The Sonoma Ash Project
After the destruction of last year’s Sonoma County wildfires, ceramicist Gregory Roberts launched the Sonoma Ash Project, wherein he turned ash into meaningful ceramics. Roberts asked his neighbors to donate ash from the wildfires they personally experienced. To his surprise, more than 140 people have donated thus far, some leaving notes explaining the value of what they left with him. The diversity of color and texture is astonishing. Roberts goal is to give everyone back a piece of pottery glazed with the ashes they saved. The Project had multiple goals to achieve. One of the most important was to present homeowners and community members with a creative object made from the material left behind; acknowledging the loss they have felt. A second was the to provide the community of participants with an opportunity for a shared commemoration of the fires. When the fires displaced families from their home, they also tore through long-standing community bonds. The unveiling of the 140 plus objects would be part of an event, where new community bonds can be formed. The Tubbs fire was devastating on many levels but hopefully, by offering a meaningful object; the participants can remember that their community will heal, bonds will re-grow and the ash will keep us all connected.
Since the fires cooled in November, members of the Sonoma community have been dropping of plastic bags, mason jars and Tupperware containers of ash from their homes to my front porch. The ash sample is entered into a database then numbered and processed for use in a ceramic glaze. In October 2018, all 140 plus objects will be exhibited at the Museums of Sonoma County in Santa Rosa CA for the one year commemoration exhibition. Each person who has dropped off ash will receive a porcelain object made from the ashes of their home, in the likeness of the iconic Round Barn, which was also destroyed in the fires.
Some samples arrive in mason jars, others in plastic baggies. All are deposited in a bin on the porch, and many are labeled with tape and permanent marker: names, phone numbers, addresses. A few of the samples look smooth, almost silky, like fine beach sand. Others are coarse, like freshly ground pepper. The colors range from silvery-white to charcoal—possibly a hint about what that particular flame had devoured.
The Sonoma Ash Project has multiple goals to achieve. One of the most important goals is to present homeowners and community members with a creative object made from material left behind, acknowledging the loss they have felt.
Second is to provide this community of participants with an opportunity for shared commemoration of the event. When the fires displaced families from their home, they also tore through long standing community bonds.
Ash Collection - Nov. - April 30th ~ Completed
Materials & Testing
This proposal is seen as a way to recognize the project goals and the risks the hazardous material represents. All necessary precautions will be taken for the safe handling of the materials provided. ~ Completed
Creating Objects for 140 + Participants
The object created will be hand thrown covered vessels made from high-fire porcelain. This requires two firings; bisque and glaze. ~ In progress
June 1, 2018 dinner event for all participants to meet and reconnect. ~ Completed
Phase V - Exhibition at the Museums of Sonoma County, October 2018.
Tax deductible donations to the Sonoma Ash Project are greatly appreciated and can be made via the project’s fiscal sponsor, the Museums of Sonoma County.
1000lbs Porcelain $800.
Glaze materials $350.
Firing Costs : $1500.
Exhibition Costs : $5000
How to Contribute : Museums of Sonoma County is a proud fiscal sponsor of the Sonoma Ash Project. Support this project by clicking here and selecting “Sonoma Ash Project” from the program drop-down menu.