Friday, August 24, 2012

Cemetery Folk Art Pieces - Made with Love

Hand Crafted Metal Angels
Glowing Cross
If you wander through the newer sections of some Midwestern cemeteries, you may see a few wire or metal pieces; sculptured and shaped, positioned near graves.  These may take the form of crosses, hearts, angels, even fish. 

Free Form Heart
Metal Flower
Many wire pieces have been purchased from garden supply stores and used as a special tribute to the person buried there. But some have been lovingly, and patiently, hand–crafted.

Elaborate Metal Cemetery Entrance
Arched Metal Cemetery Entrance
There is something permanent yet graceful about using wire or iron.  This could be why so many older cemeteries have the names spelled out in metal with simple or elaborate gates and arches at the entrances.

Silver Metal Crosses
Black Iron Cross
For many years, iron or metal crosses were used instead of the more traditional wooden or stone markers.

Hook for Flowers
Heart with Flags
Some pieces consist of a shepherds crook from which to hang flowers – or flags.

Black Iron Heart
Iron Heart
Other pieces have been fashioned out of iron and pounded into the desired shape.

Heart with Name
Initials with Flowers
Bendable wire is the main material used, the shapes come from someone’s desire to share a little bit about the deceased…a name, or initials.

Hand Crafted Metal Fish
A hobby, such as fishing, may be sculpted from metal.

Hook with Hummingbird
Hook with Bird

Birds may indicate the grave of a bird-lover.....

Joined Birds

Metal Sculpted Birds

Or the soul taking wing to soar......

Chain Fashioned into Hook
Metal Flywheel
Even unusual metal objects that depicted someone's  profession, or the tools of their trade have been used.

Metal Message in Heart
Sometimes a heart-felt message is left…

Hearts and Cross
Metal Hat & Flowers on Hooks
In some cemeteries, these folk art remembrances abound.

May 22, 1920
Cemetery without Metal Pieces
In others, there’s not a trace of them.

Hand Crafted Heart
But all of these cemetery folk art pieces are a way to tell a story about someone; or maybe a way to assist the craftsman in dealing with the loss of someone special – a tribute to them, a remembrance.

~ Joy

The idea of this blog post came about after two very dear friends took my husband and I to the graves of their premature triplets.  They wanted more than just a stone with names and a date, but weren’t sure what.  After some consideration they decided on angels.  The result was three detailed wire angel sculptures the father hand crafted individually and then joined together – two boys with blue ribbon halos, and one girl with a white halo.

The father also crafted the three joined fish for his grandfather who was a fisherman.  Both metal sculptures - lasting labors of love.


  1. One of my local favorites is the mechanic's grave with the engine block on it. It was considered temporary until his veteran's marker arrived, but his wife said to leave it, since it spoke more to his life than the marker!

  2. These are beautiful. Sadly many cemeteries here in the Uk don't allow them as they're considered messy.

    Beneath Thy Feet

    1. Nicola, we have some here in the States that frown on it too. I understand the cemeteries wanting to keep a clean and cared for look, but still...

  3. What a great way to show your love for the ones who have passed on. I haven't seen this desplayed in California as yet, but sure it will hit the west coast soon. Sometimes California is a little slow in catching on.