NOT FADE AWAY exhibition opens Jan 9 through Feb 14 at Sebastopol Center for the Arts

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Please join us January 9, from 6 to 7:30 p.m., at an opening reception when FUNERIA presents its first exhibition of the new year, NOT FADE AWAY, in Gallery II at Sebastopol Center for the Arts, 282 S. High St, Sebastopol, CA. The special installation of more than thirty original artworks includes superbly handcrafted urns, modern artifacts and sculpture. Each reflects meaningful, helpful and often charming means to engage in personalized rituals. The exhibition also addresses both ephemerality and permanent memorialization to honor the passions, idiosyncrasies and character of the individuals and families the objects are intended to serve. The exhibition at the arts center is underwritten in part by Daniels Chapel of the Roses, Santa Rosa, CA, a Sonoma County family-owned funeral service provider for more than 125 years and valued business ally to FUNERIA in understanding the needs of the families they serve.

white porcelain staff with hanging lilies

Reliquary for Saint Joseph, porcelain, by Nicholas Kripal

Featured artworks include a tall, slender porcelain staff from which white lilies are suspended, their trumpet shapes facing downward. It is both beautiful and solemn— imbued with poetic grace suggesting humility, love and loss by ceramicist Nicholas Kripal, an award-winning artist, Professor and Chair of the Crafts Dept. at Tyler School of Art, Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. Reliquary for Saint Joseph is an elegant, evocative work that was inspired by a story of how Mary, the future mother of Jesus of Nazareth, would know for certain the one special man who would be her spouse.

Kripal is one of five gifted artists who participate in global site-specific installations in historic sacred spaces, time-traveling in doing so. Contemplations on the Spiritual installations, of which this work has been a part, evokes fresh perspectives on the stories told and structures built to connect heart and mind, beliefs and political systems, the living and the dead, to history and the Divine.

image of Jarvis's work as it debuted in the U.S. at FUNERIA's Art Honors Life Gallery

Post Mortem Research Project, mixed media, by Nadine Jarvis as installed during its 2008 U.S. debut at FUNERIA’s Art Honors Life gallery

Nadine Jarvis’s Post Mortem Research Project is also being installed for the first time since 2008 when FUNERIA debuted her provocative work to U.S. audiences during its 4th international Ashes to Art® exhibition at its Art Honors Life® gallery in the west Sonoma County town of Graton. This remarkable group of objects is comprised of prototype product designs that offer both fascinating and exquisite means to disperse cremated remains in nature and by chance. Or, by writing with any one of 240 pencils contained in a fine wood box with integrated pencil sharpener whose “lead” could be made from human ash instead of graphite. The beautifully crafted model, titled Carbon Copies, is dedicated to her grandfather’s memory.

Equally beautiful and unique are urns, scattering implements and objects of remembrance by artists from Sonoma County and throughout the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Greece including a number whose work has been promoted and represented by FUNERIA since 2001 when, with the help of friends and many volunteers, the pioneering arts agency organized and presented the first international juried exhibition of original artist-made urns, vessels and personal memorial art at San Francisco’s historic Fort Mason Center Firehouse.

With the exception of Jarvis’s prototypes, the majority of work in FUNERIA’s NOT FADE AWAY exhibition can be purchased through the Sebastopol Center for the Arts.

Visitors to the arts center will also see VESSELS in the main gallery—an exhibition of work on the theme of vessels in all media and the broadest interpretations, juried by Khysie Horn. Horn is the beloved local champion of Sonoma County artists and makers who exhibited and showcased their work during the 30 years she owned and operated The Quicksilver Mine Co. and Gallery.  She continues to promote artists online who otherwise lack well-deserved visibility.

For directions, inquiries and further information, visit:

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For the love of dog

On the same day in June, two smart, playful, happy dogs who had lived a world apart left the adventures of their lives behind to take up residence in the quiet and tender corners of the human hearts that loved them.

Chewbacca, a six year-old Chocolate Labrador Retriever in Wyoming, had lived with Rachel and was loved by her sister too.

Jack, a 13 year-old Australian Red Cattle Dog lived in Queensland AU with Chris and a family that includes two other dogs, all of them rescued from unfortunate circumstances, perhaps the most poignant being Jack’s.

Objects such as cremation urns, keepsakes, and other kinds of memorial items cannot replace a profound loss—no matter how beautifully made by sensitive artists. What is possible, however, when carefully chosen urns or objects of remembrance are kept at home, are opportunities to engage in the experience of loss through a contemplative process.

Perhaps, for example, when Rachel and her sister strike a match to the tea lights in the Faithful Friends ornaments that Rachel selected, they’ll remember the flickers of delight in the dark pools of Chewie’s eyes that would welcome them home. Maybe seeing the glistening bits of mica in the chocolate-brown clay Abundant Earth urn that Rachel chose for his ashes is what feels “perfect”, as she wrote, because it’s both a beautiful and final means of sheltering and loving him. Rachel chose an urn larger than needed, but having that extra space also creates a place to put Chewie’s tags and collar, a favorite toy, and to express gratitude for the gift of his life when she lifts the lid by its gnarled bronze handle to add the first red leaf of autumn or a perfectly smooth stone.

For Chris, a beautiful urn for Jack is a tribute to a wonderful animal who reminds us of how much there is to learn from innocent lives that have suffered terribly yet are still capable of showing boundless and unconditional love. While Jack might have thought he was the lucky one to be rescued from unspeakable pain inflicted by unconscionable humans, Chris’s gratitude for seeing in Jack “life lessons on four legs” is the greater gift, and one that he has generously shared with us.The experience of recognizing certain works of art as a means—even a tool—to help us heal, is surely embedded in the work that many artists make. Art, and those who need it, sometimes find each other. In the very same week this summer, choices made by one caring person in Wyoming and another in Australia, each mourning the loss of their four-legged companions, made this abundantly clear.

The lovely Tilly

Rachel couldn’t have known that Alison Counsell, who creates the Faithful Friends votives, had lost her own very dear hiking companion, Tilly, only a few weeks before to a fast-acting disease.

Nor could Rachel and also Chris have known that Carol Green, who made each of the mica-clay urns they purchased, is part of a family dedicated to animal welfare, particularly rescuing dogs who would otherwise not know love and human kindness.

We are so grateful to artists who imagine and produce work with good intentions, who use their materials conscientiously while creating something of beauty and purpose. When we recognize ourselves and those we love through their work, we are all richer for the experience.

Please speak up in defense of animals who rely on the kindness of humans to protect them from those who through ignorance, intention or neglect cause them harm.

May you, your family, and all creatures enjoy a full, safe and beautiful life.

P.S.   If you would like to write a note of support to an animal welfare group of your choice, we would like to send you a postcard (or a few) to help you express your appreciation — even if it’s simply “Great job!”, though if you write a note and include a donation of any size to them in memory of an animal you’ve loved, we’re sure they’d be grateful.

Simply send your mailing address to us at arthonorslife(at)funeria.com (US addresses only, please) and we’ll send you the cards in an envelope. You’re also welcome to write a note in memory of a dog or other animal you’ve loved, along with your favorite animal welfare rights group (including a link to them), in the comments section below.


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