Jes Lee

Life is what happens

and blah blah blah….however you choose to finish that sentence.

Well! May was a whirlwind! I took flower photos with my uncle out somewhere in Wisconsin, finished work for the summer, did Art-a-Whirl, helped my family take care of my grandma, got our yard work started and finished (for now), and finally spent some time working on my book. Most of these items will have their own little blog post devoted to them over the next couple of weeks.

For now I’m still taking a little time to catch my breath.

Last weekend was Memorial Day. John and I decided to take ourselves on a little ride, he on the motorcycle, me on my scooter. I didn’t get photos taken with anything other than my cell phone…something I am definitely going to work on changing this summer. But the ride was fun, and relaxing, we missed the rain, and made it home despite John’s headlight deciding to not work. The scenery was lovely, the roads mostly empty, and I think I finally felt myself relax just a little then.

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Onward to summer!

Daily things

April is the month of the ‘daily’ exercises around the art communities I follow on the internet.

I’m going to try to keep up with a few of them, just for fun, and something else to blog about.

To start off with, April is National Poetry Month, and there are quite a few sites offering up poetry writing prompts for people that want to try the challenge of writing one poem a day.

I have tried this challenge before, and I enjoyed it! It is not easy, but it does get me back into the habit of writing daily, something I so easily get out of. Plus, I have a bunch of new journals and markers, so there is really no reason why I shouldn’t be journaling more and writing a poem a day.

So, through April, I will try to post a photo of a poem I wrote in my journal. Some pages will of course be prettier than ours. Some will be just plain pencil or ink. I’m not fussy. Just trying to get myself to get something down on paper each day.


#1 is a little haiku.

More daily projects to come soon!

Now, back to catching up a little more on what has been happening around here.

Spring break trailed off with a lot of fun events.

Saturday I spent the day with a friend…I even got up early for it! (Dear friend, if you are reading this, I’m sorry you learned the hard way I am not a morning person!!) We went to a sheep shearing event at a local park/farm, learned how to spin yarn, and of course bought wool and drop spindles to continue doing so!


I have plans for this….really…it isn’t just another crazy hobby! I did make the grey into a skein of yarn. It is a pretty crappy first attempt! Ha! But I know what I’m doing now. These supplies are not just going to sit unused! I have plans for them.

We also went to the roller derby later that evening, and watched a college friend of mine say her good byes to her team. It was very bitter sweet, but I’m glad we could be there.

Sunday was a laid back day with celebrating the anniversary of our favorite local brew pub where there was, of course, someone playing the bag pipes!


We had our first little backyard bonfire of the season that evening. I’m looking forward to many more of these soon!


Monday I spent my last long day in my studio, finishing up my little book that you have already seen.

Tuesday, I had my hair dyed before heading in to work, and spring break was officially over.


It is amazing how many things can happen in one week. I feel like it was packed full. Ups and downs, yes, but more good than sad. It feels like so long ago already.

The count down to summer break begins!



Mondays are the second day of my weekend when I am working. Sundays are spent mostly with John, working on things around the house together. Mondays become my day of catching up on studio work.

Today, for the first time in weeks, I woke up feeling better than I have in a couple of weeks. That isn’t to say I am completely well yet, but the antibiotics and Prednisone are doing what they are supposed to. And, I now have my appetite back as well…thanks to the Prednisone. I don’t have many rules about my body, but one that I do have: I don’t weigh myself when I am on Prednisone.

Anyway, back to catching up.

As I said in an earlier post, spring break was full. Full of catching up, full of being back in my studio, full of decisions.

I worked on finishing up a few applications. That process is never-ending. But each application gets my work out there more. And that is progress.

I helped a friend one evening work on a really difficult thing, and then we went out for beer after.

I worked on my book. I finished one copy. One. The number I need to photograph for more applications. Finally. One done.

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It needs a box. A container that will finish it. I also need to complete the edition. That will happen…


I’m still here…

The new work schedule has definitely been an adjustment…an adjustment that has taken up a lot more brain space than I would like some days. But it is November, and one of my favorite seasons is just around the corner, and somehow things seem to be settling in a little more each day. I have finally gotten back to creating, and working on my little book project that has gotten shoved aside for the last two months.

There are so many events coming up between my photography and the pottery my dad and I work on together! Check my ‘Announcement‘ page. I have kept that as up to date as possible with everything new coming up.

Yesterday I hung artwork up in Karin Jacobson’s studio for Art Attack, coming up this weekend! I am so excited! It will be a long weekend, but I am looking forward to being there!

