For better or worse, bonded into eternity

A. wanted her parents united forever, so asked us to combine the ashes of her mom and dad into stones. I had not done that before, but thought it was a very sweet idea. Before I started this business, I thought all ash would look the same, but it doesn’t. Some is all white, some is nearly black. Some is very coarse and some is very fine. Some even has debris – I have found metal renal stents in some of the remains I have received. A’s parents’ ashes looked quite different from one another – her mom’s were white-grey and her dad’s were much darker. I made the stones and set them in the kiln on some new kiln shelf paper I had just purchased. After about an hour I looked in the window of the kiln, and to my horror everything was black! The paper had turned completely black and I thought “holy cow, they are fighting in there!” As children, we often paint a rosier picture of our parents’ marriage than may be true, so I worried that we had selfishly bonded two people together who maybe wanted nothing more to do with each other. Fortunately, the stones turned out beautifully and A. was delighted. Turns out it was a normal chemical reaction of the new shelf paper at a certain temperature in the firing process, not two souls duking it out in my kiln.