New Mexico-based artist Justin Crowe first incorporated cremated human ashes into a dinnerware set, last year, as part of an art project, but after his friends learned about it and asked him to create bespoke items for them, he decided to turn the idea into a business. Today, his company, Chronicle Cremation Design, offers people the chance to keep their loved ones close by having their ashes incorporated into everyday items like coffee cups, bowls or candle holders.
“I wanted to create a dinnerware set that infuses a sense of mortality into everyday life,” Crow says about his original idea of mixing human ashes into tableware. In 2015, he purchased 200 human bones from a bone dealer, crushed them into a fine powder and mixed them into a coating glaze for a set of functional plates, cups and bowls. He ended up using them for an unconventional dinner party, with the guests eating off of repurposed human remains.
Interestingly, while searching for human bones for his artistic project, Crow put up an ad on Craigslist, asking for about two cups of ashes for $35. He got three responses on the first day,one of which was from a woman who threatened to have him investigated, quoting the Bible and telling him he was going to hell. “It’s a really polarizing idea,” the artist admits.