Our coalition speaker for July was Amelia Williams, artist/poet/activist from the Rockfish Valley area of Nelson County. This PhD English major has poems in several publications, and a book, Walking Wildwood Trail. Her latest venture is catching a great deal of attention: She is planting copyrighted art works with poems incorporated along the path of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (with proceeds donated to Wild Virginia for the battle against construction). When the proposed pipeline path was changed, she started yet another series of art installations. Now she is teaching others how to do this, with both the art and the copyright adding additional legal obstacles to the construction of this enormous compressed gas pipeline through farmlands, old growth woodlands and National Forest, and too near homes and schools to ever be considered safe by most of us.
Amelia’s artworks are designed with place in mind; the sixteen on the Wildwood Trail are in muted earth tones and made of biodegradable materials. They will not be permanent in the landscape. A GPS map and trail map allow people to track down each piece, often located off the ground in trees. Working with wool, recycled paper, wood, found materials and beeswax, both plain and colored, her work looks almost as if it has grown there. When the proposed pipeline path was changed, another alarmed landowner contacted Amelia, and she started yet another series of art installations. The newest project in Bath County consists of three parts in a large triangle. Each is separated by a 30 minute walk from the next, and with a nod to the homeowners’ wishes, is made of more durable materials, including rocks, bone, copper pipe and jewelry parts. They represent the pipeline itself, the blast zone for construction, and the threatened homes. As all the works are on private property, labors of love, you’ll need permission to see them.
Thanks, Amelia. We love your wildly imaginative, subversive creations.
– Anne Nielsen, CAAV Coalition Building Committee
Photos below are from Amelia of the piece “Blast.” The entire work is called “Triage.” It is located along the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline pathway on private property in Bath County.
More on Amelia from her “poet bio”:
Amelia L. Williams, PhD is a poet and writer/editor who lives in the rural Rockfish River Valley of Central Virginia. She is the author of Walking Wildwood Trail: Poems and Photographs, a book of photos and lyrical poems from a 3-mile trail of eco-poetry art works in Nelson County. The trail celebrates the Central Virginia landscapes that the proposed fracked-gas Atlantic Coast Pipeline would ravage. Williams has long been interested in the productive intersections of artistic creativity, mindfulness practice and the spirit of place – synergies made more urgent by her activism against the ACP. She received her doctorate in English Literature at the University of Virginia. Her work has appeared in Centrifugal Eye, The Blue Ridge Anthology, Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, The Piedmont Virginian, and elsewhere. A portion of her poetry exchange about the “growing season” with poet Tricia Knoll appeared on the Orion Magazine Tumblr blog on May 15, 2014. She is a fellow of the Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts & Sciences.
Please note: Steering committee meetings are open, and you are encouraged to come and hear our coalition speakers, held on the third Tuesday of each month at WVPT at 1pm