Memento Memorials launches heartfelt Hatchfund
Chris and Shelley Harvan understand that losing a loved one or a pet is a difficult part of life. Since 2003, their woodworking business in Cleveland Heights, Memento Memorials, has evolved to serve grieving families by creating handmade cremation urns, memorial sculptures and other remembrances.
Working in their home-based studio, the Harvans began by making small keepsake boxes and hand-drawn portraits. When close friends suffered the loss of an unborn child, according to Chris Harvan, "we found ourselves frustrated by the available options for cremation urns, and knew there had to be other people who felt the same way."
The grieving couple had playfully referred to their son as "The Squid" during pregnancy, and the Harvans used that as inspiration to sculpt a cremation urn out of walnut and holly that looks like a friendly, child-like squid.
Since then the Harvans have focused their work around memorializing loved ones and pets—though not all products are meant to display cremated remains. “We think memories are worth celebrating and there are an unlimited amount of ways we can do that," Chris said. "Death happens to be a big part of that, but it’s not limited to that.”
Product prices range from less than $100 for small keepsake boxes to customized artistic commissions of several thousand dollars.
With strong memories of the anguish over a child's death in their own close circle, the Harvans are now trying something new; they're using Hatchfund—a crowdsourcing website that funds artistic projects—to support the donation of personalized infant urns to other grieving parents.
They've set a fundraising goal of $4,680, which will cover the cost of 10 hand-turned urns—etched with information about the child, with his or her footprints hand-carved into the lid. Hitting a stretch goal will allow production of 15 urns. Recipients will be accepted on a first-come basis through online registration at the Memento Memorials website—a process that will begin only after funding is completed.
The Harvans emphasize the project is not limited to recent deaths. Their goal is to ease some of the grief through the personal attention and care that goes into their artwork.
The Hatchfund project deadline is Nov. 15, and it was half-funded by mid-October, with information spreading primarily by word-of-mouth. A brief video about the project, and a link to Hatchfund is available at www.mementomemorials.com.
Megan Earle is a senior at John Carroll University studying journalism.