure.
Out on walks, I collect leaves and flowers to press, shells and berries. It is still possible to source cotton and hemp string, earth colours and shellac.
The swing towards green products has made VOC free glues, casein paints and water based varnishes readily available.
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