Portion Urn – matte green


Portion Urn – matte green


One of a kind functional pottery by Sumi Von Dassow

  • Glazed stoneware.
  • Jar is 8 1/2 inches tall including lid.  Opening has a 3 1/2 inch diameter opening.
  • Twist to lock lid. This isn’t a permanent or air-tight seal.
  • Sumi lives in Golden, CO.

A standard urn should be large enough to hold all of the cremains of a normal sized person. The general rule of thumb is to assume you need one cubic inch per pound of body weight. To translate this into terms you can visualize, a liter is equivalent to approximately 60 cubic inches, so a normal person would need two to three liters of volume, or roughly half to three-quarters of a gallon.

Often several individuals each want a portion of a loved one’s cremains, which is what portion urns are for. Alternatively, part of the cremains are to be scattered and only a portion kept in an urn. Therefore, portion urns are smaller, and may be made in sets.

1 in stock

Why do I Make Cremation Urns?

There are a lot of answers to this question. I could say, because I’m at an age where I start to think about such things more. Or I could say because there is a market for them, which is another way of saying people seem to want and need hand-made urns. In my three decades of pottery-making I have made quite a few urns; some on commission, sometimes selling what I thought was a cookie jar to someone who wanted it for an urn, and sometimes making a lid for a piece which started life as a vase. After a couple of decades of this, I started trying to figure out the elements of a really good urn.

First of all, I wanted to design forms which were elegant and graceful, or round and generous, and didn’t look like a cookie jar. I also had to get the size right, though of course there is a need for larger and smaller urns, and sometimes people want to divide up the cremains of a loved one among several family members, or only keep a portion and scatter the rest, so I wanted to make a variety of sizes.


Then, I needed to get the lid right. I wanted a lid which fits closely, isn’t likely to fall off and doesn’t invite the casual looker to lift it up. Some people seal the lid with silicone glue, but I wanted to design a locking lid so the urn can be opened if necessary, for instance, if you want to scatter the cremains or divide them at some time in the future. So, I came up with several different styles of lid, some which lock on, some which might have to be sealed. I paid particular attention to the knobs, trying to avoid the standard, practical round cookie jar knob. I thought of the knob as a focal point or a finial, a finishing touch. As the highest point on the urn I wanted each knob to make a statement. So some are like a church steeple, others like a fan, a hat, or a crown.