Funeria (tm) :
a press release and invitation

Maureen Lomasney
Design Director
tel 707.829.1966
fax 707.829.1983



GRATON, CALIF (MAY 18, 2002) Artists working in all media including clay, metal, glass, fiber, wood, stone, mixed media and innovative materials are invited to enter the second Ashes to Art—a precedent-setting international, juried exhibition of fine art and fine craft urns, vessels, reliquaries and other sculptural artwork for keeping, transporting, or dispersing funerary ashes. The exhibition and sale opens with a preview reception on January 30 and runs through February 2, 2003 at the Fort Mason Center Conference Center in San Francisco, CA, USA.

All work must be original and ultimately useful to keep, transport, or disperse the ashes and shell-like particles that remain after cremation. Artwork created may be suitable for individuals, companions, or pets. Cash and other awards include Best of Show ($500), Purchase Award, plus others to be determined by the jury. Deadline for entries is October 4, 2002. Jurying is by 35mm slide entries only. The entry fee of $25 US for 1-3 slides plus $5 for each additional slide (6 slides maximum) must accompany the entry form and slides. All work must be available for sale. Commission on sales is 40%.

The full Prospectus will be available to download from the Funeria website ( on June 1, 2002. The Prospectus is also available by sending a business-size SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope) to Ashes to Art, P.O. Box 221, Graton, CA, 95444-0221, USA.

The jury of three noted art professionals will be announced with the Prospectus on June 1. Award recipients will be announced at the preview reception, January 30, 2003, in San Francisco.

(The balance of this press release is also available online at


The launch of the first Ashes to Art exhibition in 2001 featured a range of work that has been described by Boston Globe art writer Christine Temin, and other observers, as “mind-boggling,” (Boston Globe, March 28, Ashes to Art, Life at Home section). It included more than 100 works representing nearly 80 artists from 28 states and 7 foreign countries. Most of the artwork can now be seen in the Gallery pages on the Funeria website and many pieces are available for sale.

Artwork being exhibited online includes Chris Rizzo’s Jetsonesque machined aluminum and steel rocketships, Jeffrey Jon Gluck’s rammed earth reliquaries, Ranna McNeil’s delicate cast glass vessels, and Susanna Stachura Sakolsky’s 23 kt. gold and pearl encrusted “Utamaro’s Embrace.” Michael Creed’s 21” tall cigar urn doubles as a humidor for cigar storage and is among several pieces that sold at the first show but can be special ordered.


The second international Ashes to Art exhibition is moving to the larger Conference Center in the Landmark Building at Fort Mason Center that also houses the SFMOMA Rental Gallery, the Museum of Craft & Folk Art, and Greens—one of the Bay area’s most popular restaurants. Fort Mason Center is easily accessible by public and private transport. A new feature being added to the mix of art and function that the show reflects is the introduction of a neighboring information and exhibit area. The Resources area is planned to provide visitors with information on quality of long-life issues ranging from adaptive architecture and design solutions to long term care subjects such as intentional community options, insurance programs, and trust and estate planning. Interested exhibitors, potential sponsors and participants are invited to contact Funeria for details.


The idea of creating a new public venue for fine art funerary urns grew from a 1997 San Francisco Chronicle article about the significant increase in people choosing cremation over earth burial. Maureen Lomasney, the artist who founded Funeria and produced the first exhibition with the help of friends and fellow artists, was intrigued by the statistics she read and “wondered what people were doing with the ashes and whether artists were creating work that was specifically intended to keep or scatter ashes,” adding that in researching the subject she found many resources for purchasing “manufactured urns that were generally devoid of personality,” but that none of them looked like anything she or her friends would want for themselves or their loved ones.

Unlike the U.S., cremation has been the long- standing primary choice of disposition in several Eastern and Western cultures (70% on average choose cremation in Britain, Sweden and Switzerland with a nearly 99% rate in Japan). Meanwhile, increasing concerns about land use, funeral costs, and a population that may spend its youth in one place and its older years much further away, suggest that the rate of deaths resulting in cremation will double in 25 years in the U.S., rising from about 26% in 2000 to nearly 50% of the population in 2025, according to the Cremation Association of North America ( Increasing safeguards for consumers and oversight of cremation services providers by governmental and other agencies will contribute to its growing acceptance as well.


By providing visually appealing environments in which death is the subject but honoring life through art is the effect, Ashes to Art exhibitions are introducing new standards for personal memorial art—bringing contemporary fine art and fine craft qualities and connoisseurship to an area characterized by traditional manufactured products available through the funeral industry. The result for artists is to broaden their opportunities to innovate, create and sell work they may never have considered before, and to use materials and styles that are now being regarded as valid forms of containers for ashes.

Among collectors and others who enjoy art in their everyday surroundings, Ashes to Art exhibitions create an inviting, non-funerial gallery environment where they’ll see work that is not only beautiful on its own but might also stand in for them, or someone they love, when they can’t speak for themselves. According to Lomasney, “our goal is to advance a concept that while art honors life, it also helps us heal. It’s a means of introspection, a focal point for remembering someone we love, and ultimately, we hope, helps us to consciously accept the undeniable nature, logic, and beauty of our own mortality.”


“Ashes to Art” is presented by Funeria—an exhibitions and online art venue and bridge between those who create funerary art, specifically urns and vessels, and those who seek art as a means to honor a beautiful life. Funeria is an outgrowth of Tannery Creek Press—a publishing company since 1992 whose primary focus has been to help individuals find the words and means to honor their own lives, or of those they love. Tannery Creek Press is also noted for incorporating a uniquely inviting style and fine handcraftwork in all design details.Titles in print include “My Life—Truths, Tales, Memories, and Dreams”–a way to write your life story, and “From Here to There & Back Again”– a travel writer’s tool kit.

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