Kudzu Rising

It may surprise you to know that the Kudzu plant has a vibrant history of use for various applications – from medicinal to textile.  Until the modern era, most of this history took place in East Asia.  At present, in Southeastern U.S. there are numerous paths to Kudzu fiber harvest and use, and those who work with (and on behalf of) Kudzu are passionate about it.  One such individual is Junco Sato Pollack, who has been devoting a portion of her busy schedule as academician and studio artist to ponder the story of Kudzu in greater detail.  In my quest to gain a deeper understanding this much-maligned plant, I joined Junco for a weekend “workshop” to learn about her process.  Please visit the Dancing with Kudzu blog for an account of my visit, as well as for more information, links and amazing examples of fine weaving with Kudzu.

I am just beginning to grasp the scope of Kudzu’s use, as well as its many proponents and artisans here in the Southeast.  When we look out on the landscape, we may only see Kudzu’s insatiable hunger for more surface area over which to scramble.  Scratch a bit below the surface and we discover its ability to nourish and clothe us in myriad ways.  I think we can all benefit from a shift in attitude toward Kudzu.  Certainly, anyone who is interested in slow and sustainable textiles will want to learn more about, and work with, this truly amazing plant.

Here is the lead-in to my account of my work with Junco and kudzu:

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Lessons in Sustainability

Summer 2011 Guest Blogger, Dancing With Kudzu: Kudzu Weaving in North Georgia

I recently joined Junco Sato Pollack in Lakemont, Georgia, not far from Lake Rabun and the Tallulah River, to learn more about the Kudzu plant and its many fiber applications.  To have been able to observe and participate in this process was a great honor.  As an initiate, my understanding of Kudzu is incomplete, although I learned much during my brief time with Junco.  Many individuals are exploring this plant and its uses, particularly as it relates to textile process. . . .

Click here to view the original article.

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