Wednesday, June 20, 2007

New Appalachian Art Form: Acid Mine Drainage Tie-Dying

The ninth annual Clinch River Days Festival was held the first weekend in June in Saint Paul, Virginia and according to all reports it was a rousing success. There were juried art and photography exhibitions, singing competitions, canoe rides on the Clinch River, and according to the CRDF website there were wine tastings, games, amusements and food vendors among many other activities.

But this week's Clinch Valley Times has an interesting report by Chris Green of the Upper Tennessee River Roundtable about a new activity which took place this year: tie dying t-shirts with Acid Mine Drainage (AMD). Mr. Green reports that the "craft" of AMD tie dying was used to raise awareness of the serious threat to water quality presented by AMD emanating from abandoned coal mine sites, and the need for AMD treatments to improve water quality in affected waterways. Some readers might already be aware that the Clinch River is one of the most unique bodies of water in North America, being home to mussels found no where else in the world.

Although the creation of tie dyed shirts with AMD is a unique and clever "craft", let's hope that ways are found to render this art form, and the poison which is used in the process of its creation, things of the past. If you'd like to learn more about the Upper Tennessee River Roundtable, visit them at

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