Myths and Realities of the Kudzu Plant: On re-patterning, pigment, and entanglement

October 10th, 2019

Ellie irons describes how Natchez Fieldwork Station: Open Studio participants engaged in a sensorial manner with the uncultivated—and often unwanted—kudzu plant, through a process of creating watercolor paints from their blossoms and leaves.

A pop up open studio and fieldwork station was undertaken as part of on-the-ground research for Field Station 5 project Re-Patterning with Kudzu: Reckoning in Search of Regeneration. Artist Ellie Irons collected wild and weedy plants, including kudzu, from disturbed landscapes dominated by such species in Natchez and brought them to the carefully groomed grounds of the former Melrose Plantation (now a National Historical Park). In the shade of a large live oak rumored to be hundreds of years old, surrounded by a monoculture of carefully mowed turf grass, Irons invited participants to engage in a sensorial manner with these uncultivated—and often unwanted—plants through a process of creating watercolor paints from their blossoms and leaves.