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Michelle Kaisersatt Ceramic Cremation Urns

by Polly Giantonio

Ceramic cremation urn artist Michelle Kaisersatt at work.


“A mindful life: Creative, resourceful, inventive.” This statement of life belongs to artist Michelle Kaisersatt. Her art reflects an intimate and engaging approach.

After spotting Michelle’s booth at a local artist fair in Minneapolis, we fell in love with her work. Ira, president of OneWorld Memorials, views Michelle’s work as “a reflection of a sensitive artist who has a lot of compassion and feeling for human existence.” After visiting Michelle’s studio, Ira wanted to make her urns known and available to our customers. 

Her spacious studio alongside the Minnesota River allows her to “imagine with ease.”

In Michelle’s words:

Through the years [my first studio] has held a very dear place in my heart. For that is where I was immersed in the smell, sounds, and sights of nature for hours on end, bringing the tranquility and awe of nature into my pieces. To this day - it is a spiritual place for me.
After I ’throw' a piece on the wheel, I reflect and study, waiting for inspiration. Many times, when those elements arrive, I sketch them out on my pad, altering what I need to make it flow into the perfect design for the piece. Then I settle in with my tools, carving away the clay, revealing the essence of the inspiration. 


What differentiates Michelle’s notable urns? To begin with, she considers them “reverent, with attention and intention … they are unique one of a kind - keepsakes for those dear to us.” Her pieces reflect a contemporary vision and are inspired by her reverence for nature. They appear on Pinterest and Etsy, as well as in shops such as the Minneapolis Institute of Art Museum Shop.

Early on in her creative path, Michelle found that she maintained patience while carving in clay – more so than she had when experimenting in other art forms. She began creating and carving vases. This eventually led to urns. It gives Michelle great joy when someone chooses an urn for ashes because it resonates as a way to memorialize a loved one. 

In designing her pieces, she moves fluidly between art nouveau creations and those inspired by nature. We asked Michelle to comment on a few of her favorites. 

Without hesitation, Michelle spoke of the Nurturing Hands Ceramic Cremation Urn. The vertical length of the vessel represents two loving hands moving upward. At the very top and in the center sits a sphere, the urn’s cover that she likens to a person’s spirit. Another contemporary design dear to her heart is the Peace Entwining Urn. Of this, Michelle comments that the piece embodies movement through its hand-carved lines and intertwining laces.

Michelle also draws on her relationship with nature. She incorporates stylized representations that enliven an urn with a spirit of profound respect and awe. 

Honored across cultures and time, the heron represents grace and nobility. Michelle’s Heron on the Shore Ceramic Urn features hand-etched detail and urn legs that appear as stones on which the heron is standing. A heron often flew back and forth near Michelle’s home studio. She observed its magnificence, determination, independence and content solitude. Her urn embodies its essence.

The Water Lilies Ceramic Cremation Urn is another favorite. Finding water lilies on a nearby lake, she began photographing them. When the moment arrived and she felt an intimacy with the beauty and wonder of the lilies, she designed and created this unique urn. 

How is it possible to choose the “right” urn for ashes in the flood of emotions following a loved one’s death? In Michelle’s words, when choosing a cremation urn consider: “Integrity. Intention. Celebration. Those are the elements that need to be brought back to the forefront of the decision making process.” 

How often does a piece of artwork integrate a sensitivity to losing a child, awareness of mortality, the grace of something divine, and a unique, finely-honed talent? Michelle accomplishes all of this in her line of infant urns and children urns. The Sweet Clovers Infant Cremation Urn is a beautiful example. 

Read more about Michelle at her website. If you’re in the vicinity, check out her Keyhole Studio in St. Peter, Minnesota.

Polly Giantonio has developed and co-facilitated workshops and classes on creativity and poetry. She has taught students of all ages, and mentored in a volunteered capacity. Her greatest daily wish is to be kind and to experience life as a gift. Her poems have appeared in various journals including The Wisconsin Review, The Café Review, and the Aurorean.