This unique journal cover is crafted from paper made from kudzu vines harvested in upstate South Carolina. The collage on the cover is Nancy Basket’s unique interpretation of the South Carolina state flag.
The South Carolina state flag reminds us of its role in the American Revolution. The flag also reflects elements of the state’s Civil War heritage drawing from a design that was formulated for a national banner when the state seceded from the Union on December 20, 1860. Components of the current state flag were first seen in 1765 on a banner carried by South Carolina protesters of the Stamp Act. The banner that the protesters hoisted displayed three white crescents on a blue background. Ten years later, in 1775, Colonel William Moultrie was asked by the South Carolina Revolutionary Council of Safety to design a banner for the use of South Carolina troops. Colonel Moultrie chose a simple design that displayed the crescent (new moon) on a blue field. The new flag was the same blue as that of the soldiers’ uniforms, and the silver crescent echoed the symbol that the soldiers wore on the front of their caps.
Almost 100 years later, South Carolina seceded from the Union it had fought to create. A new banner was needed to fly above the newly formed nation. Many designs were reviewed, but the General Assembly settled on one, simple change to Moultrie’s Revolutionary War design. A Palmetto tree was added and centered on the blue field. The Palmetto, the state tree of South Carolina , played a key role in Colonel Moultrie’s defense of Sullivan’s Island against an attack by British warships in June, 1776. Cannonballs fired at the fort from the British ships could not destroy the walls of the fort which were built of Palmetto logs. Instead, the cannonballs simply sank into the soft, tough Palmetto wood.
The flag that flies over the state of South Carolina today is of the same design that flew over independent South Carolina during the Civil War. [thanks to netstate, llc for information on the SC flag.]
In 1989, Nancy Basket began experimenting with the “notorious” kudzu vine after moving to the Carolinas to be close to the Cherokee Reservation. Nancy shares her Native American heritage through her art and by the retelling of ancient legends. She says of her work,” I feel the Old Ones guiding my fingers and I am proud to be making something beautiful.” A contemporary basket maker and fiber artist, Nancy takes her name from the work she does and from her Cherokee grandmother, Margaret Basket. Nancy is an artist-in-education in basketry, papermaking, and storytelling in the Carolinas.
Native to the Orient, kudzu vine grows 12 inches daily. Asians use every part of the plant. Kudzu roots, weighing up to 400 pounds, are ground into powder and used as a thickener in cooking. Vines are processed and exported as grass-cloth wallpaper and are woven into expensive clothing, once used as gifts for emperors. Leaves have been used for hundreds of years in medicinal teas and a wide variety of foods. The purple flowers smell like grape bubble gum and are used in jelly-making. In the 1920’s, kudzu was imported to the southern U.S. as a ground cover for erosion control. Today, because of its prodigious, unchecked growth, it is considered a menace.
Nancy hopes to change folks’ opinions about kudzu from that of a maligned and laughed at weed into that of a new and inexhaustible source of tree-free paper.
Journals with this design will soon be for sale at our Etsy Store, our Journal Store and always at Pixel Point in downtown Anderson, South Carolina.