A Stanwood couple is making it easy for people to remember their beloved pets.
Stephanie and Jason Thiemann are crafting custom jewelry and objects of art using standard glass-making materials and the ash of cremated pets (cremains)provided by pet owners.
“The ashes are actually incorporated into the glass along with minerals and precious metals to create unique pieces,” said Jason Thiemann, an artistic glassblower who grew up in the trade.
“My mom and dad were both glassblowers and I basically learned the craft from them as a young person,” he said.
The couple relocated from California last fall to their home and studio on the shores of Lake Martha.
“We chose the Pacific Northwest to be closer to family and friends,” said Stephanie, a technical writer.
It’s been a long journey to their new, shared venture.
After a stint in the Marines, Jason honed his craft at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas as a demonstration glassblower.
“I spent hours a day, showing guests how objects are created from glass,” Jason said. “Other artisans weren’t interested in demonstrating but I loved it and really refined my skills at the MGM.”
Eventually, Jason moved to Florida and opened a high-end store specializing in glass jewelry. After losing the store in a divorce, he started over.
“As I was coming up with a new business plan, I met Stephanie and we clicked,” Jason said. “With Stephanie’s technical skills, we relaunched the glassblowing business online and fell in love along the way.”
When the couple’s dog Simba died, Jason decided to experiment using cremation ash from his beloved pet and glass.
“I tried different formulations but finally settled on borosilicate— a type of glass with silica and boron trioxide,” he said. “The results were just what I wanted.”
He soon found other people also were interested in objects by which to remember their pets or loved ones and launched Stardust Glass Memorials.
When ordering a memorial object, customers are asked to provide their pet’s life story to help inspire Jason’s creative process. Production is documented along the way with photos that are then included with each piece.
“We feel very connected to our clients and we strive to create one-of-a-kind, custom objects that will memorialize a cherished pet forever,” Stephanie said.
To learn more the memorials, see stardustglassmemorials.com.