A Lot Can Change in a Year.

At this time last year, I was in my final year at Sheridan College and was preparing to spear head my first woodfiring. I had participated in three up to that point, merely showing up for a shift in the middle of the night and receiving a few finished pieces out of the deal. This firing I organized myself, chopped the majority of the wood, filled one third with my work and spent 24 hours stoking the flames. At that time I was preparing to move back in with my parents, while my partner moved to the West Coast. A lot can change in a year.

In the past year I graduated college and exhibited work in Toronto, Philadelphia, Waterloo, Hamilton and Burlington. I moved to Wiarton and worked for production potter Timothy Smith and spent the summer re-learning how to throw. I moved back in with my parents (again). I had 8 firings in 4 different wood kilns. I ran my first workshop. I went to NCECA 2013 in Houston. I bought my first and second Ron Meyers pots. I made pots in three different studio spaces. My partner moved back to Ontario.

We bought our first house.

On Friday we are joining the "homeowners club" in the quaint village of Jerseyville. Our new home is just outside of Hamilton, far enough from the city to feel like the country, and close enough to take advantage of concerts, show opportunities, and Hamilton's monthly Art Crawl. We will have our own store, studio and garden. We might get chickens. We will have our own kitchen! ... and I will have lots of wall space to display my pot collection.

jesse house

I wonder what next year will bring.

The Old House

I've never been too excited or entertained by the idea of the "new year" - I feel life never changes much, you can't bargain on finishing the year with the people you started it with, and hopes and dreams only go so far. Life is luck, and determination, and effort. Not kisses at midnight or bottles of champagne.

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So for the past few years we have enjoyed the tradition of hiking out on New Year's Eve to one of our favourite spots - an abandoned Victorian era house in the middle of the woods. The foundation and three of its tall stone walls remain, leaving us perfect protection from winter winds, and the ideal spot for a campfire. On a wintery evening when the snow has recently fallen, we sit amongst brambles on the frozen earth, with no lights but the fire and the stars. There is nothing more humbling than to sit in the darkness with a bottle of wine, good company, and a crackling fire, whiling away the hours until somebody realises it is 2am, and "Oh! I guess it's a new year."

My favourite thing about winter hikes to the old house is the fir tree decorated with Christmas ornaments. Who decorates it? Well, that's part of its whimsy.

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Unfortunately it was so bloody cold this year that we had to go on a day hike instead. At night we played RISK and practiced our skills at world domination... humbling in a different way.