Up from the Ashes: The Artisans of Volcanic Ash

What is volcanic ash? Outdoor accessories for your home

Some of our favorite outdoor-safe accessories are crafted from volcanic ash. It’s not just the natural strength and weathered patina of the organic material that we love. It’s also the story of how these hand crafted items came to be and what it means for the artisans who make them. Here is their story.

Stone wellies or rain boots made from volcanic ash

Our Stone Wellies are totally outdoor safe. Fill them with plants for a whimsical touch or use it as an umbrella stand.

In June 1991, Mount Pinatubo erupted in the Philippines, producing the second largest terrestrial eruption of the 20th century. The volcano produced high-speed avalanches of hot ash and gas, giant mudflows and a cloud of volcanic ash hundreds of miles across. On the same day, a typhoon struck the island, which mixed with the ash deposits and caused massive lahars. The ash cloud, made up of tiny fragments of pulverized rock, minerals and volcanic glass, covered an area of 48,000 square miles, bringing total darkness to much of the area and producing ashfall in places as far as away as Vietnam, Cambodia and Malaysia.  

Fortunately, successful predictions of the eruptions led to the evacuation of tens of thousands of people from the surrounding areas, saving many lives, including several thousand indigenous people who lived in the surrounding forest.

Large round orbs or spheres made from volcanic ash

Suzanne Kasler’s Monde Spheres are made from volcanic ash, making them light and appropriate for outdoor use.

However, the heavy ashfalls and many subsequent lahars severely devastated many communities and villages for years to come, and families who were forced to move could no longer depend on farming to support them. With assistance from the government, many of the evacuees found new employment by working with the very thing that had ruined their lives.

The resettled villagers began to use the abundant volcanic ash to create art, forming pottery, figurines, candle holders and more from the organic ash deposits. And because the annual rains continued to bring new volcanic ash down from the mountain, the artisans had a renewable supply of raw material for their newly established trade.  

This truly unique art is a beautiful example of how the people from Mount Pinatubo rose from the ruins and ashes to transform their own lives. And now you know that when you buy an item from us that’s made from volcanic ash, you’re supporting a sustainable living for the many artisans of Mount Pinatubo.

For more design inspiration, visit our Pinterest Boards, or find more gorgeous rooms in our Photo Gallery.

Did you like this post and find it helpful? Rate it below and share your thoughts in the comments!


About the Author:

Patricia Palermo
Patricia Palermo has been writing about home décor and design since 1999, which is when she first learned the term faux bois. She's passionate about helping others find their design style, because she believes with a little know-how and inspiration, anyone can decorate with confidence. Patricia has a degree in Journalism and lives in Atlanta with her husband and four-year-old twins.

Leave A Comment