The other day when I was sweeping up the ashes from my fireplace, I paused to look at the benign powdery stuff in my dust pan with wonder. For wasn’t it this ash (which I was in the process of sweeping away) that created those interesting, unreplicable surfaces on the wood fired pots that I so loved? I wondered what result these ashes might yield in a cone 6 oxidation kiln. With that idea in mind, I aborted my cleaning plans, carefully collected the ashes in a container and rushed to my studio. The first thing I needed to do was to clean the ashes, so I passed them through a kitchen sieve to remove the debris. I then mixed the clean powdery residue with water to make a slurry. The consistency of the slurry was more like a thin glaze. It was surprising to see how all those ashes resulted in such a little yield. My experimental ash glaze fit into a little plastic mouthwash cup! Luckily, I had a bisqued tea bowl at hand, ready for testing the ash-water slurry glaze. I sprayed some areas of the tea bowl with a smattering of white slip and the slurry, making sure to vary its thickness around the pot. I loaded the experimental piece along with other pots and fired the kiln. The firing and cooling seemed to take an agonizingly long time. But when I finally got my hands on the tea bowl I was intrigued by the results. Areas where the application of ash was thick, it formed wet brown beads and in thin areas it gave the piece a speckled variegated surface, a rather interesting and pleasant result from an oxidation firing. The promising results of the ashes in cone 6 firing has opened up a whole new area of experimentation for me. My next goal is to try a glaze recipe where the most prominent ingredient is ash. In the meantime, my problem is that the weather has become a bit warm to use the indoor fireplace so either I have to find an alternate source of ashes or burn some wood in the backyard for my project. It seems ironic that the ashes that I had so carelessly swept away in the past have become a thing to covet!