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nceca "side trip" volcanic ash

updated mon 23 jan 06


Ellen Currans on sat 21 jan 06

Dear Tom Sawyer,

When Mt. St. Helens blew we scraped up a lot of ash from the flat bed of our
truck and several good friends brought us more. For a while I had a really
hot item making tiny little cork bottles glazed in straight ash and filled with
ash, or without the corks for toothpick holders. A convention of engineers
responsible for our rivers, etc. (Army Corp. of Engineers?) was held in
Vancouver later that year and they bought over 150 for giveaways at their dinner. I
found one later in an antique shop, labeled "old" and asking two dollars more
than I sold them for.

The ash mixed with just water makes a lovely dark shiny brown glaze, similar
to Albany slip glaze, sometimes with iron crystals and oil spots. I used it
pure so they could see exactly how it melted (Cone 10 in gas reduction kiln)
but if you were going to use it very much you would need some additives to keep
it in suspension and also from falling off the pots when handling. Of course,
it could also be used as you use other ash.

I would be happy to bring some to you at NCECA - no charge. Let me know if
you are interested and how much you want to take back with you. My kids and
grandkids will thank you for helping to clear out some of the stuff in my clay
storage room (still there because I may need it some day).


Ellen Currans
Dundee, Oregon

Hank Murrow on sat 21 jan 06

On Jan 21, 2006, at 9:09 AM, Ellen Currans wrote:

> Dear Tom Sawyer,
> I would be happy to bring some St. Hellens Ash to you at NCECA - no
> charge.
> Ellen Currans, Dundee, Oregon

Say Tom;

Take Ellen up on this......... I checked with Georgies today, and it is
no longer in their catalog.

Cheers, Hank on mon 23 jan 06

>Say Tom;

>Take Ellen up on this......... I checked with Georgies today, and it is=

no longer in their catalog.

I concur. I have St Helens ash I acquired two autumns ago. Over the pa=
st couple of decades since the mountain's conflagration, much of the fin=
er material has washed out. Even after sieving it through window screen=
ing and using about 2% bentonite, it still doesn't cooperate. I'll have=
to ball mill it. I would expect Ellen's material to have a MUCH higher=
fines content.
Even if you get some of hers, you'll probably still want to add at least=
1% bentonite. Otherwise, it'll settle out in seconds (I'm not kidding!=
) and slough off the pot if you touch it (maybe even if you look at it c=
ock-eyed). For more and very good info on using St Helens ash, consult =
the archives.

Nathan Miller
Thistillium Pottery
Newberg, OR