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Human FAQs

Q: What type of Urn do I need? 
A: Choosing how to memorialize a loved one can be a very person decision. The answer to this question depends on what you intend to do with your loved one’s ashes and the circumstances.

There are four types of urns:
  • Individual Urns – the most common choice. These are designed to contain all of the cremains of a single individual. The capacity is usually around 192 cubic inches. They can, however, be larger.
  • Keepsake (or Memento) Urns - These are designed to hold a small portion of remains. The capacity ranges from 1 cubic inch to 50 cubic inches. We also make double keepsake urns, designed to hold a small portion of the remains of two individuals.
  • Infant/ Youth Urns - These are designed to hold the entire remains of an infant or small child. The capacity ranges from 3 cubic inches to 75 cubic inches. Keepsake-size urns are often used for infants.
  • Companion Urns (also known as Double Urns or Double Inurnment) - These are designed to hold the remains of two adult individuals. Companion urns are often a choice for couples who wish to remain close and make the decision to be together after passing. The urn’s capacity is usually around 400 cubic inches. There may be one large chamber or two smaller ones. Some couples prefer to mix the ashes; some prefer to keep them separate.

Here are some popular ways to memorialize your loved one: 
  • Keep all of the ashes in a single urn.

  • Our urns are large enough to contain all of your loved one’s ashes. The size of the urn you select will depend upon where you intend to put the urn as well as the healthy weight of your loved one. (More info below.)

  • Share some of the ashes with family or friends. Many people purchase a full-size urn, but want to share some of the ashes with family and friends. For this they use several (smaller) keepsake urns. Put most of the ashes in a larger urn but keep a small portion. Because of personal circumstances, you may wish to place the majority of the ashes in a large urn (to be buried or placed in a columbarium) and keep a small portion in a keepsake to be kept at home. Many families who have moved away from their ancestral homes choose this option.

  • Scatter some or all of the ashes in a favorite place. Your loved one’s favorite place could be the perfect spot to scatter some or all of the ashes. Please remember that there may be local ordinances for this- so consult your funeral director. Our urns are designed for convenient, dignified transport and scattering of ashes. Afterward, the urn can serve as a beautiful reminder of your loved one as well as a tasteful addition to any décor.

Q: What size Urn do I need?
A: This depends upon what you intend to do with your loved one’s ashes. There are two important things to consider in choosing an urn: the size and the volume. Knowing where an urn will be for final placement is an important consideration in selecting an urn size. For example, if the urn is to be placed in a niche or columbarium, it is important to know the exact dimensions of the space available (length, height, width). When selecting an urn for burial, you must consider the dimensions of available burial urn vaults (if one is required).

The correct volume depends on what type of urn(s) you would like to use. Keep in mind that the cremated remains (called “cremains”) have the consistency of coarse beach sand/gravel as they are composed of bone material. The urn capacity must measure one cubic inch for every pound of your loved one’s healthy weight. So, generally, a 5’4” tall,125 -pound person would require a 125-cubic-inch urn. A 5’4” tall overweight person would still only require about 125 cubic inch urn. Naturally, choosing an urn larger than the minimum required is perfectly acceptable. If you are going to divide or scatter the ashes, and would like to keep some for a memento, you may use several urns, which can be any size you like.

GENERAL INFORMATION

Q: How do I get the ashes into the urn?
A: Ashes usually come in a plastic bag, within a box from the crematory. You can easily transfer the ashes from the plastic bag into the urn(s). It is rarely necessary to remove the ashes from the plastic bag when using a full size urn.

Q: Where can urns be shipped? 
A: We ship urns to anywhere the United States or Internationally. 

Q: I need my urn soon - Can you ship right away?
A: The urns displayed in our gallery are available for immediate shipping within 24 hours (Monday – Friday). Depending upon the time and day we receive the order, we can ship for next day delivery, 2nd day air, or 3rd day select. Orders received after noon EST are usually shipped the following business day. Personalized and custom urns require one or two weeks, or more, of dedicated time to create. , All of our urns are crafted one at a time, by hand. This labor-intensive process is not conducive to rapid production or quick shipping. 

Q: May I travel on a plane with my Fine Art Urn? 
A: YES, you can! Unlike some ceramic urns which are lined with lead, our Fine Art Urns can pass through the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) screening for carry-on bags. Be sure to tell the agents that you are travelling with a funeral urn. In general, urns made of wood, glass, plastic or non-lead lined ceramic are allowed as carry-on baggage.

