Memorial Keepsakes with Ashes &/or Hair

Memorial or remembrance resin pieces are very sentimental. Creating memory pieces is such a beautiful & precious way to help loved ones keep their memories close. While it may not be for everyone, there are many people who cherish having such a special memento.

Suggesting, and working with these pieces is a very emotional process for all involved. Be prepared it can also be emotional for the artists, even when working for people they may not know.

Some things to keep in mind for consideration: If a customer asks for jewelry such as a pendant or ring (for example), some (not all) keepsake artists have a policy of making multiple casts (not finished pieces) so the client can choose, and then they return all casts (including failures) to the client.

Many keepsake artists are not comfortable with disposing of anything as sentimental as leftover cremation ash, hair (or umbilical cord or BM etc) memory type items. This sensitive topic should be discussed in detail, and agreed upon with client, ahead of accepting any projects.

Some people may ask to add something special to the piece as well. Be sure that is determined prior to beginning and quoting work, so you know the full scope of the job. Also check that added item(s) will not be ruined or disappear in the resin curing process. Some items may need to be presealed/primed. Some people may want a piece made with a photo of loved one or pet. Items like photos do need to be presealed, and we always recommend using a copy, never use the original photo.

Maybe create a check list that helps both the customer and you, since it's such an emotional item, it is easy to forget or overlook something that might be very important, that can not be changed once casting is created.

Some people tend towards preferring transparent pieces (using tints or alcohol inks, but be aware alcohol inks can/do fade since they are not lightfast), with some iridescent type glitter or type of flakes. We have numerous colourfast transparent tint options. Transparent is not always desired by customers, & of course any colours can be used. Another common mix is white or pearl white mica, then add roughy half a teaspoon of ashes for smaller pieces.

While a casting resin is most commonly used for these type of projects, a top-coating resin may be used if artist is familiar with the resin. This also depends on the type of project being made.

Tips to know for beginners:

Mix a fair amount ash till it forms a kind of paste (when going lighter on the ash or cord it can tend to sink and distribute unevenly).

Be prepared, human ash looks kind of like grey gravel (& may or may not come to you pre-sifted). Discuss with your client if they'd prefer to use as is, or sifted for the creation.

Fireplace ash is a totally different consistency.

Sand has a more similar consistency to human ash.

It’s always a good idea to do some test casts with just sand first if you’ve not worked with ash remains before.

Some people are okay to have ashes or hair directly put into the jewelry piece, some prefer to have the ashes or hair set into a tiny type urn or glass enclosure that is then cast into the resin piece. Sometimes families have someone put ashes in to a tiny locket type urn prior to contact with the resin artist.

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