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When Ordinary Won't Do!

by George T. (Terry) Chapman
Fairburn, GA

Note: Click on any picture to see a larger version.

Clark McMullen does what you would really like to do — he makes a living turning wood. Clark and his company, Artistic Urns, Inc. , make beautiful urns for the funeral home industry.

Box Elder

We all like to turn things. It is just that most of us have to give our stuff away because nobody will buy it. Clark has found a way to sell his stuff and make a good living at it. According to his bio, he studied with Rude Osolnik and Ed Moulthrop, and has exhibited with galleries across the world. He's probably a better turner than you are, but what I admire even more is his business acumen.

Go to his website and what you will see is a whole display of funeral urns ranging in price from six hundred to several thousand dollars. They are beautiful to say the least, but what is more impressive to me is his sales approach. Click on over to "Distributors" and you will probably see your local funeral home listed. His site is set up so that when you visit your local funeral home his site pops up on their computer under their banner and you can pick out any one of Clark's urns.

Ambrosia Maple

I talked to Clark a good bit about turning and lathes the other day. Now understand, I am pretty proud of my Oneway 1640 from Highland . Not everybody has got one that size and mine is a serious machine. But I am a piker when it comes to lathes. Clark's shop has twenty (yes, I said twenty!) lathes. One of his lathes even has a hydrostatic transmission similar to that on a farm tractor, for goodness sake. Clark and his team have all the gear you could need to turn out a large volume of work.

My co-worker, Brad, a Videographer/Editor at Zimmerman Productions in Henry County, Georgia, went up to Clark's shop and made two very good videos of the turning process. The first one is of Clark making the classic funeral urn from a large chunk of wood:

The second video is the making of a smaller acorn shaped memorial keepsake with a screw-on cap:

Miniature Acorn Keepsake Urn

I really admire Clark's work. And if you need an urn, you know where to find one.

Callery Pear

Silver Maple


Cherry Burl

If you have any questions you can email Terry at cdeinc@mindspring.com

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