Body Art: Lasting Memorials in Glass

Auckland glassblower Peter Viesnik (left) creates lasting memories of loved ones. His eye-catching glass crucibles give new meaning to the ad jingle “thousands of luminous spheres”.

The Auckland artist’s remembrance spheres are pretty to look at, available in many colours, have practical use (as a paperweight, for example) and contain a special, sparkling ingredient: a spoonful of cremated remains. Peter began making the spheres several years ago after being asked to transform an internal organ, removed during surgery and cremated, into a pair of earrings.

Later he had a request to make a glass memorial object by a woman whose father had died of leukaemia. She says the remembrance sphere she commissioned from Peter has helped her deal with her grief, and keeps her father “front and centre in our home”.

“I get to look at him all the time, and we have our conversations!”

Trial and error

Initially Peter experimented with ash created by incinerating lamb chops. Since perfecting his technique, Peter has made dozens of his colourful spheres to memorialise loved ones (human, and pets).

“I liked the idea of an aesthetically pleasing object for people to store a small amount of a deceased relative or friend’s ashes or even those of a beloved pet,” he says. “It’s something tangible that they can look at rather than the ashes being hidden away in an urn or scattered away completely.”

Completed spheres are ground and polished, and engraved with the person’s name, key dates, and special messages if desired.

Remembrance spheres

Peter only needs a small amount of ash to make a sphere.

“People’s ashes have got bone, it’s not all fine particles, so I have to sieve it out,” he says. Unused ashes are returned to the purchaser for burial or scattering. Customers are sent a sealable bag and a disposable teaspoon so they can measure the required ash and send it to Peter. Or, they can take the ash to Peter and watch him make their sphere if they wish.

Mobile memorials

While each sphere will set you back up to $290, they do solve the problem of being able to take the ashes with you if you move towns or countries. They are also far more discreet than the traditional urn.

Glass colour options include Gold, Ruby, Hyacinth, Amethyst, Cerulean Blue, Teal, Lime Green, and Emerald.

To learn about Peter and his spheres phone 09 360 0689 or visit

A quick Google search will guide you to global suppliers of jewellery and other memorial objects made with human or pet ashes. If you have other questions about cremation, ashes, or end of life planning, talk to your local FDANZ funeral director