Cremation is becoming more and more popular in the UK, with around three-quarters of all funerals involving cremation rather than a traditional burial. But what can you do with cremation ashes afterwards to make a poignant and personal tribute to your loved one?
While many people choose to scatter the ashes, others choose an urn for cremation ashes, either to store in a columbarium or to keep at home. This is actually an ancient practice, dating back to the Romans and even earlier, but the beautiful and modern designs of many contemporary urns for sale are far from old-fashioned or conventional.
Check out these wonderful and unusual urns from Etsy, each one hand-crafted by dedicated artisans for a truly unique and special memorial.
If you’re inspired by these stunning designs, remember that your funeral director can help you get in touch with artists and manufacturers to find the perfect funeral urn for your loved one.
A beautiful porcelain Ashkeeper
Made from high fired porcelain, these spherical Ashkeepers were carefully designed by Australian artist Ashley Fiona. “I am passionate about embracing mortality and celebrating memories through my artwork,” she says. “An Ashkeeper is designed to do just that.” The lid of the Ashkeeper can be turned over to make a candle holder for special moments when you want to take the time to reflect. Ashley Fiona also takes commissions, should you have a particular design in mind.
A smooth and organic Pebblewood Urn
British artist Davina Kemble individually handcrafts each of these stunning Pebblewood Urns from wood. The urn has a wonderfully smooth, flowing form that, says Davina, reflects the rings of a tree and the cycle of life. Thanks to the wood’s natural variations, each Pebblewood Urn is as individual and special as the life it will commemorate.
Lovingly-crafted creature urns from Laina Watt
These colourful cremation urns are inspired by Ancient Egyptian canopic jars, used in the sacred ritual of mummification. Also drawing on animals from mythology, literature and pop culture, Sussex sculptor Laina Watt’s wonderful creations include a mythical phoenix (left) and the iconic Godzilla (centre). Intricately handmade, with hours of hard work and attention going into each one, these urns are charming and special.
A perfectly polished woodturned urn
Phil Irons hand-picks salvaged wood and gives it a new life as incredible urns for ashes. Through a process of woodturning and polishing, Phil brings out the natural features of the wood, making each urn completely unique. For some pieces, such as the Spalted Beech companion urn (left), Phil uses only a polished lacquer finish, whereas for other pieces he uses dyes and stains to enhance the organic patterns of the wood.
Custom lifestyle urns
These bold and bright creations from family business Custom Urnsrus are created in Illinois, USA. Made from solid cast aluminium, these custom designs cover all kinds of hobbies and lifestyles, from bikers and racers, to military and religious themes. Mike Darabaris and his team can help you with any ideas you have, no matter how unusual, and they ship worldwide.
A one-of-a-kind vibrant skull urn
This cube-shaped urn is truly unique, as artist Leandra Holder has only ever made two of these dazzling cremation urns, with only one for sale. Made with porcelain, dichroic glass and Swarovski crystals, this creation will certainly stand out as a memorable tribute. Even if you’re too late to snatch up this particular work of art, it shows that anything is possible when it comes to urns for your loved one’s ashes.
Stylish Raku urns
Dodero Studio Ceramics is run by John Dodero, who has been making ceramics since the 1970s, influenced by Native American art and Japanese Raku pottery. He uses thick or ‘fat’ glazes to create the crazed and cracked effect that makes these urns so eye-catching. The Raku cremation urns for ashes are available in dozens of different colours.
Custom pottery with a special message
These custom pottery urns from Vitrified Studio come in an array of glaze colours, with a handprinted custom message. Artist Shelley Martin makes these beautifully simplistic urns from her home-based studio in Portland, Oregon, and describes the style as “minimal modern utilitarian” pottery. Each urn is made to order, so you’ll know that you’ve got a piece of handmade art made especially for your loved one.
A handcrafted solid wood urn
Based on the shores of Lake Quinault, Washington, Quinault Woodcrafts has been making solid wood cremation urns since the 1980s. The urn pictured is handmade from myrtlewood, Douglas fir and mahogany, creating a multi-tonal look. Custom engraved brass plates are also available to mark your loved one’s name.