In a studio at the Pratt Fine Arts Center in Seattle’s Central District, artisans are shaping molten glass into one of a kind keepsakes.
“Well, our friends tell us that we’re a little creepy and a little cool,” said co-founder Greg Dale.
Dale founded of Artful Ashes with his wife five years, and says the idea of embedding ashes of loved ones into colorful glass art came to him after his father survived a major surgery.
“I almost lost my father to a surgery," said Dale. "I went down to Miami and spent several days with him.”
Dale and his dad had the hard conversation of what his father wanted after he passed.
"He said he wants to be part of a reef offshore of Florida - and I thought that would be an interesting idea," said Dale. "Everything I’ve heard of out there makes you feel sad. [When] I got back to Seattle and thought about that, there’s got to be something out there that can help you feel a little better about losing a loved one.
Dale came up with this idea of putting ashes into glass hearts, and it took off.
"We've made more than 40,000 memorials so far, in every color, for clients around the world," he said.
Many clients travel to Seattle to see their memorial take shape in front of their own eyes. They say watching Dale's artisans transform a glowing orb of molten glass into a beautiful tribute to their loved ones offers them closure and a physical reminder of those they’ve lost.
“My father passed away two weeks ago," said client Connie Hancock. "We had both of my parents co-mingled - their ashes. This is closure to us, a time for us to reflect and to have something special in our hands. It's comforting, healing, and just beautiful. We’re representing our family and hopefully we’re doing them proud."