Many people feel the best thing to do is to use the plastic or cardboard temporary "urn" provided by the crematory. They are scanable and just perfect for this purpose. The permanent urn and any keepsake urns can easily be filled at your destination. 

Traveling with an urn to a scattering or burial location is much easier than you may think. If you are planning on traveling with cremains in an urn or keepsakes, then there are a few things that you should know about the requirements of the TSA (Transportation Security Administration). All urns must be able to be scanned. If the container is made of a material that prevents the security screener from clearly being able to see what is inside, then the container will not be allowed through the security checkpoint. If the x-rayed image is opaque then the next option is to transport the cremains in the belly of the plane as checked baggage. The container will undergo testing for explosive devices and, if cleared, will be permitted as checked baggage. In respect to the deceased, under no circumstances will a screener open the container at any time, even if the passenger requests that this be done. 

Q: May I travel on a train or bus with my fine Art Urn? 
A: For travel on Public Transportation such as buses, subways, and trains, you may find that they will have formal security checks, much like an airport. Many of the same measures that the TSA takes, will be taken by Public Transportation. It is recommended that you call ahead if you have any concerns about traveling with cremains. For more information call or log on to: TSA – Transportation Security Administration – TSA Travel Tips - TSA - 866-289-9673.

HOW ARE FINE ART URNS MADE?

Q: Where are Fine Art Urns made?
A: They are hand crafted in North Carolina at our studio “Atelier Du Lac” (pronounced Ah-Tell-yay-Doo-Lock), which means “lakeside workshop and studio”. Our urns are inspired by nature. Each piece embodies the peacefulness of the woods, the garden and the lake. Visit our studio.

Q: How are Fine Art Urns made? Are these urns molded or thrown by hand?
A: Some of our urns are built by hand from flat pieces of clay. Some of our urns are a combination of hand-built and thrown sections. However, most of our urns are entirely thrown by hand on a potter’s wheel. Each section is thrown (shaped) individually and fitted to the next with the precision only a Master Artist could obtain. Some parts are then carved by hand. Next, the pieces are decorated and prepared for the Raku process. This is how we guarantee that each piece is one-of-a-kind. Each museum-quality urn is designed and hand-crafted by our master craftsman, in a completely natural process from start to finish. Each one is individually signed by the artist. Read MORE about the artists

Q: Are the designs stenciled?
All of our designs are drawn by hand- never stenciled. In this way, we guarantee that each museum-quality urn is an original work of art.

Q: What is Raku?
A: Raku-which our artists call "Painting with Fire" - traces its beginnings to sixteenth century Japan. It is a centuries-old technique that is both dramatic and risky. Perhaps more than any other art form, Raku is the most poorly understood. The Japanese character "Raku" means "pleasure, ease, enjoyment." Since the sixteenth century, it has been used by the Jokei family. It was presented to them for inventing a new process for making tea bowls for the Zen Tea Ceremony. Where Eastern Raku is steeped in tradition, Western Raku has diverged in both form and technique. While the artist’s work in other forms of pottery is finished when the piece is put into the kiln, the work of our Raku artist is just beginning. Our artist uses long tongs to remove the urn from the kiln while it is still glowing hot and places it in a chamber with carefully selected combustible natural materials.
Working quickly in this environment of smoke and fire, our artist further manipulates the glazed surface to create unparalleled effects. Each piece is a chronicle of the struggle between our artist and the unpredictable forces of nature. Not every piece survives. The resulting idiosyncrasies in the piece are what make each work of art like a life – unique. Read MORE about Raku.

Q: Why did the artists choose RAKU over other techniques?
A: Raku not only allows our artists to express their designs in a creatively more satisfying manner, but aids in the process of differentiating each piece from every other one that has been or will be created! This guarantees authenticity and uniqueness. Raku allows each of our hand-crafted urns to develop its own personality. By design, no two are ever exactly alike. We like this metaphor for humans and pets!

Q: What kind of gold is used? Is it paint? 
A: We only use imported, pure 23k gold leaf. It is applied by hand by our master artists. It is a time-consuming process. 

Q: How do you make the leaf impressions? Do you use rubber stamps?
A: Each leaf impression is made from a leaf harvested from our generous hardwood trees, who thoughtfully drop them on the ground. Because we believe that each urn should be one-of-a-kind, we never re-use a leaf.

Q: I’m going to keep my urn at home. How do I take care of it?
A: As any fine piece of art, the urn may be carefully dusted and only washed by hand.