Design for pencil set made from cremated human reamains

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Here's product designer Nadine Jarvis' concept for a set of pencils made from the carbon of a cremated human body.

240 pencils can be made from an average body of ash - a lifetime supply of pencils for those left behind.

Each pencil is foil stamped with the name of the person. Only one pencil can be removed at a time, it is then sharpened back into the box causing the sharpenings to occupy the space of the used pencils. Over time the pencil box fills with sharpenings - a new ash, transforming it into an urn. The window acts as a timeline, showing you the amount of pencils left as time goes by.

Design for pencil set made from cremated human reamains

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  1. Is this a good idea? Are human remains not toxic? It may also be illegal in many states and provinces, where there are strict limitations on where ashes may be distributed.

    1. Is this a good idea? Are human remains not toxic?

      No more toxic than the remains of any other carbon-based lifeform, at least not once they’ve been through the crematorium.

      It may also be illegal in many states and provinces, where there are strict limitations on where ashes may be distributed.

      Technically yes, but in practice you can do pretty much anything with your loved ones’ ashes that you can with any other kind of ashes. It’s not like the police are going to go all CSI on you if you tell them you’re scattering the ashes from your fireplace.

      I hear that it’s a common occurrence for tourists to clandestinely scatter their loved ones at the Haunted Mansion ride at Disneyland. Of course that really means spending eternity in a vacuum cleaner bag as soon as the next cleaning shift comes through.

  2. Is the entire pencil made out of human remains, or just the “lead” in the middle? If it’s the latter, it would make the writing much more important; you would have to constantly consider what would happen to the paper. And you’ll just end up, in the end, with a box of pencil shavings.

    If you write in the right places, it turns into a very pretty way of spreading ashes. But I still think I want to be made into diamonds when I kick it.

  3. That’s a really clever design, and clever in more than one way which is rare! Now if you really want to make it hardcore, replace pencils with cigars.

  4. That is surprisingly tasteful. I’m quite impressed with the whole idea, and the circularity of the shavings going back into the box is nice.

  5. While an interesting idea, this is not a feasible project. Modern cremation would be unsuitable for this purpose as the temperatures required by law (1400-2100 F) are sufficient to ensure oxidiation of all carbon into CO2. Modern cremains consist almost entirely of bone fragments.

  6. I had a similar idea back when I heard about those companies making diamonds out of your loved ones but of course I didn’t have the initiative to do anything with it. I like the idea of a memorial portrait drawn with one’s own mortal remains.

  7. I am undecided. It is definitely more tasteful than I thought it was going to be, but a part of me that absentmindedly chew on pencils finds it…..icky.

  8. Considering the rate at which I’m always loosing pencils, this would not be a good medium around me.

    On the other hand, if the ashes are supposed to be spread…

    1. Yup. Grotesque and comedic. Tasteful is not on the radar here. I mean, what? My loved one died and all I got was this lousy box of pencils?

      Also, how could the pencil box possibly manage to ensure that only one pencil is outside the box at any given time? And what happens if you lose the active pencil? If you ever wanted to write again, then you’d have to get in there and defeat the mechanism. Probably this would involve a screwdriver, a piece of bent wire, and a hammer…

      The tastefulness rapidly becomes overwhelming.

      Personally, I’d just as soon have my carbon content re-purposed into a monogrammed BBQ briquette.

  9. i decided several years ago that having my ashes put into pencils is what i want done with my body. i will be forever spread in artwork and tedium, just as i lived.

    that case is pretty, but i’d prefer to not be kept in an “urn” like that, when a coffee cup next to the rest of the writing utensils seems more fitting.

    -T

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