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    • #24594
      Garry
      Participant

      One of the groups of bells I collect are what I call “Historical Bells”. I define these as bells having to do with some sort of historical event. Often they are not overly valuable in and of themselves, but serve as a reminder of past events.

      A sub group of this are ‘volcanic’ bells mostly made of ashware or volcanic rock. I present for you here, one which I collected a couple days ago. This bell is from Cougar, Washington, USA and is made by Cougar Ceramics & Gifts ( a small shop of about 6 employees) out of the ash fallout from the Mt. St. Helen’s eruption of May 18, 1980. 57 people lost their lives when the side of the volcano gave way, due to an earthquake, exposing the magma chamber and causing the resulting explosion. This released a pyroclastic flow (hot gasses and ash) that travel at speeds that are impossible to outrun. (This is the same type of volcanic activity that took out the ancient city of Pompeii in Italy.) The small town of Cougar on SR 503 was evacuated for six months because of the 1980 volcanic eruption.

      This approximately 4 inch tall bell shows the St. Helens Ashware mark with LD initials on swirl clay leaf dish, and includes the hang tag. I haven’t been able to find out who the LD stands for, but the consensus appears to be that this is the initials of the potter/artist.

      I also find it interesting that the coloring is so light. Most of the other ashware bells I have are much darker to the dark midnight black of the Mexican ashware bells.

      Garry

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    • #24600
      beausone
      Participant

      Garry, I found this business through an internet search on cougar wa pottery and subsequent links: http://www.yelp.com/biz/st-helens-ashware-cougar-ceramics-cougar Perhaps a call to them might lead you to identifying LD. There are several items for these products listed on eBay, and the search came up with a lot of pictures for them. Good luck, Ailene

    • #24612
      lexxaus
      Participant
    • #24621
      Garry
      Participant

      Thanks Ailene!
      Yes, I have been trying to contact them, haven’t heard back yet. The other sellers mentioned, including ebay, don’t seem to be definitive. A couple other sites I came across mentioning them, suggest that it’s the ‘artists’ initials but that they don’t really know. Still looking – but that’s half the fun!

      Garry

    • #29402
      sarahann
      Member

      Hi Garry,

      I’m not a bell collector, but a geologist who collects ceramics in general. I found this article from 1987 that mentions a Lynne Birch making ashware in Cougar. I realize those initials are different from your’s, but this is the first actuall name I’ve come across when researching Cougar ashware. Hope it helps! https://www.upi.com/Archives/1987/11/15/Fallout-from-Mount-St-Helens-Ash-has-erupted-into-cottage-industry/3729563950800/

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