New Mexico is home to many artisans specializing in pottery, and Justin Crowe’s Chronicle Cremation Designs is one after our own hearts. Or, more specifically, after our ashes. Made with the cremains of 200 people, Nourish is a dinnerware series “designed to infuse a sense of mortality into everyday moments.” Like many working in the death care industry, Crowe was inspired to create Nourish after his grandfather passed away at home instead of between the sterile walls of a hospital. “I watched that whole process,” Crowe said in an interview for Inverse. “There was something about experiencing a death and confronting this idea of mortality in a domestic space. I wanted to try to recreate that feeling. That’s what this functional dinnerware was supposed to do.”
Crowe’s experience echoes a monumental shift in traditions around death — or, at least, the beginnings of one. As the #deathpositive movement grows and people across the world host their own Death Cafes, it becomes clear that our current views around mortality and memorialization are sadly lacking. With ceramic glaze, Crowe is working to fill at least some of these gaps.
The Nourish dinnerware series is currently available for purchase through Chronicle Cremation Designs, where you can procure an 8-person dinner service or individual pieces: a bowl, dinner plate, whiskey cup, wine cup, and coffee mug. They would make a perfect accompaniment to your own Death Cafe, a charming receptacle for that everyday nightcap, or a delightful twist on the tradition of treating guests to the “fancy dishes.” Each Nourish item contains ashes from bones Crowe sourced specifically for this project; all have “their own previous lives and stories, distilled into their elemental essence. It’s inspiration to celebrate, share, and live full while reflecting on our very existence.”
After finishing the Nourish collection, Crowe was beset with requests from people wondering if he could make dishes out of their loved ones’ ashes. Since then, he has expanded Chronicle Cremation Designs to include products that transform ashes into functional memorial objects for the home. Options available include candle luminaries, ceramic mugs, and cremation jewelry, all coated with the ash-containing glaze Crowe perfected in his original project. It feels like a very natural transition: while Nourish plates and goblets make an excellent memento mori for the oddities collector, the appeal of and human need for memorial objects is considerably more vast. Chronicle hopes to “help you fold the memory of your loved ones into daily life,” offering a more holistic approach to death and mortality and easing the pangs of grief with keepsakes.
Learn more about Chronicle Cremation Designs, purchase items from the Nourish collection, and keep in touch via Facebook. If you are interested in commemorating a loved one with Crowe’s ceramics, visit the Chronicle memorial shop here.
All photos by STORYMAVEN Media.