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Who Would You Like to See on a Cremation Urn? Your Pet? Glenn Beck?

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My condition hasn’t yet been diagnosed, but the symptoms include unbridled and obsessive rage at right-wingers that erupted with the so-called election of George W. Bush and generalized to include Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, Donald Rumsfeld, water-boarding defenders, John McCain, and Sarah Palin as well as Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter, most everyone on Fox TV, and many Tea Party members. It will, I suspect, one day be known as Keith Olbermann Syndrome.


With no available treatment, I turned to mosaic art, the French style of pica assiette, which uses broken plates. On eBay, I found American flag plates, allowing me to create appropriate red, white, and blue designs on cremation urns, inserting pictures of those I abhor. Previously I’d been designing beautiful functional art—vases, picture frames, lamps, planters, and candlestick holders—but the political pieces on my new online boutique (Sybilsage.com) intrigued the New York Times, which recently featured what I call the Breaking News Series, those that address America’s current political, economic, and environmental crises. Getting to decide who’s bad enough to deserve a spot on an urn is empowering, which has turned this into mosaic therapy.


In addition to the right-wing urn, I created American Beauties—elected officials who’d had sex scandals: John Ensign, John Edwards, Elliot Spitzer, Rudy Giuliani, Mark Sanford, and others. The financial-fraud urn shows corporate logos (Halliburton, BP) and ponzi schemers. The job-loss urn uses pink slips and the national debt clock, along with a host of depressing messages.


These pieces helped channel my anger while my tabletop functional art has proven to be popular with those looking for unusual gifts. I take custom orders and can personalize the work with initials of newlyweds, name of new baby, “love” spelled out in baby beads. But for rancor and revenge, there’s nothing more satisfying than putting a despised face on an urn. The urns, incidentally, can also be personalized so you can keep a loved one or a hated one, complete with photos, in your home … to help you honor your loss or anger.

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