Beautiful hand made ceramic urns by Jane Shepphard

17th June 2021#guest-blog#urns
Beautiful hand made ceramic urns by Jane Shepphard

In October 2019 we spent an enjoyable and inspiring day exhibiting at Frome’s ‘Pushing Up The Daisies’. We met up with old friends and acquaintances, we also met some new ones including Jane Sheppard. She makes beautiful ceramic urns which we absolutely loved.

She very kindly agreed to write this guest blog for us to introduce her wonderful handmade urns.

Her pots are beautiful and have a real sense of the earth, ground and nature that surrounds us. We felt they were perfect for a natural interment of ashes.

How it all started

I’ve always held a strong respect for the sacredness of each life and our connection with the earth. After thirty years of working as a ceramic artist in the ancient methods of coiling and smoke firing, (decorating simply by infusing my pots with smoke in a closed fire), I finally became ordained as an interfaith minister and started making low-fired ceramic urns. It’s not easy transitioning from a maker of art objects to urns. Introducing the sacred can be a bit of a taboo in the art world but for me this work is important. It’s where I always envisaged my work heading.

All of my urns are coiled individually by hand. Coiling is a slow, meditative process but for me, it’s a very spiritual connection with the earth. Our deepest ancestry and the miracle of our individual lives on this earth. All these thoughts transfer to the space that’s created inside; the sacred space to honour the life held inside.

Two handmade ceramic urns

How Janes ceramic urns are made

Each ceramic urn is unique, with its particular form and individually made stopper. Over a period of weeks, they are coiled, scraped down and then burnished before being bisque fired. The decoration is then made from applying paper as a resist. After this, I take them down to the riverside. This is where I place them in a contained fire letting the smoke permeate gently.

Most of my urns are seed/ egg-shaped. They are a metaphor for the cycle of life and are a universally pleasing form. I like this shape because of its simplicity. It’s a form that is both classic and contemporary. It holds the thought of placing the seed back into the earth from which we came. I also make vessels based on native American seed pots and am open to ideas personal to you.

Increasingly I’m lowering the temperature of my firings so that they can be tailor-made either for keeping in the home or burying into the earth. Here they can naturally break down into the soil. It’s a beautiful idea that feels gentle and respectful. All of my work is about honouring.

Find out more

Jane works from her studio in Bath and welcomes visits and conversations.

She can be contacted by email:
or by phone: 07854629770.

You can also find out more on her website.