Return to the Earth: A Contemplative Clay Experience

Return to the Earth: A Contemplative Clay Experience

Marjory Zoet Bankson

Details & Online Registration

Program information

Cost: Sliding Scale $500, $375, $250

Have you ever thought about transporting the ashes of a loved one to a favorite beach and wished the container would just dissolve? Or thought about making your own burial urn? This mid-week workshop will offer you a contemplative experience of making an unfired burial urn or simply using clay as a meditative practice. No special tools or prior experience are needed.

We will begin by exploring the nature of clay and death as a return to the earth. As the earth’s layer of memory, an impression made in wet clay will last forever unless water “melts” it back into mud.  And clay vessels, fired for more permanence or unfired as a temporary container, were used for eons to hold the ashes of loved ones in cultures around the world. Art and craft join hands in clay because it is so pliable and available everywhere.

In our time, as people move away from embalming toward more natural practices around death, there is new interest in making biodegradable urns by hand. That’s what we will be doing together.

I’ll be assisted by Jean Brown, founder of the Earthen Hands ministry at Church of the Saviour. We’ll provide just enough instruction to guide and support you in our exploration of clay and death as a gift of life.

Marjory Zoet Bankson is an author, artist, and seasoned spiritual guide. After time as a professional potter, Marjory attended Virginia Seminary and then led Faith@Work for 20 years. During that period, she began making unfired burial urns for friends. Her books include Call to the Soul, Creative Aging, The Soulwork of Clay and Stalking the Spirit. Now, as president of Church of the Saviour in Washington DC, she publishes a quarterly newsletter, Callings, for the wider CoS community and curates the CoS website,