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:

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I've just started on this piece but it is turning out to be just too cool!

This was my brain thoughts when my husband told me that we really needed to add a man's line to our collections.
First: sculpted wood-like cuff with a fishing hook stuck in it....had to cut fishing line. Second: Hook and a lure stuck in wood cuff. Third: Kill the wood...hook, anchor cuff design. Fourth: Vintage anchor, no hook. Fifth: Really cool vintage anchor, found the KILLICK!
That's it...high five!!!!

Some of you may know what a Killick is but for those who don''s a small anchor, especially one made with a stone in a wooden frame.

There are many versions of a killick but this one was pretty awesome and a no-brainier for a piece of jewelry. It will have a stone, we are working on that one.

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Friday, September 10, 2010

Hugh Whisnant, my Dad's painting...

My father's painting...

...looking through some of my old snap shots, I ran across this picture I took of my fathers
painting in his studio. It has the spot lights reflecting off the glass but I think you can
see his talent. He painted in Opaque water-color, generally known as gouache and we still have all of his prints available if anyone is interested. Each one of his painting took approximately 1 years to print.

It's a pretty awesome painting.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Calla Lily Pendant

This Calla Lily Pendant features a highly detailed calla lily leaf next to the flowing polished 
Calla Lily Flower with a solid 14K yellow gold spadix. (center stem)

Materials: 14K Solid Yellow Gold and Sterling Silver 92.5
Length: 3.25"
Width: 1.35"
Chain sold Separately
Made in US

Monday, August 30, 2010

Bamboo Curved Earrings

Bamboo Collection:  
Curved Bamboo Post Earrings 

Bold yet elegant 14k solid gold bamboo leaves artfully adorn these beautiful sterling silver bamboo stems.

Total Length:  2"
Materials: 14K yellow gold & 92.5 Sterling Silver

Price: $449.00

Made in the USA by "ME" purchase, click here.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

This is my daddy, Hugh Whisnant

He has become my new found inspiration even though he is no longer with us.

He died about 8 years ago, and although he never really taught me how to paint or draw, I think you can see that a little bit of him rubbed off on me.
It would be nice to show him what I am doing now, I think he would be proud.
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New! An impressive 62ct London Blue Topaz to adorn my Ocean Reef Cuff.


For additional information, Click Here
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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Large Round Bamboo Ring

Can I say that I just LOVE this ring! When sculpting the ring in wax, I would slip it on just to make sure it would be comfortable, not too big, etc...and once we cast the final piece, was perfect, I wouldn't change a thing on this ring.

Rows of bamboo with my signature bamboo leaves laying on top.

Description: Rows of bamboo with my signature bamboo leaves laying on top.

Materials: Sterling Silver & 14K Solid Yellow Gold Leaves
Oval Top: 7/8" x 1 3/16"
Available Sizes: 5-9
Cost: $369.00