Jessica Hunter botanical artist, gardener, teacher based in Hamilton, Canada

Tell me about your Sundays, what are they like? Do you have a Sunday tradition? 

My Sundays are slow and spontaneous. I try to take one day a week where I don’t schedule things in my calendar, where I go with how I feel instead of what I need to do. Like a Sabbath. A day of pure and utter rest. A day for the soul. I’m generally very aware of my time and try utilizing as much of it as I can. My calendar reflects this with its color coded blocked out to-dos, but I love that Sundays, for the most part, are a blank page of possibility. I usually begin with a French press coffee and some fruit to ease into a larger, heartier brunch that will sustain me through to evening, Sometimes this is with friends or I take the morning for myself to catch-up on whatever I’m reading. Today I spent my time with Dave Egger’s “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius” and Julia Cameron’s “The Artists Way.” Rituals can look like a walk in the woods or by the bay near my home, taking in the season, allowing my mind to wander and unwind from the pressing demands of the week. Or I attempt a new recipe. Write often, Hang out with my cat. Take a mini-road trip to an antique shop or nearby city/ town to browse the streets. It really depends on the day, on the weather, on the season. The most tradition I have for a Sunday is no tradition at all.

You grew up surrounded by nature and it seems that it's closely related to your lifestyle. How often do you spend time outside? What does it mean to you? 

Growing up in the countryside of southern Ontario, I was definitely influenced by the landscape and all it offered throughout the seasons. My parents were constantly encouraging my sister and I to get outside and activate our imaginations. To spend time in nature is to reconnect to my roots. It’s what I feel made for. It’s one of the ways I quiet myself enough to hear my own voice. It’s everything to me.  

In the Spring I spend a ton of time planting and preparing the garden for the coming months and volunteering on nearby farms within a 100km radius. The summer is spent on the beach as much as possible; this is where I feel most at home - by and in the water. That and a back cutting garden. You can also find me harvesting my garden roses through July and August, although, this year they were still going strong into November. In Autumn I love to take walks through the woods weekly to watch how quickly the leaves change and I can be found putting the farm beds to rest while harvesting product to dry out for natural dying through the cooler months. In winter it’s more difficult because of the cold, but I still make it out regularly to take in the barren woods, naked trees and grey, brownish stretches of land as it carries with it its own inspiration. The dry terrain can contain just as much beauty as the lush bounty of summer. You simply have to be willing to look for it. Basically, I need to get outside everyday and on a good day, I am there for most of it.

The holidays are a very stressful period for a lot of people, do you manage to find time for yourself? What do you do? 

I’m not a huge fan of the holidays. I don’t like the buzz and noise of it all or that, culturally, materialism has taken priority over being present with one-another. I don’t like seeing tacky decorations on people’s lawns, but a simple evergreen wreath on an old door is enough to quench my inner scrooge. I like that there’s time to spend with family and friends, to prioritize eating together and sharing stories over mulled wine. It is a very full season for A Fine Medley but I try to focus on what’s important to me in the process, which is presence and connection with people as well as to myself. This can mean carving out time for my art, even if it means getting up an hour early to create something for me before the day begins. This helps to ground me and provides me with more clarity, allowing me to give my time to the people in my life more freely. I’m not sure if I’ve answered your question entirely, but I don’t think Holidays should be any different from any other day. They are a time to celebrate but if we aren’t practicing that regularly I don’t think we are truly living.

 Photography: Jessica Hunter @afinemedley