Medicine Hat, AB - Losing a loved one is always tough, whether that be a family member or even a pet.
When this person or pet has passed away, family members are left with a tough decision. How can they remember the life of someone they cherished?
A person is then left with two options: burial or cremation.
One local resident chose to cremate her dog Dexter and she wanted to remember him in a non-traditional way.
"I met a woman named Mandy a few years ago in Calgary when she was doing glass-blowing," explained Laura Butterfield. "I lost my dog and she was like 'yeah, we can put his ashes into glass' and that led me to where I am today."
Mandy Patchin is the Owner of Glass House Xperience.
"We create handcrafted keepsakes made of glass," said Patchin. "We're here in Medicine Hat offering an ash collection service, where we take a teaspoon of the cremated remains of your loved ones or pets, we go to Calgary and make the memorial keepsakes in glass and then we'll bring them back to this location to drop off in early March."
Depending on how much a person wants to spend, Patchin said her company could create things like spheres, hearts, vases, bowls and even wishing stones. They will also do customized pieces as well.
The process to completing this keepsake takes anywhere from 15 minutes to 1 hour, followed by a 12-20 hour cooling period.
"This service is something that's very near and dear to my heart. I just love the fact that we're able to create something handcrafted for people to remember their loved ones by. Instead of having an urn on your table or in your living room, you can have a nice little keepsake."
And that's excatly what Butterfield wanted, something different.
"When I think of ashes, I think of the box, the urn and I sit and go 'oh, who wants to look at that?" said Butterfield. "People come over to my house and see an urn sitting there and they're a little creeped out by this. Now, I see my orb and it's a great decor piece in my house with an amazing reminder of someone I've lost."
Butterfield also didn't want something in her home that would make people feel uncomfortable.
"I got a purple and blue orb made and I love it. It's emotional and something you keep close to your heart in your home. You wouldn't put it in the back of a closet because it's an urn that someone might get nervous around. I think it's a really great idea."
Patchin said offering this service has provided some great feedback.
"It's definitely a sensitive subject, but I just enjoy being able to help a person grieve through this process" said Patchin. "Instead of having an urn on your mantle, they can have a piece to hold in their hand to remember them by. It's something that can live on forever."
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