After tragedy, a Nowthen woman found peace through art, helping others carry their loved ones close to their hearts.
Anne Wayman has been a hairstylist for the past 39 years, but has been interested in jewelry since she was in high school. When she started working with glass a year and a half ago, Wayman was driven to create glass work infused with cremation ashes after her son died from suicide.
“His death was a catalyst for it all. A week or two after, I envisioned his ashes in a beautiful piece of glass and I decided to teach myself how to do it,” said Wayman.
Through her business, Ashes in Glass, Wayman creates cremation keepsakes.After researching glass work, she learned how to create her own pieces through trial and error. Wayman described a wave of peace coming over her whenever she works with or wears glass infused with her son’s ashes.
“It was almost meditative and it helped me get through it,” Wayman said.
She then began making pieces for her children and family. She created a website, brochures and has worked in a number craft shows selling normal glass work but also promoting her ashes in glass jewelry. Working with clients, Wayman learned others felt the same special peace after receiving her pieces.
“The peace I’ve felt working with glass, I felt the need and want for others to feel the same way,” Wayman said.
Out of Darkness and the Project Semicolon are two non-profit organizations that raise awareness and help people with mental illness. Wayman works alongside the communities of these organizations and creates jewelry promoting Project Semicolon. The semi colon signifies a pause in someone’s life with more to come.
“I don’t like the phrase ‘moving on’ because you never move on, it is a process of a never ending thing,” Wayman explained. “I look at grief like a spiral staircase. Every time you go up a few rungs you pass by those same feelings and emotions. However, each time you pass you are a little higher up with a different level of understanding and experience. Even if you get knocked down you’re then able to get up again and keep on climbing.”
Using a 7-inch kiln, Wayman makes various pieces; some infused with ashes and others without. She creates beads by flame, working and rolling them into the ashes, using dichroic glass while painting with liquid glass. Only about a 1/4 teaspoon of ashes is needed for the jewelry. She turns precious metal clay into a watery material which she hand paints onto her pieces and uses a variety of wavy and iridescent glass work.
Custom pieces with ashes range from $175-$200, depending on size. Semi Colon medallions, bracelets and necklaces can range from $30-$75 if ashes are not used.
Customers from Virginia, Maine, California and even in Europe have shown interest in Wayman’s work. She is clear her purpose in making jewelry is not rooted in entrepreneurship.
“The intent was not to start a business, the intent was healing,” Wayman said.
When customers order Wayman’s pieces, along with their contact information, they are asked to share what made their loved one happy.
“You get to know a little bit about the person through that. I want to know who I’m working with,” Wayman said.
Wayman will have a booth at the Anoka Riverfest Saturday, July 8. More information about her work can be found on her website www.ashartglass.com and her Facebook page @ashartglass.