Showing posts with label kudzu. Show all posts
Showing posts with label kudzu. Show all posts

Thursday, October 13, 2011

New Kudzu Cuff Bracelet - One Special Cuff for Becky

Whew! And She Loves It!!!

It's almost finished, a bit of last minute fine tuning
before we cast this piece. The first one will be cast in
Sterling Silver and antiqued (patina) to give it depth.
Becky's will be specials, we'll be adding a bit
of gold to hers plus a little something she asked for. 
If possible, I always like trying the piece on my
I already know this cuff is going to be
number one rule is that if the wax looks good, then
the finished piece will look awesome.
Still in the rough but I thought you might like to see
another view or two...
And now my third set of leaves. I've spent about
30 minutes just getting them proportioned correctly.
I sculpted a smaller set of three leaves and attached them
next to the larger set.
Once I've layed out my vines...Kudzu have awesome
vines, I start adding my leaves once sculpted and textured.

The piece of wood in the background, that's an instant reminder of how
I want my groves to go in my vines.
Here I am gearing up to start sculpting the Kudzu leaves. 

The leaves are very unique so I want to make sure
I have them right. Drawing out the design a couple of times makes it easy to start sculpting the leaves.
You're working out the design in your head as well.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Medium Kudzu Cuff
It has been a busy couple of months but we have finally added 7 out of the 10 pieces finished, polished, sealed and photographed. 

Hoop Earrings
 I have a lot to say about this new line but I have more to do tonight plus an Orchid Show in Ft. Pierce Sat. & Sun. where I'll be introducing the new line in Florida but I hope you like my new Kudzu Collection!

Friday, September 17, 2010

New Blog!

I would like to introduce my blog,'s everything you ever wanted to know about that darn stuff and more.

As you know we travel to some pretty amazing places and I would just like to share some of my cool findings. 
I hope you enjoy...

Got Kudzu?

Meridian Star

July 16, 2010

Got Kudzu?

Anne McKee
The Meridian Star
Got Kudzu?
MERIDIAN — We live in the Deep South – more specifically, we live in God’s Country. That’s right – East Central Mississippi, and, of course, we have KUDZU!  I must confess – when I began this column, I thought it would be a fun little take-off about the green stuff, the kudzu, you know, but as I researched, I could quickly see there is more depth (no pun intended) to the (Pueraria lobata) -- sometimes called ge’gen (Chinese.) Yes, the green leafy plant that is categorized in the pea family is a climbing, coiling, and trailing vine native to southern Japan and southeast China.

    I know -- how did it make its home so nicely in Mississippi? History reported at the time of the U.S. centennial  that was celebrated in 1876, there was an open invitation extended to foreign countries to build exhibits that featured unusual plants.  It was the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition. Uh-huh, and Japan featured kudzu.  Now it must have been a real novelty to see the elaborate Japanese gardens on display.   Oh, how the lovely dark green leaves swooped and swirled – in and out, up and down, around and around.  It was so charming – made the Americans want to plant their own lovely kudzu enhanced gardens, and that’s how it all started.

    By 1905, Americans, as enterprising as ever, sought new uses for the fast growing perennial vine. It was quickly learned the plant could be used to prevent erosion, and  as forage for cows, pigs, and goats. Some one thought of planting the stuff along highways. It was the 1930s when the Soil Conservation Service paid hundreds of men to plant kudzu, and in the 1940s, farmers were paid up to $8 an acre as well to plant the green stuff. It didn’t take too long for the U.S. to stop their promotion of the out of control vine. By 1972, kudzu was declared a weed by the USDA.  However, the plant sometimes known as “the-foot-a-night-vine” and “the vine that ate the south” was out of control. Unfortunately, Mississippi as well as the entire southeast had near-perfect conditions for the prolific growth of the vine   – hot, humid summers, frequent rainfall, temperate winters with few hard freezes and no natural predators.  Today, it is estimated, kudzu covers 7 million acres of land in the southeast. It’s hard to believe,  but some estimate the plant is spreading at a rate of 120,000 acres a year.  In Mississippi, it covers almost 250,000 acres (some estimates are higher), and kudzu causes millions of dollars of damage each year for the Magnolia State – especially in the forestry industry.

     What to do? Years have been spent developing a cost-effective remedy for managing kudzu.  One complication is the fact of the deep root growth – as deep as 4 meters. Herbicides work but must be repeated over and over for upwards to 4 to 10 years in order to be effective.  Aerial spraying has found to be the  most effective, but the most expensive as well.  Also used to eradicate the weed are prescribed burnings and the use of landscape equipment such as skid loaders.

