A gifted ceramicist with more than 40 years of experience, Kevin Blackburn first started making ceramic urns for cremated remains after his father died in 1996.
“His passing got me started thinking about precious vessels and ceremonial urns, the type that could be used for funerary vessels,” said Blackburn.
He debuted his one-of-a-kind cremation urns at the 2014 International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association (ICCFA) convention and expo, and he returned to the 2016 expo. Many of the funeral directors in attendance were very interested in his work.
His Raku and soda fired urns are all handmade, glazed and finished by Blackburn. They incorporate an ingenious leather attachment system to keep the lids in place. “I thought it important to be able to seal inside whatever precious contents were being held,” he explained.
In one style, the strap of leather is attached in the inside bottom of the piece, then goes through the lid and ties at the top. An external style secures the lid to hooks on the outside of the urn. Both styles have magnetic clasps that neatly connect the ends of the strap. (watch the video)
The Raku style of pottery originated in Japan during the 16th century. His work follows the “Western style” of Raku, where the work is removed from the kiln at the time the glazes have matured, and then put in a reduction chamber with combustible materials. He uses wood shavings from elm, alder, pine and oak. The process brings out many marvelous colors and textures.
“Each piece is unique and unrepeatable, which I believe is the perfect container for the cremated remains of a loved one,” said Blackburn.
All urns are provided with a tube of high strength adhesive, to fasten the lid permanently, if desired. Blackburn is based in western Washington state. His website includes a constantly updated gallery of works at www.Earthhandsfire.com.