Having a loved one’s head and shoulders on display forever may sound eerie, but keep in mind, busts have historically been used as memorials for centuries.
Cremation containers do not have to be the classic vase-type urns we’ve seen in black and white movies. There are many options for personalization available at Phaneuf Funeral Homes and Crematorium. There are a variety of styles, colors and materials available, as well as the option of having some of the cremated remains inserted in a piece of keepsake jewelry or even using part of the remains to create glass artwork.
Having the remains of a loved one nearby can be a source of comfort. Many people find themselves speaking to their loved one near the cremation urn or item with the remains. Jeff Staab, who operates the site Cremation Solutions, saw personalization of urns with photographs and artistic etchings and decided to take it one step further.
His company uses photographs – a profile and portrait preferred – to have a head designed and printed that resembles the deceased. The cremated remains are stored inside the head. Cremation Solutions uses high-resolution photos to design a 3D image. The customer approves the 3D rendering and then the polymer urn is created on a 3D printer, complete with full color. Then, the head/bust is attached to a marble base that has a threaded plug in the bottom of the urn. Staab said the plastic and stone will last many years.
The full-size head urn is $2,600.
Staab admits the full head urn is not one of his most-popular items. “They look too real and creep people out!” he said. Staab added that customers generally keep these urns put away so they don’t scare visitors.
Another cremation container option – one that may not be as startling at first look – are custom figure urns to memorialize loved ones. These are also created using a couple photos of your loved one to have the facial features recognized by the 3D design software. The hair will be sculpted as well. Wig options are a possibility, too. The 12-inch finished product is similar to a poseable action figure and can be customized with different clothing options.
Staab said the figures are popular with those who want to honor a veteran with a likeness as a figure. A small portion of the cremation remains are placed inside the head of the figure. The figures start at $175.
Thumbprint jewelry is another keepsake option that has been growing in popularity for Phaneuf and Cremation Solutions. The deceased’s fingerprint is used to create a pendant that a loved one can wear on a chain around their neck.
As cremation popularity increases, so do the wishes to be more earth-friendly with final remains. Cremation Solutions also offers scattering birdhouses made from mango tree wood. Once the ashes are scattered from the urn, birds can use the carving as a dwelling for generations.
One of the more unusual options to emerge is a cremation remains-shooting cannon. Staab said the item is often used at celebration of life events, and once fired, the ashes shoot some 70 feet into the air.
Going out with a bang was never more literal.