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Archive for June, 2010

Hemp and Japan- Jomon Ceramics

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

Hemp has been used for thousands of years in different cultures around the world, but maybe no culture has deeper hemp roots than Japan.  In this several part blog series, we will look at how the history of Japan is intertwined with hemp, going back thousands of years.

The first era of Japan is known at the Jomon period, which goes back to before 14,000 BC (WOW!!).  This was the early plantings of the seeds that would grow into modern civilization, before the written word.  This time is and is known for the birth of major accomplishments, like the development of agriculture and ceramics.

Jomon actually translates roughly to “pattern of cords”, referring to a specific type of ceramic decoration technique.  Jomon style ceramics are characterized by a texture made by impressing a cord into the clay while it is soft.

Not only were the Japanese developing agriculture techniques for Hemp, but they used hemp cord to permanently make a mark on one of their major cultural accomplishments- ceramics.  Hemp cord cannot last for 10,000 years (it’s strong, but not THAT strong!).  However, ceramic evidence shows that twine, rope, and cords, were very important to this culture, long before the invention of ducktape.    It a generally accepted fact that most of these cords, if not all of them, were made of hemp.

As a ceramic artist as well as hemp advocate, I have been influenced by Jomon ceramics.  I began experimenting, using hemp cord to make a “Jomon” pattern in my own pottery.  I decided that the hemp influence wasn’t clear enough.  So I took it a step further, making deeper indentations and then actually incorporating hemp.    Let me know if you like it!! (with a comment, duh)

BP Oil Spill Could be Cleaned up with Hemp

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

This BP crisis makes me incredibly angry.  They’ve barely spent $2 billion on cleanup, and earlier tonight, people donate over $ 1.3 million in two hours to clean up BPs spill.   We spent almost as much as BP on the spill!! At 1.3 million dollars every two hours, we would have raised over $$1.95 billion in the past 63 days!!!

What really makes me mad is all of the things that they could have done but didn’t.  For example, I read an article just one week after the disaster on 4/20, that there are microbes that eat oil, and even PRODUCE OXYGEN as a byproduct.  This was already tested and verified to be effective, and in fact, there was a company that had a large amount in stock, and if needed, could produce more very quickly.  It was the PERFECT answer!!  A week later, I read a similar article; apparently that hadn’t actually used it, because they still had more chemical dispersants left, I guess.

http://eraven.franklinpierce.edu/exch/58/oil%20spill.jpg

I remembered another article I had seen and recovered an even better one. It of course, relates to hemp. Based on the below article, I posit (although it’s never really been tested) that hemp could be used to help clean up the oil disaster.

Hemp’s actually has several long lost cousins.  I sometimes think bamboo is a long lost cousin, the two fastest growing land plants used to race each other….Anyways, another distant cousin is the plant crop kenaf.   A fiber crop that can grow on marginal land, kenaf can be used to make twine (although not nearly as strong as hemp), but also can be used for paper products, bio composite materials, and cellulosic ethanol.  Kenaf is not actually much unlike hemp without the hempseed.

Here is an interview from a North Carolina farmer, who says that his kenaf could be used to absorb some of the oil.  To take it a step further, he says that it will synergize with the microbes and provide even more food for the hungry microbes.  The EPA says they will conduct a study…. when they should conduct a study by TRYING IT IMMEDIATELY!!

Hemp could do the exact same thing, but would probably work better.

NC Farmer talks about how hemp could be used to clean up the oil spill



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