ALBURGH — Ten years ago, while walking the shoreline of Knight’s Island, a fallen piece of bark from a cottonwood tree caught the eye of Terry Rice, an amateur artist from Alburgh who had regrettably forgotten to bring art supplies along on her camping trip.
“I found this bark and I just thought it looked cool,” she said, “and I discovered I could, with a nail, kind of make something like art.”
Rice couldn’t remember what she clumsily carved into the wood that day, because she left the piece at the campsite. “I just wanted to leave something behind,” she said, to join the cairns, human-made piles of stones, and other trinkets scattered around the island.
“And then that Christmas, I asked for a little carving kit.”
Rice, 54, is a full-time nurse at University of Vermont’s Fanny Allen campus in Colchester. During her spare time, she captures faces and moods through art, carving masculine dreamers in driftwood and painting serene Madonnas, often embellishing both works with trinkets found in nature.
She is self-taught, learning both crafts through trial and error over the years.
“I’ve just always felt like I had an artist soul,” said Rice. “It’s always been the one constant thing.” It began with encouragement from an elementary school teacher during her childhood in Montreal, ebbed and flowed over the years, and came back into her life, strong, after a divorce and her two sons had grown up and out of the house, leaving her with free time on her hands.
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