A potter is making crockery from the remains of dead people so we can all taste mortality, be it on a coffee break or with our favourite TV dinner.
Justin Crowe, the death and dinnerware fan behind Chronicle Cremation Design, came up with the idea for his company after using human ashes for an art project.
Crowe, from Santa Fe in New Mexico, bought 200 bones from a bone dealer (yes, it's a real job) and ground them down to a fine powder, which he then used to glaze a minimalist white crockery set.
The 28-year-old then used the collection, which he calls "Nourish" to serve six brave friends pork and quinoa salad with
a nice Chianti wine.
His pottery is surprisingly nice to look at and outwardly has no hint of death, but is about "folding a sense of mortality into your daily life," Crowe says.
The Nourish project led to requests from friends to eat and drink from the bones of people they once knew and loved, rather than a powdery megamix residue of strangers. And from death, Crowe's business was born.
Crowe admits his work is "polarising." He recalls putting an ad on Craigslist offering $35 (£29) for two cups of ashes. One of the responses was a man looking for "interesting" ways to pay tribute to his late friend, while the other was a woman threatening to have him investigated and warning him he was going to hell.
“In my opinion, it’s way less creepy than having a jar of ashes,” he tells Atlas Obscura.
There are bottles, bowls, candle holders and coffee mugs ready and waiting to be personalised with a scattering of human ashes.
"We've designed this coffee mug to spark remembrance during your morning coffee, evening tea, or anytime between," the website copy reads. "This memory mug keeps you company during mealtime, one of the most difficult times of loss."
The chemical composition of human bone ash is made up of the same natural materials as used in a standard ceramic glaze, Crowe tells The Guardian.
“These just happen to originate from a previously living person. It really puts into perspective that we are all just made of the same dust we walk on. It’s pretty beautiful.”
Chronicle Cremation Design charges £328 ($399) to create the custom glaze and each piece of crockery is extra. Shipping is $65 (£53) and customers must return 100 grams of their loved ones remains in an ash “collection kit” sent out by the company.
There's no word on whether it's dishwasher and microwave safe - we probably wouldn't risk it.
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