I have kept up with my #100DaysOfHappiness that you might remember me starting in September. I am loving that little project! I haven’t been posting updates for it – I am feeling quite strongly that some things just need to stay in my journal, and a few of those updates fit that. But I might share a few more a long the way.

This post has been all over the map, especially for the first update in quite a while! Hopefully this space will be a little less neglected going forward…

I’m off to my studio before I have to head to work. Until next time!

Oh, and here is one of my newest pieces…this and two other new compilations are up at Karin’s studio!

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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!

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

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I got two blank journals stitched together.

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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!

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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!



Senior photo session in the snow!

During my very long stretch of very infrequent blogging, I had so many fun portrait sessions. I have felt so bad for not sharing these on the blog!

Late last spring I was working with Victoria on making plans for her senior photo session. She wanted photos in the snow, but we had gotten a late start on planning. Thankfully, we live in Minnesota, where more often than not there is a crazy late spring snow storm with pretty, wet snow that sticks to all the trees, and leaves the temps outside warm enough to be outside playing.





I am so glad I had a chance to work with her! We had a great time running around Silverwood Park finding great new places for photos!

I’m off to meet a friend for tea today. She is a very inspiring poet and visual journaler. I’m very excited to hang out with her today and hopefully get a head start on a new journaling practice I would like to start for 2014!


A relief

It has been a crazy spring. But I am finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and may even get back to blogging soon!
I have been in crunch mode for quite awhile getting the work done for this show, and it has finally paid off. My work is now on display at Minnesota Center for Book Arts in the Lerner Bindery Gallery through August 4th. My reception will be Tuesday, June 25th from 5-8pm. Please stop by if you can! Much of this work has taken me in a new direction artistically and I would love feedback! For my long distance friends, I promise to post photos of the exhibit and work soon.
I know this post is quite short, but I will be back soon!



It is a wild ride sometimes

The last couple of weeks have flown by much faster than expected.
March 1st brought the opening of my solo exhibition at Anoka Ramsey Community College. I couldn’t be happier with it! It is so exciting to have my artwork up where this journey all began for me! This was also the first solo exhibition that I have had my books included in. I was actually able to make sure they were placed out in the open so people could look through them. After many discussions with some of the other book artists at MCBA, I have decided how very important it is to be able to touch books and page through them, that many book art pieces lose meaning when they are just behind glass in a case or podium. I plan to make as many of my book pieces accessible to their audience. I think that is part of the magic.

I had many friends and family members come to the reception. It means so much to me to have them come and share these events! These shows are huge to me. Each one is special and requires a lot of work and preparation, and I miss a lot of fun times when I am working so hard on these, but it is really cool to be able to share the end results with everyone. I met many of the sculpture students that night as well, and after the reception, I was able to bring a few friends over to watch the bronze pour that was going on in the art building next door. That never stops being magical to me. I remember watching many times when I was in college and having a chance to watch that night brought back a lot of very happy memories.

That show will be up on the walls at Anoka Ramsey until March 31st. If you have a chance, go see it. And then walk over and see the new art building! It is cool!

Now I am busy with getting work done for the MCBA Artist Co-op show that will be up at the Anderson Center down in Red Wing this May. We are creating an exhibition catalog for this show, and I am in charge of photography for the book. I love having the opportunity to work with all of these amazing artists that are in the Co-op with me. It is so inspiring, and has given me so many new ideas of where to go next with my work. I am hoping that this year is full of me making new things! (It better be, I have a big show coming up next March that I need new work for!!)

I have been working for some time on updating my website, as I have a lot of new work to include. Of course, this has gotten more difficult than me and my wonderful webmaster first anticipated. We are now working on moving my website and blog in a totally different direction. This will mean quite a bit of work on my part, and it won’t be done quickly. I am excited for the results though. Stay tuned!
Until next time,

Catching my breath

I have been doing a lot of catching up this week. There were many things that fell behind a bit with all of the art festival prep work, but I think I can now safely say I am almost caught up.
Yes, there is still one more art festival to prepare for (Saturday, December 17th at Calhoun Square, more details soon)

Yes, there are still two shows to have work done for (by the end of this month)

Yes, there are still many things to be finished

But, after a lot of hard work today and a lot of time spent at MCBA and in my studio, and a lot of hard work Monday and Tuesday processing photos, I am beginning to catch my breath and feel more in control.
I have not had any melt downs today. One day at a time.

Thankfully, I have a really cool husband who knows when I need to work in the evenings, and when he needs to pull me away from all computers and email and make me watch a movie (Howl’s Moving Castle) to make me relax, and re-focus.

There is more work to be done tomorrow, but I am looking forward to the weekend.

Until next time,