We had the good fortune of connecting with Jessie Lee Taylor and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jessie Lee, what inspires you?
I was once given the opportunity to ride a well trained, finely bred, competitive Quarter Horse. American Quarter Horses are bred for their fast starting, quick cutting, stop on a dime and gain incredible speed at short distance abilities. Having grown up and worked with horses my whole life, I would consider riding second nature but this would be the first horse I had ridden of such caliber. When we set off to make the clover leaf pattern around the barrels, I experienced something that touched my soul so profoundly; the way the horse whipped around each barrel with the slightest direction, the power that exploded after each turn and the speed in which was gained racing back the last stretch left me completely speechless. In that moment I experienced a flawless creation designed for a specific purpose, functioning at its optimal and it was transcendent. Of course those moments of divine inspiration delivered to me by pounding hoofbeats of a pristine horse are rare but it has served as a compass to what and where I find inspiration. Now I look to nature and can easily get glimpses of Gods creation living out its design. I find beauty in the subdued colors of golden native grasses against the Winter blue sky, the stumbling upon an antler shed of a buck in a field where he has bedded down at night, the companionship, loyalty and unconditional love of a dog and ripping through the woods at breakneck speed on the back of a horse. In these moments I see the innocence in nature and its full hearted living of life. It’s inspiring and brings insurmountable joy to my heart.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am a wood fired potter creating with native clay, dug from the very valley in which I live. All my glazes are made from scratch using traditional Chinese and Japanese pottery glaze recipes. My palette tends to be earth tones, leaning into warm, deep reds and blues. I create pieces to have and to hold— functional art that can be a part of your every day. My work is a reminder of my appreciation for the natural world, of the creative and artistic tradition in which I was raised, and my own unique path for expression.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
One of the greatest aspects of living in a small town in the valley between two old and gorgeous mountain ranges is the access to nature and views everywhere. Depending on the time of year, we’d canoe down the Maury River, climb House Mountain and bike the back country roads of Collierstown. If they rode horses I take them up to the Meadow Grounds of Goshen and picnic in the native Virginia grasses. If they loved music we’d go to the Lime Kiln Theatre for some of the best musical performances in the most beautiful and romantic setting. Of course Sweet Things Ice Cream would be on the list– they make the World’s best Oreo ice cream. If they liked cocktails we’d swing over to Taps for some creative spirits and then hit the Southern Inn for a fine dinner. The amount of time you could spend in this beautiful community is endless. One would have to live here in order to experience all that Lexington and Rockbridge County has to offer. Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My father is potter who has mentored me in the craft and given me all the tools to succeed. He has also served as a compass in his raising me to search for the beauty and truth in life.
Lindsay Kluge Jessie Taylor