Shortly after Brecken
had died, I had commissioned my cousin to
make his urn. I thought it’d be more meaningful to have someone
make a personalized final resting place as opposed to buying something
manufactured and that every other Joe-blow who was cremated could be put in to.
This was my baby and he was going to have the best, even after death.
After my post about Mary Smith,
my cousin, along with her sister, decided to cut off all communication with me.
This also meant, that whatever progress she had already made on his urn, was tossed in the trash.
It’s shameful that they decided to support their mother in what she had done to me before and after
Brecken’s death. But I cannot convince them, nor will I put forth the effort. This was their
decision, and their loss.
With the bad, there usually is the good.
This opened the door for me to bust out another creative side of mine.
I began to search around the Appleton area, looking for a ceramic studio to work
in so I could make his urn myself. I began to go in a slight state of panic when I found
myself running into dead ends. The closest place I could get was taking a pre-made piece
at a local business and painting it. That was not up the ally I was going for. I’m not much of a painter,
but I can sculpt!
One day, my social worker, Amy,
who was with us while we were home with Brecken, called
me up to see how I was doing. We ended up talking on the phone for about an hour
and a half! One of the things I brought up was my desperate search for a ceramic studio. I
did not want to settle on something bought or something that could be a close second. This
piece needed to be of original work. It needed to have meaning behind it and not just
an after thought.
While at the reception part of
the Celebration of Life event, I was talking with Jayne,
the scheduling coordinator for the Visiting Nurses Association. She came
by our house one day to watch over Brecken while I took a shower. She was one of the
few who got to meet our sweet boy alive. She told me that Amy had spoken to her about
my desperate need for a ceramic studio. She told me that she will start working on
being able to find me a place. She said she would not give up until she did.
Just over a week later,
Jayne contacted me to let me know she found
a studio!! She said he was willing to donate any and all materials I needed
and offered his help should I have any need for it. I could not contain my excitement!
I felt sooooo relieved that Brecken was finally going to have his own little home to rest in!
Jayne gave me the gentleman’s name and phone number and said he was expecting my call.
I called him right away and we planned for me to start on it a few days later.
On May 7th,
I arrived at Rich’s home studio out in Neenah. He has a nice
little house nestled in a wooded area out in the country. His studio is a separate building, similar
to that of a garage. His studio is filled with tons of his own work, finished, unfinished, glazed,
not glazed etc. There was one ceramic wheel off to the side. That’s where I would begin.
Rich got me some clay, and let me have at it on the wheel. I screwed up the first one and had
to grab another hunk of clay. I screwed that one up too. The third one, however, was the charm. Rich assisted
me in achieving the right size and shape. Once it was completed, I set it aside and then Rich made me the lid to
go on top. (I have no skill in creating lids on the wheel so he did this for me) I was there for about a
total of 2 hours and then called it a day. The piece needed to dry a bit before I continued on with the next phase.
The next morning, I arrived at Rich’s studio.
When I walked in, I found not only the one I had completed, but the other
two that I had screwed up, except, the two I screwed up, Rich had fixed for me. He also made
accompanying lids. He told me I could work on all 3 and then when they were completed, I could choose
the best of the bunch to put him in. That day, I focused on putting the elephant on. This didn’t take super long.
I was there for only about 45 minutes tops. Once I was finished, Rich told me that he’d contact me in about
a week for me to come back and glaze it after he had fired it. He needed to wait until other pieces of his were ready
to fire as well.
A week later, Rich called me and
I went in to glaze. I didn’t want the urn to be oober fancy. I wanted it simple.
The elephant I put on it would be all that was needed to understand what that piece was about.
I glazed the entire pieces in this neat, slightly off-white glaze that had some specks in it for a more
textured look. I put a thinn coating of grey on the elephants and topped those off with a clear glaze.
To finish it off, I sprinkled some broken pieces of blue glass on the handle of the lid to melt into it..
Rich informed me it would be about another week until he was able to fire it for the last time.
Today, Rich contacted me to let me know my pieces
were ready. I arranged to pick them up at 12:30. When I arrived,
all three were waiting for me on his table. They turned out perfect. This is exactly
what I had envisioned in my mind of what I wanted it to look like. Rich packed them up in a
box for me and I asked if I could give him a hug. Once out of the embrace, I thanked him
even more from the bottom of my heart for allowing me the opportunity to do this in his studio.
(I thanked him TONS each and every day I worked on it, because I could not get over his generosity)
He told me he was more than happy to have helped me out and so glad Brecken will have a home.
So now, Brecken no longer
sits in the ugly, velvet, pull-string bag with the
morbid funeral home logo on it. He is now in his urn. That is his space.
I did not cry at the site of my finished pieces. I did, however, cry when I made space for him
on the shelf he had already been sitting on. It was overwhelming to see him in his urn, as opposed
to the bag. There’s a huge sense of relief and comfort from this too. It makes me so happy to see it!
Below, are the photos
I took during my progress. There’s a handful, and I hope you enjoy. =)
Phase One: Final Form
The lid Rich made
Phase two: Adding the elephants
Phase three: Bisque fired & ready to glaze
Broken pieces of blue glass filled in the indent of the lid handle
Brecken’s home =)
*The bottom of all three have Brecken’s full name, date of birth and his date of death.