Bonner Springs ceramic artist creates niche in cremation urn-making

BONNER SPRINGS, Kan. — Forever is a long time. That’s the time period an artist from Wyandotte County addresses each time he goes to work. He believes his ceramic talents can keep a loved one alive.

As the potter’s wheel spins, Trent Freeman turns out creations meant to last a lifetime and beyond. Five years ago the professional artist had never made a cremation urn, but then something changed.

“I had a dream,” Freeman said. “I made three of those.”

And when a local funeral director spotted his work, the dream turned into dollars.

“Over the last four years, it’s turned out to be something nice,” Freeman said.

Since then, his focus has been on making personalized ceramic urns, meant to hold the remains of a loved one. Freeman says he hand crafts each one of them in his basement studio in Bonner Springs.

“What I’m creating here is heirlooms,” Freeman said. “They’re not just holding the remains of our loved ones. There’s a story behind all of that.”

He says it’s those stories he’s trying to protect. Freeman says he’s found that after three generations, families often lose track of their own heritages.

“After about three generations, no one goes to a cemetery anymore and we forget who we are and where we came from,” Freeman said.

Some of Freeman’s urns come with special compartments for storing the loved one’s keepsakes. Others incorporate glass, wood and steel in addition to the fired clay. A basic one will cost you around $500. The ones FOX 4 found online cost less than $100.

Freeman even holds classes, teaching about a dozen others to make these urns and in turn, chase their own careers in ceramics.

DeSoto resident Todd Moler lost his father after a long illness six years ago. He keeps his father’s remains in a unique Freeman-made urn on his mantle.

Moler described his late father as an outdoorsman and a “glorified hippie.” Freeman modeled the Moler urn to include a small section of a driftwood walking stick, the kind his father was known for carrying.

“Whenever I look at it, it reminds me of my dad,” Moler said. “Just understanding the technique and why it was made like that, it’s that personalized touch.”

“It’s not morbid,” Freeman added. “This is where God put me. I’m supposed to be doing this for people.”

Freeman is a graduate of Emporia State. He says he hopes to connect with hospice workers in the coming year as his business continues to grow.

Click here to visit Freeman Studios’ website.

Click here to see Sean McDowell’s FOX 4 Facebook page.