Amelia Rice : Artist, Environmentalist, Rural Newfoundlander
Amelia Rice, 23, lives in Springdale Newfoundland. “I’m always on the go”, she told The Racket. Her ‘day job’ is at the Riverwood Inn, a new luxury retreat in Springdale with a 4.5-star ranking and a restaurant featuring none other than former Fixed co-owner Jon House creating original menu items showcasing local produce, foraged wild flora and fungi, ethically raised meat and creative cocktails.
What does she do there? Oh, not much you know...just cooking, cleaning, serving and working as a tour guide. Basically everything except mowing the lawn it seems.
However, if you think someone as busy as Amelia would just be chilling when she’s not at work, you are 100 percent wrong. “I love hiking, nature, and animals, so anything to do with those things” is what she enjoys the most. She is involved with the SPCA and other organizations helping to promote the spaying and neutering of pets .”I’m a big advocate of that”, she said.
Cleaning up litter on trails is another activity Amelia enjoys, making sure her favourite places stay beautiful for everyone to enjoy. She’s also a hunter and fisherwoman who harvests her own food. But first and foremost, Amelia White is an artist.
“I do portraits of people and pets, woodburning, different media”, she explains, all of which can be found online through Facebook and Instagram under Amelia's Mixed Media. She also has an Etsy shop and retails through other websites and directly at the Riverwood. What’s turning heads right now, however, are Amelia’s articulations.
To the uninitiated, articulations can best be described as bone taxidermy. While traditional taxidermy places an animals hide over a form to recreate a lifelike appearance, an articulation consists of the skeleton cleaned and arranged in the fashion of some normal activity. As Amelia is a hunter, she uses the bones of her own harvests. She also uses domestic animals who failed to thrive and passed naturally or through humane euthanasia.
Roadkill, as long as it abides by provincial law and appropriate steps are followed regarding proof of acquisition (photos of the animal on the road dead), by product from licensed hunters and trappers, and bones found in nature complete her source list. The daughter of a trapper herself, she credits her upbringing with her interest in animal memorial art.
“My dad took me on his trap line, and I watched him through the process. I think these skills are beautiful”, she stated and continued that she would like to become a licensed trapper herself someday. It’s a long process degreasing and cleaning the bones, with great attention to sterility on her own part so as to avoid any nasty infections. What she didn’t learn from her dad she’s managed to find on her own, or on Youtube.
Energetic, enthusiastic, idealistic and engaged in her community, Amelia is a poster child for a brighter future for rural Newfoundland. Loving the peace and beauty, her only complaint is the lack of resources and educational opportunities for young people like herself. But she has no plans to leave.
If the province can find a way to nurture those with Amelia’s drive and creativity, to provide educational opportunities, arts, and technology jobs and diverse industry base to rural areas who want to remain relevant, outport futures could be bright indeed. Regardless you can visit Amelia’s art online, and if you take a trip to the Riverwood, you never know what hat she might be wearing.