Local Artisans: Art and Heart


Local artisans—such as woodworkers, glassworkers and potters—are part of our community working toward a more thoughtful way to “do death.” Their lives have often reached a point where they want to try something different—with more depth and a stronger connection to the recipients of their labor. In the funeral biz, the term for what they make is “funeral goods,” but their products are handcrafted alternatives to the mass-produced. Their works are infused with their heartfelt intention and originality.

Artful Ashes, capture the essence of your loved ones spirit in a swirl of color and ashes, within beautiful glass art. Created at Glasseye Studio in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, family members are invited to share in the experience as their glass heart is being made. Weighing just under a pound, your very own precious glass heart fits in the palm to be held close at hand and heart.

Marcus Daly makes caskets on Vashon Island in Puget Sound. A former fisherman, he has been doing a lot of sanding on local wood since 2008. See him at work in the awesome short video, “The Coffinmaker,” on the website of his company Marian Caskets.

Derrick Burke also creates caskets from locally harvested wood. In 2010, his family-run business Puget Sound Woodworking opened its doors in historic Snohomish. Regarding wood, there’s nothing he can’t craft (or teach you how to make), from caskets to chicken coops.

Megan Smith is a potter living on the Olympic Peninsula, in Port Townsend. She loves making cremation urns that are “not shy of expression,” but still dignified. “For those of us still living,” she says, “I hope to instill expression in the urns that may provide some comfort or solace, as well as some joy.”