Jes Lee

Long days

It seemed like a long day. I biked to work – my usual Wednesday routine. Once there I spent a lot of time texting with my aunt, discussing how my mom was doing with her surgery, coordinating another showing at our condo, and what seemed like a million other important things at the time as well as working. After work I didn’t bike home, I biked to my parent’s house to visit my mom (she is doing quite well, thank you!) and to met Mr. FN as well as my aunt. It was a longer bike ride than I remembered it being, and quite warm. But, after that, amazingly, I had no energy to worry about anything anymore. It is amazing how peaceful and quiet your brain is when you reach that point.

The showings and activity on our dear little condo has been ramping up all week. It is exciting, but also a lot of work and worry. But we are surviving it all….though the resident bunny may have different feelings.

Of course I am busy with artwork as well, though there is a huge part of me that loves being busy with that. Currently on my plate is a family photo shoot that needs to be processed, two photo shoots this Saturday that will need attention right away, 100 calendar pages to be completed by the end of September, working on another book set box for the Fine Book and Fine Wine event at MCBA in October, and working on creating more art work for my show at the Larson Gallery…also in October. Have I mentioned that I have just realized how quickly October is coming??

It is ok, I have a plan. Mostly that plan simply involves giving myself more time tomorrow to work on the artwork portion of that to-do list, and saving the photo processing for this weekend and next week when I find myself away from home, between jobs, but with my laptop. The calendar pages will be started on next week when Laura Brown is back in the studios at MCBA…because it always seems like a party when she is there to work! I think this plan will be successful. There is potential.

As I mentioned in my post yesterday, the image uploader is still being a bit wonky for my website, but I have been told by Mr. FN that if it doesn’t get better this week to hold on until next week and he’ll have it all fixed up. So bare with me just a smidge longer. The photo I just took tonight is a staged shot of the book I’m currently reading laying on one of my favorite chairs to sit in and read. It is the only thing I really want to do tonight, and exactly what I will be doing as soon as I finish this entry.

MinneDemo is tomorrow night. I had planned on going with Mr. FN. It isn’t necessarily my thing, but it has been fun and a bit interesting in the past. It is mostly tech themed, and I often find myself quite out of my league during conversations and demos, but there is good beer and plenty of people watching. But I am feeling in a bit of an anti-social and ‘I-want-to-stay-home-and-snuggle’ mode, and since I haven’t been feeling 100% lately, I think I will probably cave to those feelings. Sometimes you need to just be home.

However long this place remains our home.

An odd thought…but not necessarily bad. Just something that enters your mind a bit more when your home is on the market and you have had multiple showings in a short amount of time.

For right now, it is time for me to give myself that time in my chair with my book. Fingers crossed, there will be photo uploads tomorrow!

New things

The No Coast Craft-o-Rama festival on Saturday was a success! We sold a decent amount of pottery, and I actually managed to sell a few cards. It was a hot, humid day, but we survived.

I have been trying to blog everyday, but have failed recently. Mostly, it is because I have been getting too run down and starting to get sick…same old drill, different day. I started antibiotics today, and have started feeling better…hopefully they keep working. (And no, I have not mentioned to many people that I haven’t been feeling well. I don’t always.)

I have more photos and journal pages to upload! I have really been enjoying this project! Of course there have been a few issues with the servers Mr. FN has me working off of, and the photo uploader bit is apparently on strike right now….but trust me! They are cool, and they are coming soon!

Today while laying on the couch I did manage to change my shop a big. There are now 5 items listed for sale. Those will change every couple of weeks most likely. I will post links and tweet whenever things will be updated. Why am I changing this? I adore Big Cartel and having a shop through them. Before, I was paying a monthly fee to be able to have so many pieces listed….but I wasn’t selling anything. Yeah, I know. Art is hard work to sell. So instead of keeping up the monthly payments that weren’t really getting paid for easily, I went back to a free plan. That plan allows me 5 items. I will see how it goes for awhile. Maybe things will turn around and I will change it again. Big Cartel makes that very easy, so I’m not worried. I wish with all my heart that people bought more art. I would love to do a survey and ask people why they don’t. When you are at a large art festival, why do you choose one item over another? Functional over decorative? I’m curious – not bitter! Just curious.

Lastly, I finally made a new web shop for the pottery! Same kind of thing: there are 5 items listed and they will change every couple of weeks.

And with that, I am done working for the day.

Good night!

No Coast Summer Craft-o-Rama is today!

And I will be there sharing a booth with Dad and Kiddo Pottery! Today will be a wonderful day to get out in the park, try a few crafts at the activities booths, eat some great food truck food, and shop from local artists and crafters! I hope you stop by!

Silverwood Park

2500 County Road E

Saint Anthony

Minnesota 55421


For a schedule of the events, go here.

