Jes Lee

Long days

The days seem really long when there isn’t much you can do except sit at home and try to feel healthy again.

Today I am starting to feel a little better, but progress is still slow. I’m just hoping to be much closer to normal tomorrow so I can celebrate New Year’s Eve properly with friends!
I’ve learned a lot more about coding, and adjusted quite a few things on my website and blog site (some of those changes will take effect much later after my web guru looks them over). While it took me almost all day to make what seems like only a few design changes, things that would have taken others with more knowledge a fraction of the time to do, I’m pretty proud of myself! There is something awesome about taking charge and learning what you need to do to make things the way you want, whether it is painting your home yourself, developing your own film, printing your own pictures, or in my case today, hacking away at my own website.
I got a box of film in the mail from The Impossible Project ( yesterday…yes, I know, I have a film buying addiction…but the purpose of the order was to buy some Spectra film to see if the little camera I picked up at the thrift store for $5 works. The good news – it does!


It has been a very rainy, dreary December day out today, and I honestly didn’t mind not leaving the house today. I’m looking forward to spending this evening inside as well, curling up with a book of poetry I have the honor of previewing, and getting more rest for tomorrow.

Until next time

And then everything stops

There are times when no matter how hard you try to stay healthy and keep going with all the plans you have made, life brings you to a halt. That’s exactly what happened to me this week. I’m slowly on the mend, but not after drastically revising my plans for the week, which included a few photo outings, as well as other studio re-aranging work. Thankfully I have understanding friends, and plenty of work that can be done form the comfort of my couch! Expect to see a few design changes on my website this week!

I just found out today that I will be collaborating with another friend on a project this winter. I’m not sure how much of it I can talk about here yet, but I will post details as soon as I can! Needless to say, I am very excited about it and I am looking forward to the new challenges it will bring. 2011 should be very exciting indeed! I expect I will be blogging a bit more this week as I try to rest and stay indoors and not go stir crazy! I have a lot of film I recently developed and scanned in, and I have every intention of getting some of that posted this week!


My immune deficiency is not something that I talk about much, and especially something I rarely blog about, but I’ll mention it now and stand on my soap box for just a minute. I probably would have made it without getting sick, except that I was late on one of my infusion doses that helps my immune system. I was late getting it due to a shortage from the company that makes it. Since they make it from plasma donated by people around the world, shortages are a fact of life. Donating plasma can help a lot of people, including me! I would donate if I could, but they don’t really want any from me ;) If you would like to know more about donating, look here: This is the company that manufactures the infusion therapy I take for my immune deficiency, and they have many plasma donation centers around the world. I will now step off my soap box!

Until next time,

So this is Christmas

The holidays make a wonderful mess of all of the plans you make to actually get things done! With all of the parties with friends and family, all the desserts, the lights, the songs, well, I wouldn’t trade any of it!

Many friends have been posting on their blogs in the days leading up to Christmas what their favorite holiday songs are. I have honestly not been a super big fan of Christmas music (working anywhere in retail during the holidays can do that to you!), but there is one song that has been floating around in my head for the last few days now. Just a simple song, wishing for peace and a good year for everyone from John Lennon…
(all of these pictures were taken with my cell phone using an app called Vignette on the random setting. I love this little camera app. Somehow, through the graininess of these pics, I think you can almost hear the craziness and love and noise that comes with my family being together for the holiday…)


So this is Christmas
and what have you done?


another year over,
a new one just begun.


And so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun


the near and the dear ones
the old and the young.


A very merry Christmas
and a happy New Year


let’s hope its a good one
without any fear.


And so this is Christmas
for weak and for stron


the rich and the poor ones,
the road is so long


So happy Christmas
for black and for white
for the yellow and red ones
let’s all stop the fight.


A very merry Christmas
and a happy New Year
let’s hope its a good one
without any fear.


We had a very very white Christmas this year, with loads of snow…


and when you didn’t have to shovel it, it could actually be quite pretty. There is a silence that comes when everything is covered with snow. Things outside just become quieter. Anyone who has grown up in this climate will know what I’m talking about. I have been enjoying that stillness.


Of course there are some that seem to think winter should just be napped through!


One thing I did accomplish was organizing my film stash in our fridge. There is a small chance I may have a bit of a problem collecting film…
I think I just need to get out and take more pictures!

Until next time,


Last week I got the sweetest email from Van who was kind enough to purchase quite a few of my cards at the MInnesota Center for Book Arts Festival in November. Her email and her project have blown me away! 

This is her tumbler blog:

She is sending a thank you a day to someone. When you think about it, how often do you send the thank you cards you mean to send? How often do you actually tell someone they made a difference in some way to you? I’m betting it isn’t often enough. I know I’m guilty of that. I think she has an awesome idea, and I hope that it inspires more people to take the time to say thanks. 

I am honored that she has used some of my cards in her project:
and seeing all of this has inspired me to send out a few thank you notes to people that have helped me along the way and gave me opportunities to show my work. Thank you Van for the inspiration!!

