Ashes as Art

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

Losing a loved one, or even a pet, is painful. For those who take comfort in keeping the deceased's ashes, there's Glass Remembrance, a Pataskala-based business that incorporates cremains in glass sculptures and jewelry.

Leatrice Guttentag started the business three years ago after the death of her dog, Dozer. "I couldn't stand seeing her in a box," Guttentag says. "She was quite energetic. She used to crush all my flowers in the garden--she didn't mean to--so I turned her into a flower. People started asking me to do it, so I put together a business plan."

Glass Remembrance sells through 300 facilities, including funeral homes, pet cremation services and veterinary offices. Sales have increased steadily, and Guttentag now employs three other artists.

A small portion of ash is encased in a sculpture or piece of jewelry made from new or recycled glass. Prices range from $100 to $300, and customers may request custom designs. Guttentag says paperweights and jewelry, including beads compatible with Pandora-style bracelets, are the most popular items. "What is fun is, a lot of times for the little beads they send a picture of their animal and ask me to match the color of the pet," she says.

Guttentag, who earned a bachelor's degree in computer engineering with a minor in art from Ohio State University, was living in New Jersey and working in Manhattan when the World Trade Center was attacked on Sept. 11, 2001. Fortunately, she escaped her office on the 80th floor of the north tower.

After 9/11, Guttentag decided to return to Central Ohio. "Corporate is great, but working for someone else is not my destiny," she says. Now, "I have customers who e-mail me Christmas cards. That's a very nice feeling."

Reprinted from theApril 2011 issue of Columbus C.E.O. Copyright © Columbus C.E.O.