Jes Lee

The last bits of May

May has been one of the busiest months this year. It has been a lot of fun though. There is one more art festival left! I will be at Johnstock sharing a booth with my dad – Jes Lee Studios and Dad and Kiddo Pottery. I hope you can stop by!

Today I drop off artwork that will be sent to the MacRostie art center in Grand Rapids where I will be next weekend for the opening. I think June has the potential to be just as busy with art shows, but I am looking forward to it.

I plan to have new journals listed for sale on my Etsy site later today! For now, there is new pottery listed on our pottery Etsy site:

Last week I celebrated 10 years married to my amazing husband, John. It has been 10 years since our second wedding. He keeps me grounded, and lets me dream and somehow always seems to know exactly what I need. We had a great day of celebrating. <3

This past holiday weekend was filled with photo jobs, visiting friends, many good byes, and catching up on all the housework that waited for us through the busy beginning of this month. We did take time for a nice easy 10 mile bike ride yesterday evening. I brought my camera with, and enjoyed some photo time for myself.

Everything is in bloom now, and even though it is driving my allergies crazy, I love all the colors!

2014-05-25 10.52.35 2014-05-25 10.51.38 2014-05-25 10.51.17

The number of applications due this week is a little ridiculous, so you might not hear from me for a few days! Know that I have my head down working hard.

Until next time,


So. Much. New.

2014-05-18 21.19.45

2014-05-18 21.01.00

2014-05-18 16.29.02

2014-05-18 12.29.44

2014-05-17 16.04.07

2014-05-16 19.11.17

I have so many images from Art-a-Whirl. What you see here barely scratches the surface.

It was a long week of prep leading up to Art-a-Whirl, and the weekend was quite emotional at times. But it was amazing. I have gotten to be part of an awesome group of people here, and I am forever grateful.

John has a video of me playing with fire on the last night of Art-a-Whirl…me, successfully making something out of glass! I will post that soon.

Last night I went to the Visual Journaling Collective at MCBA. I admit that I almost didn’t go…the past week had been so busy, and I, like many others, get very tempted to just stay home in comfy clothes….but I went, and it was great. I’m looking forward to going next month, and to journaling more in between meetings. A lot of people in the group focus on sketching, which is not something I typically do, but last night I created a couple of pages I really like in my book combining photos and collage and my water-color pencils. I don’t know how many journal pages I will share here, but I’m sure there will be a few posts of them coming up.

In other news: my updates on the Etsy sites have been slow lately. I ran out of time during Art-a-Whirl prep, and I have two boxes of new pottery waiting for me to photograph it. That is hopefully happening today. I also have a couple of journals left over after the sales that I would like to get posted in my Etsy shop as soon as I get some nice photos of them. Hopefully later this week I’ll be back to daily Etsy updates.

One last note: IT IS ‘ROID WEEK! Go to Flickr and look through the group pool. There are a lot of great images there!

More May-ness

Truly, May always seems like a crazy busy month in the art world.

Saturday was Craftstravaganza and it was great! One of the best years we have had there in a while! We sold a lot of pottery, and I sold a lot of cards and one of the journals I had worked on leading up to the show. Thursday I was on tv to help promote the show, and it really did pay off! We met many fun people, and had a great time. I try to do as much of my shopping locally as I can, so I did pick up a few things for myself, including new dish towels from Batch Dry Goods, a Dinosaur Planter from Scuttlebug, and some of the garden markers I have planned on getting for two years from 7 by 7 glass!

2014-05-10 14.47.03

After the festival, John promised to take me out to dinner and one of our local taprooms. I had been so busy leading up to this festival, that I had missed a few outings with his co-workers, and he wanted to make it up to me a bit. We had a lovely dinner, and then instead of going to the taproom, we went to a new-ish local book store – Eat My Words Bookstore – and bought a few treasures there instead. I love how that worked out!

2014-05-11 15.06.26

Sunday I had a bit of time between Mother’s Day events to actually plant the herbs I had purchased at the Farmer’s market last week, and get some of my new garden markers in the ground.

I spent time with my mom, and my mother-in-law on Sunday, and really enjoyed the day. It was the first in 17 years of not having to work at the restaurant on Mother’s Day, and it was a great switch!

Today is back to photo jobs, organizing to-do lists, finishing work on my new book to bring to class Thursday night, and of course getting ready for Art-a-Whirl. It will be another busy week, but I adore what I am doing and that makes such a difference!

Our Etsy pottery shop is back open! I had to close for a few days because of Craftstravaganza, but it is back with a few new things listed!

A Yellow Mix-and-pour bowl with green details and an Orange and Green vase.

Also, just listed in my photography Etsy shop: Autumn – a handmade book and Winter – a handmade book.

Working for the weekend

Yes, I worked almost the entire weekend away. But, it is pretty nice to be spending time working on artwork work and photography jobs instead of something completely unrelated.

I started Friday slowly working my way through a massive list of things that need to be done in time for the art festivals this month. I didn’t get everything done, but I made a dent in my list!

2014-05-03 21.50.53

I completed five more print runs on my latest book project.

2014-05-03 23.50.18

I got two blank journals stitched together.