There are tons of cards out there made by local artists. You don’t have too look far to find them, and they will be grateful you chose them! I am selling many cards in my shop: and it won’t take you long I’m sure to browse through Etsy ( or the Big Cartel ( store directory to find more! 

Until next time,


Yesterday was awesome


There isn’t much else I can say about yesterday except that it was pretty amazing.

For the first time in a long time I gave myself the time to develop some film. I stash rolls in a drawer in my studio until I have time to process them. Yesterday I looked and found 6 rolls waiting for me. Many were taken over the summer, right before I got busy framing work for my show. I can’t wait to get everything scanned in now. I’ll post a few here I’m sure.


My dad and I finally got a chance to work on making some new pottery. It was nice to get back into that. In case you didn’t know, I have been listing a lot of our pottery for sale on Etsy. (


I also got my Christmas present early! My family and husband all went together (and with some divine help from my granny!) got me a piano! I have missed having a piano at home for so long! This one is digital, it takes up much less space than a regular piano would, but still has weighted keys, a full keyboard, and sounds amazing! I played quite a bit last night after we got it home. It is so nice to be able to play and unwind again. For the longest time, playing music has been my way of unwinding, of relaxing and dealing with frustrations. My wonderful family knows this and realized that I needed one I could play whenever I needed (I have always had one to play at my mom and dads house) and we found this one. It took a bit of rearranging to have a space for it, and some kind of hard decisions. I had been keeping a lot of furniture that had been my granny’s for quite some time. Much of it was just being stored for when John and I had a bigger place. Not much of it fit our tastes, but it held many childhood memories for me (the server she hid all the glass marbles in!) and I was keeping it just because of her. I have come to realize though that furniture doesn’t embody a person, just their tastes (though stuff made by someone can often be a different story, it isn’t the case here) and often their tastes for a short time in their life. Memories don’t have to be tied to furniture or other objects. Memories don’t fade just because you don’t keep objects from the event. Those are just things, memories are experiences in your heart. In fact, it doesn’t always make sense what triggers a memory. I have had many people now comment on my artwork that certain pieces remind them of experiences, dreams, people, etc.

My granny will live on in memories and photographs forever without her furniture being stored. So, the server that always held glass marbles when I was little, and mostly just hid random things while I was using it at our condo, has moved on to be used by someone else, and in its spot is a new piano that some of the people I adore most, including my granny, helped me get. So what will today bring? For me, more time with family, and perhaps a bit of piano time this afternoon. Tomorrow is back to artwork and other creative bits, and probably more piano time. And being present. And enjoying where I am at.

Until tomorrow,


A good day for catching up


I told you there would be a catch up post coming. Those always happen when I find myself a little too involved with things other than keeping up a blog.



We have been getting ready for Christmas, like so many others, though this year has been different. This year we have been working on not feeling so rushed, and I haven’t been so crazy with holiday sales. I only had artwork in a few this time. We actually bought a Christmas tree this year too! We haven’t had one since the year John came home. There were many reasons really, we were busy, there wasn’t room, and we just really weren’t in to the holiday. But this year, there were no excuses. We found one that is pretty perfect.



For the first time in quite awhile it seems like a lot of the craziness has stopped. I still have these random moments of feeling overwhelmed that quite often lead to small meltdowns. Last night John pointed out to me that all of these feelings of being overwhelmed were from self imposed deadlines, and that none of them mattered. They matter, but not in the sense that I have to scramble to get them done. It is amazing how often I need to be reminded of this, but he is right. For now, I need to focus on enjoying things, and being creative.





I have still been doing the ‘Cell Phone Pic A Day’ project. My favorite photo app has a random setting, where you don’t know what effects it will give your photo. I really love that setting! It has been fun to play with! I am glad I started this project. For one, I am enjoying using my cell phone basically as another toy camera. Also, it has kept me taking pictures. I haven’t been photographing as much otherwise lately. I’ll get back into that, it just always takes me a little while after working on a big project like I did. This at least keeps me doing something.
Of course, it always helps when an awesome customer leaves a new camera as a present!


It works perfect too! I don’t think anyone has used it before! It has been a lot of fun to play with so far. I’m excited to see what I can do with it.


After spending the last couple of days at MCBA ( I really want to get back to playing with my printing press too! MCBA just introduced a Book Arts Certificate program. I can find out more about the program and curriculum in January, but I am already excited! I think it is the first time I’ve been excited about going back to school in a way! There is something about making books and printing that I have loved since I first tried it. I believe there is nothing cozier than working on art and book binding and printing on some of these cold winter days.



Well, maybe really long thick socks are up on that list too!

My ultimate goal in all of this, is just to slow down, and enjoy it. I need to be more present. Giving myself the permission to slow down enough has been tough, but I know it will be worth it in the end.
I think that is enough for now.
Until next time,