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From ashes to art

The loss of a loved one often leaves those closest to them wishing they had a piece to hang onto. Well, one Pocatello artist can actually give you that.

For over three decades, Lyrl Jensen has been making a variety of glass art. But recently, she’s been busy at her Studio in the Trees doing something a little unusual.

“This bag right here is someone’s ashes,” Jensen said, holding up the bag.

For over a decade, Jensen has been making special pieces with the cremated remains of loved ones. It’s something she decided to do after her daughter, Andrea, passed away.

“I wanted to be able to do something with her ashes … that I could give to my other daughter and her friends and family,” Jensen explained.

At first, she wasn’t making the pieces that often, most of them for family and friends. But in the past year, things have really ramped up.

“Other people have told other people about it and they’ve been wanting to come and talk to me,” she said. “Get their little pet’s ashes done, or a sibling, a parent, or whatever and I’m always honored to do that.”

Jensen said she always shows people an “organic swirl” with Andrea’s ashes in it as an example of what she can do for them.

Making the pieces is simpler than you might think — Jensen adds the desired colors to the mold, mixes them together, adds the ashes and then covers it with the clear frit.

The first step of the process takes just minutes, but then it has to spend the night in the kiln.

The whole process isn’t much different from the normal glasswork she does, aside from her mindset.

“When I do this, I have this person in mind and the person I’m doing it for also.”

All good things must come to an end, even life. And Jensen said she’s already made her final wishes clear to her family.

“I’ve told my children, don’t put me in the ground,” she said. “Cremate me and take my ashes somewhere. Or now I can say put them in glass and then you can have me forever.”

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