     Could goats be the answer? In recent years,  Mississippians have seen  growth in the goat industry – yields of meat, milk and wool products.  Yes, we know goats will eat anything green – kudzu has proven to be a high-quality, high-protein food similar to alfalfa. So, kudzu-plus-goats have brought a growing market for this non-traditional meat, but we can’t rely on the goats to eradicate kudzu from our land.

    Other ideas – basket making material, kudzu paper can be produced, soaps, lotions, compost, kudzu hay, clothing or wallpaper, food products such as salad, jelly, syrup, tea, fried kudzu, ground kudzu root, kudzu boiled like turnip greens, baked as a quiche, and so many other recipes that sound yummy, sort of.  It has even been suggested that kudzu may become a valuable asset for the production of cellulosic ethanol.  WOW!

    Perhaps the most interesting kudzu fact --  for 2000 years China has used kudzu as medicine. A few areas -- remedy for alcoholism and hangovers, treatment for dysentery, allergies, migraine headaches, diarrhea, fevers, colds, intestinal problems, and other ailments.  The first Chinese medical kudzu documentation is dated 100 AD. Today the main focus for kudzu medical research worldwide is for the treatment of alcoholism. Scientists have successfully concluded through experiments with hamsters and rats that a compound in kudzu shows a repression of alcohol consumption.

   Kudzu has continued its slithery pathway into countries around the world. It has been discovered in Canada near Lake Erie as recently as July 2009. During WWII, kudzu was planted by the U.S. armed forces at Vanuatu and Fiji to camouflage their equipment – it is now out of control there as well.  The creeping plant has found to be a problem in northeastern Australia and Northern Italy.

Every situation or fact of life should have a chuckle – a little humor.  James Dickey says in his poem “Kudzu”

That you must close your windows

At night to keep it out of the house.

    And who has not enjoyed the daily comic strip created by Doug Marlette entitled Kudzu? It was known as a funny take-off about rural Southerners – hey, that’s us!  At its peak, Kudzu was syndicated in three hundred newspapers.  CBS aired a pilot for a  Kudzu sitcom on August 13, 1983. A musical based on the comic strip was staged in Washington D. C. in 1998. Mr. Marlette was killed in an auto accident on July 10, 2007, and America lost a popular comic strip.

    Well, there you have it – a short version of the “Kudzu Story.” There  is so much more to know about the little “miracle vine” that has been given the name “Kudzula” in at least one theatrical production – maybe a later column will reveal some exciting “Kudzu Breaking News!”  Perhaps this is just a “Kudzu Dream,” but if the green stuff develops a proven food, fuel, or medicinal usage, could Mississippi one day be known as the “Kudzu Capital of the World?”

    Anne B. McKee is an author and storyteller. She lives in Meridian.  Anne is listed on the Mississippi Artist Roster, sponsored by Mississippi Arts Commission, as a dramatic and literary artist and as a Teaching Artist.  She is active with the arts and educational communities throughout Mississippi.  Visit her web site:

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

"Jewelry with Southern Charm"

Introducing my first Bronze & Sterling Silver Collection.

As you can see, more designs are coming soon.

...but lately I feel more like a sculptor than a jeweler, which I'm liking a whole lot more.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Kudzu...Could this be my next cuff?

Kudzu? Let's Vote...

Kudzu Why should I be eating kudzu

Kudzu is a plant native to Japan and China. Its root has long been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine where it is considered to be among the top 50 therapeutic herbs. Practitioners of Chinese medicine use kudzu to treat a range of conditions, including excessive thirst, headaches, high blood pressure and angina. Other uses include diarrhoea, allergies, migraines, headaches and alcoholism.

Kudzu is also a useful cooking ingredient as it can be used as a gluten and corn-free thickener in soups and sauces. You can find it in health food shops and Japanese food shops.

What is it rich in?

Kudzu root contains isoflavones such as Daidzein. Animal studies indicate that Daidzein may reduce the desire for alcohol. Studies with alcoholic people show mixed results but heavy alcohol drinkers given 1000 milligrams of kudzu extract three times a day for a week significantly reduced their beer consumption. Daidzein also has anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties.

Who should eat kudzu?

  • Those suffering from high blood pressure or angina pectoris
  • Those suffering from blood sugar imbalances. The fibre in kudzu slows the release of sugar from carbohydrates thus reducing blood sugar highs and lows
  • Those with intolerances or allergies to gluten and/or corn starch can use kudzu as a thickener
  • Serving suggestion and amounts

    Therapeutic doses of kudzu vary from 10-100 milligrams of the extract 2-3 times a day. However, as a culinary root 1-2 tablespoons in a sauce is usually sufficient to thicken it.

    How interesting... And we thought it was just a pesky plant that's taking over the South!

    Any comments?