2014-05-05 08.00.40

One is completely finished and on its way this morning to the home of the Craftstravaganza organizers, to see if it can get a spot on the morning news tomorrow! I’m hoping to finish a few more of these to be able to sell at Craftstravaganza and Art-a-Whirl. The photo on the cover is an instant photo using my new Instant Lab from the Impossible Project!

I had a lovely family photo shoot on Sunday…so I really didn’t spend the entire weekend in my studio in the basement!

2014-05-02 12.48.19

I also managed to get six rolls of film developed on Friday. I started scanning them in over the weekend. Not quite done with that, but I’m getting there! These are all from my film 365 project.

Today will include a little road trip to drop off artwork, and hopefully more printing and festival prep work. Of course working all weekend has earned me a huge headache today…but hopefully that won’t hang around too long.

Just listed in the Etsy shops:

Listed in our pottery Etsy shop: Pink and purple variegated bowl by dadandkiddo.

Listed another one of my handmade books in my Etsy shop: Spring  handmade book by jesleephotos.

Happy Monday!




When you are working for yourself, the weekend doesn’t always mean what it does to the 9-5 people. While I don’t always have “weekends off”, I do still look forward to them. Right now I am looking forward to three days with long stretches of studio time!

I already broke my rule of ‘at least one print run done each day on this new book’. I didn’t print anything yesterday. But I will more than make up for it this weekend! Yesterday was busy with plenty of other things, including a yoga class for me, and printing at MCBA.

These prints do not look like much….in fact my printing technique definitely needs work (more to do with the type of plate I am using vs. the type of plate I really need to be using)….but I am still so excited. These prints show that the plate exposure times I am using are within the correct range for this printing technique! I have worked hard on this over the winter, and I am so excited to finally have results like this! You can actually see a flower in the print! And you can actually tell that there is detail in the flower! And there is actually a defined background square! It really is the little things in life! More to come on this soon, I hope!


I am quite far behind with developing film from my 365 film photography project. But I am still working on it. Not every day is easy to get my film camera out and find something worthy of the cost of the film. But I am finding that more often than not this process is becoming another type of meditation for me.

2014-05-01 17.09.10

I am quite content with the idea that now I am just collecting images of this year, that it doesn’t matter that it takes me awhile to develop and upload them, that now the simple act of collecting is what I need to be doing…another act of meditation. Last spring began a pretty tough journey for me. After a year, I’m finally beginning to feel like I more in touch with myself, and everything that has happened and changed, and better able to cope. I am finally feeling more towards the top end of things, instead of the bottom. It isn’t easy to think about or talk about all of this. The past year I have dealt with a lot of major life changes of all types, and the emotional turmoil that came with many of those. I can recognize now that I was dealing at times with depression. Looking back now I can see that one thing that helped most often was these little meditative practices I have found. Writing in a journal daily. Taking photographs daily. Creating daily. And definitely going to yoga classes. In the beginning of 2014 John encouraged me to find a yoga center I liked and go to classes. Taking that time has made a huge difference. Last weekend, I was helping out a friend during a studio sale. She and the other artists there create amazing jewelry, and are great to hang out with. Of course there were many new sparkly pieces that I wanted, and plenty that came home with me. There was one piece that I ended up with that was quite different. This one called to me – yes, that sounds cheesy, but it did. It was a collaboration piece between a friend of mine and another artist. 2014-04-29 08.09.00

This is a Buddhist Mala wrap. There are 108 beads. It is typically used for meditations, chanting, and prayer. The colored beads and charms have various meanings….these particular colors stand for clarity. The moon charm, for wishes. I have worn it every day since.

As the meanings were explained to me, many things clicked in my mind, and the realization of this journey, my meditations, everything seemed to make a bit more sense. I don’t know where any of this will lead, but I feel like I understand my tools better now.

And now that the sunshine is out, I’m heading down to the basement to my studio to develop film! Ha! Somethings don’t change :)

Until next time,



Maybe rain makes me productive

Yesterday was pretty amazing. There were bumpy spots, and the camera accessories I ordered didn’t work out like I wanted. But overall, I managed to accomplish a lot of what I was hoping to.

My new book project is starting to move forward.

2014-04-30 19.26.34

I managed to get guides set up on my little Platen press for the pages of this book, and I finished two press runs. I use the type drawers in my type cabinets as drying racks when I am printing. They work quite well! No single use items in this studio! Of course I did manage to screw up a few pages, but nothing major. I can still fix it.

2014-04-30 13.50.30

I’ve had a few people ask me how many runs this book will take. I honestly don’t know. I’m scared to count ahead. But, perhaps the above pile of photopolymer plates will give you an idea. Each plate is a separate run…most in different colors. This will take me awhile.

I’m planning on working on this book more today. My goal is to get at least one more print run done each day. Considering that most of the hard set up work is already done, that isn’t a bad goal to have! First though, my day will include yoga, some photopolymer photograveur printing at MCBA (hopefully I’ll actually get some results worth showing this time!) and a bit of hanging out with friends.

New on Etsy:

Just listed in our pottery Etsy shop: a small grey berry bowl colander made by my dad

Just listed in my photography Etsy shop: Autumn print by me.

Wishing you a creative day!