Still swimming

Things keep moving over here.

There has been work to do getting our home ready for another showing this weekend, we have been planning for an end of summer road trip, and I have been adjusting my diet again to accommodate my allergies. Not everything gets to be fun, right?

But everything keeps moving right along, and I still can’t complain about this summer. I have had extra time to read, many photo outings already with the promise of more to come, lots of patio time with friends, lots of pool time, and thank to my Year of 30 journal project, I have had more time in my darkroom than previously.

Tuesday I spent many hours in the darkroom, developing the first roll of black and white film from this project, and creating prints for my journal…in fact they are updated in the gallery if you want to look.

July 17, 2012

A darkroom, and red lights, on blue film.

July 18, 2012

Books to read…and yes, there is an e-reader in that stack…


July 19, 2012

Evening…it just looked so peaceful outside…

So we keep going, and keep moving, and I will keep being grateful that there is still quite a bit of summer left….not just because I have a big show coming up in October that I need to do a bit more work for….there is a pretty awesome description of the show up here! I like how they describe my work! (and yes, the first time I saw a description for this show, that I am one of two artists in, was when I searched for a link to it for this post.)

I’m still swimming…..


leaving nests

This year for the first time since we moved in (9 years ago!) I put a hanging basket of flowers on our deck. It wasn’t long before a family of house finches decided that little basket would be the perfect place for their nest, and they moved in. Mr FN and I watched as baby birds appeared, and started learning to flap tiny wings, sometimes hovering just above the flower-pot, before landing for another nap and meal. I watched as much as I could to see the moment when the baby birds finally took their leap of faith and flew away. Yesterday morning after settling in for a work day, I looked and saw that the baby birds had finally figured out how to fly, and were off in the world somewhere now. The mother finch came back a few times, sitting on the edge of the pot, and looking at her empty nest for a while before flying away, as if she was saying good-bye to the home she built, and going on to the next one.

After she hadn’t returned for a few hours, I took the basket down to look inside. I am amazed at how perfect and neat their nest is…though perhaps I am just too used to seeing sparrow’s nests. It is still this amazing, perfect little form, that held up to four baby birds stomping around in it, and me watering it a few times before I figured out my flower-pot was inhabited.

Last night we went out with friends for a little “going away” party. Two friends are going on a two-week trip to Africa and they leave this week. We chatted about how scary it can be at times traveling far away, how hard to plan, the difficulties of language barriers and cultural barriers and how you wonder if simple things (such as your hotel reservations) have actually gone through and if you’ll have a place to sleep when you get to the other side of the world. But, through all that, you finally leave home, take your leap of faith, and somehow all of those things work out. Yes, there are plenty of times that bad things happen on vacations that never should have to happen, but those times aren’t the majority. We just hear about them way more often than we hear about the good times. Taking that leap of faith and planning and leaving home for any time is hard to do when you don’t always know what you will find at your destination, but it is almost always worth it.

I can’t wait to hear about their big trip and the adventures they will have. And I can’t wait to plan our next big adventure, to buy the tickets, stand on the edge of the nest, and leap.





Everyone needs a little time each day for themselves. I always think I can keep going without stopping, and of course this never works well. But I’m trying to change that.

Friday was a double shift at work for me. But in-between shifts I glazed more pottery with my dad. A meditation in a way. Something very simple. We are hoping to get one more load of pottery fired before the No Coast Summer Festival on Sunday. (Are you coming??! You should be!)

Saturday I spent a lovely day with my Mr. FN. He took me out for brunch, and then to the Museum of Russian Art, to the Groveland Gallery to see an exhibit of my friend Abby’s work, and then on a walk through the Walker Sculpture Garden. We sat under the trees in the middle of the Wind Chimes (after “Dream”) installation. I could sit there forever listening to the chimes. You only hear them when you are in between the trees. This was another meditation of sorts. After that we went to the Soap Factory, and then picked up dinner and headed home. It was such a wonderful day!

I have felt a bit run-down lately. I know I have been working too hard. It is hard to balance all of the deadlines with daily life. I feel a bit better now though. I did not make it to work in the studios at MCBA today. I’m bummed about that, but I realize I needed a day to rest. Tomorrow I have plans to hang out in my darkroom and babysit the kiln. I’m still planning on going easy though.

This weekend will be big and busy! The festival on Sunday will take a lot of work, but I think it will be a lot of fun, and will hopefully be quite successful.

Last, but not least, here is the photos I took over the last few days for my 30 project!

