Kudzu Fiber Workshop – Saturday, July 21, 9am – 6pm
Our newly forming Kudzu Collective and Local Cloth are excited to facilitate a workshop that explores the ancient processes of harvesting, cooking, retting, and rinsing kudzu vine fiber. This lustrous, dynamic fiber has been used for thousands of years in various parts of Asia to make rope, cloth, and paper. Kudzu is so abundant in our bioregion, and the Kudzu Collective is committed to promoting this culture of use. Join us in exploring the vast story kudzu has to tell us, and bring your ideas of how its fibers can be used for fiber art!
Instructors Justin Holt, Zev Friedman, and Lauren Bacchus, along with kudzu co-conspirators, will guide workshop participants in hands-on kudzu vine processing throughout the morning. We will begin the day harvesting in a nearby urban kudzu patch, and then work together to rinse already retted fiber (retted means “rotted,” so prepare for a stink!). Wear clothes that you don’t mind getting wet and a little messy.
During lunchtime we will hear the story of kudzu, an intriguing tale of many layers, and introduce the group to the culinary and medicinal benefits of kudzu root starch, another valuable co-product of this useful plant. Participants will also get to try samples of dishes crafted with our own, locally made kudzu starch!
Throughout the afternoon, we will then work with processed kudzu fibers to explore how the material responds to various manipulations. Pre-processed fibers will be provided for participants to make a woven bookmark or bracelet on a d.i.y. cardboard loom. Feel free to bring a small loom or other spinning and weaving equipment to experiment with. Additional pre-processed fibers will be available for purchase.
Don’t miss this unique workshop that encompasses ecology, sustainability, anthropology, fiber art, and so much more!
Date: Saturday, July 21
Hours: 9am – 6pm (lunch and Story of Kudzu 12:30 – 2pm)
Instructions for Participants: Please pack a lunch, bring clothes that can get a little wet and messy, hand pruners if you have them, gloves, hat/sunscreen/water bottle. Tea, coffee, and light snacks will be provided.
Kudzu Root Camp: March 16-18, 2018
Join us for the 8th annual Kudzu Root Camp in Sylva, NC. This event is part workshop, part experimental skill share, part seasonal wildcrafting camp, part cozy retreat with like-minded collaborators and learners. We take a deep dive into the ecology, ethnobotany, history, and possibilities of kudzu, exploring what this highly versatile and abundant plant can teach us about our human ecology here in southern Appalachia and beyond. With the guidance of instructors Zev Friedman and Justin Holt, along with a handful of other experienced kudzu harvesters, participants will go through the process of producing starch from kudzu roots. We’ll also share many dishes made with our kudzu starch produced during last year’s Root Camp.
There is no charge for Kudzu Root Camp. We instead request that participants give what they can, with a suggested donation of $25-50/day (no one turned away for lack of funds), and also request that they take on a specific, simple role each day to contribute to the kudzu processing camp running smoothly (for example, roles include making coffee and tea, gathering sticks for firewood, keeping an eye on kids).
As for meals, each participant is asked to provide ingredients for and cook one meal for all the other participants. There is a full kitchen and we will provide cooking staples like oil, salt, spices, etc. This approach to meals turns out to contribute nicely to the intimate, village vibe that emerges at this annual, seasonal event.
Kudzu Camp is for all ages.
Here’s approximately what a day at Camp looks like:
7:30-8:00- coffee and tea and hangout
8:00-8:30- breakfast served
8:30-9:00- morning circle, logistics (and finish breakfast)
9:00-10:30- educational segment/discussing kudzu process
10:30-12:30- kudzu process
1:30-5:30- kudzu process
7:30- evening activity
On Friday, we will focus on digging and do some fiber exploration in the evening.
On Saturday, we will have an in-depth educational session covering numerous aspects of kudzu from a variety of perspectives, as well as finish digging and move into starch processing. Saturday is Kudzu Open Mic Night! Bring a wild song, story, poem, game, something for show and smell…
On Sunday, we will focus mostly on wrapping up root processing.
Send an email to KudzuCulture@gmail.com to register.
If you can’t come to Camp but you’re interested in purchasing fresh kudzu root, see here.