A couple of weeks ago I ran across a quirky little article entitled "Fertilizing Marijuana Plants, and Other Weird Ways to Decay After You Die". For the purposes of this post, maybe it should have been called 'Weird Ways to Recycle Yoursef After You Die', because believe it or not, one of the ideas people are toying with is to get themselves turned into a nice piece of jewelry!
Burial reform advocates are arguing for alternatives to traditional burials, detailing significant negative impacts on the environment as well as the ways in which many of our current practices are, well, kind of gross. Alternatives include using the body as a natural plant fertilizer, converting it to ink for artistic projects, etc.
The theory on bone jewelry is that if human bones are being used in art (which they have been in some rare cases), why not make a cameo in the afterlife as bone jewelry?
Bone Jeweler Kayla Tinsman says, "My dream would be that when my time was drawing to a close I could go out into the woods, curl up under the trees, and let nature take it from there...If I could find an artist or jeweler familiar with cleaning bones whose work I felt a connection to, I would love to have my bones used as art as a memento mori for loved ones left behind. Unfortunately, all of this is highly illegal right now."
Tinsman loves the idea of "mourning jewelry", an idea that goes back centuries. "For hundreds of years now the hair of deceased loved ones have been woven, twirled, and set behind a clear stone, such as quartz. I've thought about using my final living years making jewelry incorporating my own hair for the people I love," Tinsman said. See our previous post on mourning jewelry for a longer discussion on this fascinating issue.
This idea of mourning jewelry is similar to Aboriginal mortuary rites. Bodies were placed on a raised platform, covered with leaves and branches, to decompose for months until just bones remained. Those bones were then painted with red ochre and placed in a cave or worn by their family members.
Burial reform advocates argue for alternatives to traditional burials, detailing significant negative impacts on the environment as well as the ways in which many of our current practices are, well, kind of gross. Alternatives being encouraged include using the body as a natural plant fertilizer, converting it to ink for artistic projects, etc.
As for me, I'm already considering alternatives to traditional pet burials. I discovered an awesome memorial wind chime that allows you to keep a portion of your beloved pet's ashes within the chime -- and every time you hear its music, you can remember them in a reverent and beautiful moment. Many are also experimenting with jewelry made from cremation ashes. Here are some links I found if you want to explore works by these pioneers.
I always like to think out of the box when it comes to creativity, so thanks for indulging me in this offbeat subject -- and do post your comments! We know it's an issue that can be emotion-laden -- and it messes with tradition in a big way -- but we always enjoy the discussion!
Until Next Time,