July 12, 2012

July 12, 2012

July 13, 2012

July 13, 2012

July 14, 2012

July 14, 2012

July 15, 2012

July 15, 2012


A day of accomplishing

Today was definitely a work day. A good work day. There was a lot of researching and rough draft writing for a new project, there was planning for a different project, there was a little bit of photographing for another project that admittedly wasn’t super successful today, but there is still time. There was updating for The 30 Project, researching more applications and deadlines, and finishing up photos for an MCBA job. I also managed to fix some images on my website (the images in The 30 Project gallery should load faster now!). I feel like I got a lot done, and nothing done all at the same time.

Either way, it is time for me to be done for the day. Tomorrow will be a day of working with a bit of pottery glazing thrown in the middle. Saturday will be full of galleries and photos with Mr. FN. But now, it is time for my book, and maybe a glass of wine, and sleep.

Here are a few entries for The 30 Project I have been behind on posting. I just finished the roll of black and white film I have been shooting today! Next week I should be able to develop it and make prints so I can update the journal pages! Exciting!

July 8, 2012

July 8th, 2012 – at work.

July 8, 2012 journal


July 9, 2012

July 9th, in the printing studio at MCBA.

July 9, 2012 journal

July 10, 2012

July 10th, 2012 – found in the vines on my favorite patio.

July 10, 2012 journal

July 11, 2012

July 11th, 2012 – <3

July 11, 2012 journal


Home day

Today will end up being a home studio work day. Currently I am stretched out on my couch, surrounded by notebooks, calendars, my 30 Project journal, cell phone, coffee, and my laptop. The deck door is open so I can have a bit of the fresh air coming through. I have a lot to work on today, but I’m hoping by the end of the day I will be caught up on posting photos and pages for The 30 Project, an altered book cover for The Bookish Bash at MCBA, and hopefully complete a handful of applications for grants, exhibitions, and projects. It is a busy time of year with all of those.

This Saturday I am looking forward to having a wonderfully long day with Mr. FN that will include roaming around to some of the art galleries in our amazing city, and some photo walks in between. I am so excited! As my mom has proven to me, I need gallery days every so often. There will be a blog post about what we see!

I will have more to update soon!


deadlines and schedules

Yesterday seemed like most of what I did was run around from place to place trying to collect the parts I needed for one job. Somehow I managed to get all of the pieces into one place. I am so grateful for the co-op storage space at MCBA and being able to leave things there that I don’t need/have room for in my studio at home.

I had a chance to talk to a couple of friends while I was there. A lot of what we talked about was structure. Being an artist is my ‘dream job’ but it is also a hard job to have. You have deadlines, and a constant amount of work, but you set your own schedule. Sometimes that is really hard…it is so easy to say you are ‘working from home’ and instead end up watching tv or reading a book and before you know it, the work day is over.

So, in an effort to be more a bit more productive in a creative way, I am starting to set a bit of a schedule for myself.

Monday mornings: catch up on emails, website things, check entry deadlines for the week, printing/scanning.

Monday afternoons: work at MCBA on photos for MCBA or my own work.

Tuesday mornings: catch up on emails, website things, entries, printing/scanning.

Tuesday noon and later: darkroom time and pottery.

Thursdays: computer work – entries, scanning, printing, creating, posting, etc.

There are times, I’m sure, when I will stray away from this schedule a bit, and that is ok. Having a structure will still help me. I’m already on track for today.

I did take a photo for yesterday, but it has not been scanned or journaled yet. Look for it soon!

“I love this summer”

….that is what my Mr. FN said to me last night as we biked home from my aunt’s house. I thought about it for a few seconds, as I pedaled (uphill) and I realized, he is right. We were on our way back home from a family pool party celebrating my 30th birthday, my aunt’s 50th birthday, and my cousin’s 20th birthday – 100 years all together. It included all of the best summer party bits: a pool complete with lights and glowing dive sticks, a bon fire with plenty of marshmallows to roast, plenty of food cooked on the grill, loads of family and a ton of laughter. This whole summer has felt like that so far. Many days and nights spent at the pool or the beach, out on a patio with friends, road trips, storm watching, bike rides…it feels like how you always imagine summers to be. Yes, life changes when you are an adult and are no longer in school with summers completely free. Yes, there has been a lot of hot weather already, and I can only imagine there is more of that to come. But, really, it has been a good summer so far.

I am very blessed with having a part-time day job that I can leave when I leave work. When there are long days or bad days on the job (like today), it is temporary. Once the clean up is done, I can walk out the door and leave it there. I can come home, tired, maybe slightly grumpy even, and it never takes me long to realize that part of the day is over. Time for a shower and to feel better. Tonight, it didn’t take me long to remember the mid-bike ride conversation with Mr. FN. Yes, this summer is great. I, too, love this summer.

July 7, 2012

the bonfire part of the family birthday bash…before my cousin came and made the fire bigger….

July 7, 2012 journal

July 8, 2012

Even at work there are peaceful moments.

July 8, 2012 journal