Jes Lee


I have been working on this little book for quite some time….

And while I still have some work to do in the edition, this little book is making its way out into the world. Currently it is on display at Minnesota Center for Book Arts in the ‘Parts of a Whole’ exhibition, and will be included in the ‘Fine Wine Fine Books’ night coming up in October.

I just learned yesterday that one copy of this little book is heading to Chicago! It will be part of the ‘Words|Matter’ book arts library, where anyone can go and have a chance to see, and touch, and read a collection of artists books! I love this idea – this was a topic that comes up quite often among the book artists I know…many of us want our books to be touched, and looked at, and read. Books are made to be held. I’m so excited that this little book is traveling out of the city and will be included in this show!

And, because a few friends have asked nicely for more photos, here are a few that are a bit nicer than the cell phone photos I usually take when I am working on it…


Open – view of the front cover, back cover, and the spine. The front and back covers are instant film photos – created with Impossible Project film and their Instant Lab.



Inside page spread – this book is a collection of the photos I took of the Mississippi river during my time as an intern in the preservation department at the Hennepin County Library in downtown Minneapolis. Each image is paired with a hashtag, the date and time the photo was taken, the temperature and general weather of the day, and the exact latitude and longitude of where the photo was taken.


As the photos continue through the book, another hashtag is added to the ones from before. As I was taking these photos, I would post them on Instagram. The more hashtags you use on a photo in Instagram, the more ways it can be searched for and found by others. (You can also be very creative, or very obnoxious with hashtags, but that is a topic for a different post.)



Towards the end of the book, the pages fill with hashtags. Each tag was letterpress printed using photo polymer plates, and the Universal III Vandercook in the basement of Minnesota Center for Book Arts.


The pages with the images and hashtags open up to reveal part of the binding, and a map of where the photos were taken. All of the photos were taken from the Hennepin Avenue bridge, walking towards downtown. The binding was invented by Claire VanVliet for her book titled ‘Bone Songs’. It is a woven binding, meaning each page of the book is bound to one another with a strip of paper, woven through the page and itself.


Closed it measures 4 1/4″ tall, 3 1/2″ wide, and 2 3/4″ deep at the thickest part of the spine.


Because the binding is so flexible, it can be displayed completely open…something I really like a lot about this book.

It has definitely been a labor of love! And of course has taken me quite a bit longer than I originally anticipated, but I have learned so much, and I’m not sick of it yet!

There is still a bit of work to be done on the edition, but I am getting close. When everything is finished, it will be an edition of 25. This little book can be purchased for $75, should someone be interested (though #23 is already spoken for, and a couple other numbers from the beginning of the edition are currently out for show at MCBA, and one on its way to Chicago).

Thank you for all of the kind words on Facebook when I announced my books acceptance to the show in Chicago! It makes me so happy!

All on a Sunday

We had a long Sunday. While it was not filled with art show openings like Saturday was, it was still wonderful, and filled with family and shopping and I was able to spend a lot of time with John. I always love weekends like that.

Being that it was the first weekend in quite awhile that we were both feeling good, John went with me to see the swans and test out my new lens. From where we park, it is about a mile walk out to where the swans hang out. We weren’t able to stay long enough to watch them fly away, but we were able to stay for a bit. I tried out my new lens, and I am really enjoying it! The auto focus isn’t the fastest, but it isn’t the slowest I’ve used either. And the photos I got were quite sharp. I forgot to bring something to feed the swans, so they weren’t very interested in sitting close to me. It was a nice to test the zooming capabilities of this lens though!

2015-03-01 09.28.15

For reference, I took this with my iPhone from where I was sitting. More photos with my digital camera below, and more film photos to come soon.

After, we hiked back to the car, stopped at home to change, and went to The Bad Waitress to celebrate John’s birthday as well as my father-in-law’s birthday. It was nice to see them. I’m hoping we can do Sunday brunch with family a bit more often now.

After, John and I went to Ikea in search of spice jars (we didn’t find them) and the Mall of America in search of clothes. We didn’t find very much in the way of clothes, but we did come home with a stack of books, thanks to a couple of gift cards. The number of books I have purchased this weekend says a lot about where my head has been lately.

2015-03-01 21.10.16

Currently, it is beautiful and snowy out, and I couldn’t be happier! I’m heading out to yoga for the first time in over a week…I finally feel like I could make it through most of class. Fingers crossed that I’m right about that!

2015-03-03 09.02.41

Until next time….

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

New practices and warm thoughts

I don’t need to go into how cold it has been here lately. We all know it. We are all tired of it.

I can say that cold weather does interesting, not always good things to cameras. I am always careful, and I honestly baby a few of my cameras. If it is a really cold day, I usually won’t take my Hasselblad out. I usually try to bring a camera that would not be so tragic to lose in a cold-weather related accident, or one that would at least be cheaper/easier to have fixed if needed. That said, if you are careful and diligent, everything can work out just fine with taking a camera out in cold weather.

Instant film, does not like super cold weather. It can do very crazy things. Like this:

january 16 3 small


Honestly, I kind of like it still. It looks quite mysterious and ghostly, and the texture is great. But, not really the photo of the bridge to Nicolette Island at sunset I had planned!

I have called my recent time at home a residency. To me, it is a time to focus on my art, spend time experimenting, getting my work spaces set up in our new home, creating new work, and getting settled into a very new lifestyle to me. While not all of those things are accomplished in a typical residency, quite a few of them are. So, to me this is a long art residency where I can actually go to sleep in my own bed every night.

Last week, after my volunteer shift at the library, I decided to stick around and search through books for some creative inspiration. I did find a very inspiring little book deep in the stacks in among the Japanese Wood Block Print books that has changed my mind on how I will create and bind my next book. I also found a few books on writing and creativity in general. One such book, The Sound of Paper: Starting from Scratch by Julia Cameron offers many little exercises to kick-start creativity and get in touch with yourself. She suggests a practice called ‘morning pages’. The idea is to sit down every morning and fill three pages with writing. This can include journal type daily entries, rants, confessions, poetry, stories, anything that can be written. I started this practice last week, and it has honestly been amazing. I have generally written basic journal entries, but it has helped writing down my jumbles of thoughts every morning and getting them out of my way. I also write lists of things I would like to carry out during the day, ideas for projects, and ideas for how to solve problems I am having with projects. I admit that it does seem daunting some mornings. I am writing in a very large sketchbook and blank pages seem extra-large. But once I get going, the end of the three pages usually comes quick.

I’m looking forward to seeing what else she advises in her book!

Until next time,