Cremation Artist Joele Williams Wants You to Take the Ashes Out of the Urn
Why would a woman in the middle of her life seek out death on a daily basis? Well, I wanted to do something more meaningful with my life. My work has deep roots of empathy, connection and stories of life and love. This connection to people and creativity has been my healing. Far out weighing any sort of “Creepy” or depressing aspect. People are so fearful of death. Cremation Art actually gives us the chance to hold on to something more than a jar or urn. Why not take the ashes out of the urn and turn ashes into Art.
Cremation is becoming a popular alternative to traditional burials. Leaving many people with urns containing cremated remains. A jar of ashes on the mantle, or a box in the attic. Most people don’t know what to do with the ashes. You may have a scattering ceremony in a place that is meaningful to you. Many people may find it hard to simply pour the ashes of a loved one out onto the ground or into the sea. That requires letting go. Letting go is the hard part. Cremation actually just gives us the chance to hold on to something. Helping people through the journey of grief.
So how does someone become a“cremation artist”. Well, lets just say it came looking for me. I began working with cremation ash about 4 years ago when a friends father passed and he asked if I could make him something with ashes in my glass art. I felt a calling to make him some cremation jewelry for his sisters. I was amazed at what a challenge it was to work with the ashes and spent over 3 years studying cremation ash and it’s effects inside kiln formed glass by offering my service for free to family and friends.
Soon after my Mom passed away I stopped working with the ashes all together and felt unable to even look at hers. The grief I was going through was unexplainable. I had no interest in anything that had anything to do with cremation ashes. I was beginning my own journey through grief. In time I felt my mother calling me to make this cremation art with her ashes. After about a year I finally had the strength to make art with my mothers ashes. And through that process I finally understood how healing this craft I do can be for people. I knew then that not only could I do what I love, but maybe what I love doing could bring comfort and healing to others who have found grief from the passing of a loved one. I have always wanted to help people and what better way then to do it with art
The people who have come to me, they’re such amazing people, and as I weep for them, I also learn so much from them all the time, and their stories, No one has a cure for grief. Sharing my own experiences might be helpful and comforting, but mostly, it’s that someone is there for you in a non-judgmental, caring way. Helping you to memorialize their loved one through Art and the human connection.
The idea of using human remains to create art can be super creepy to some people. Most people don’t even want to view the body, fearful of death . This is the very reason why I don’t usually mention that I am a Cremation Artist. People don’t want to think about death. The look on peoples face when you tell them that you make art from cremains is one of discomfort and confusion. I really want to change that.
I want people to rethink what they can do with the ashes. They don’t have to hide inside the urn or in the closet anymore. Cremains are just breathtaking when trapped inside glass. People feel good knowing they honored their loved one in a beautiful way. This is the reason that I became a Cremation Artist. Not everyone can turn human remains into a work of art. Not everyone can be a spirit guide or “Capture the Last Breath”. I want to encourage people to look at the urn in a new way. Lets take the ashes out of the urn and shine the light through them. They are beautiful. This is the“Art”of grieving.
In the 8 years I have been a professional artist I have always thought that I was following the right path. And now I know.