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!

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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.

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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!


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.

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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,



This new year is still new



I am still getting the hang of this new year.

I have introduced a lot of new practices into my creative life. Some are sticking well, others not as much.

I have kept up with my film 365 project, and in the process fixed one of my broken cameras.

I have kept up with my ‘morning pages’ journaling practice, though not quite every morning, and not always 3 full pages. But I am journaling and writing more, and it is helping me more than I ever thought.

I have started doing yoga. I went to three classes last week, and really enjoyed the challenge and calm they provided. (Also, yoga makes me feel warm, which I desperately need now!)

I have started working with the studio manager at MCBA on a very exciting project there.

I have started a new book making class at MCBA that will guide me towards making a new editioned book. I admit, I was scared to death to go to this class. I still am, though much less than I was. It is intimidating studying under and next to book artists that I look up to and admire, and feeling like my work belongs. But it has been amazing. I have a lot of work to do on this project, and many articles and books to read to help guide me through this design process, and I am looking forward to it!

Through a very kind friend’s amazing generosity (if you happen to be reading this, you know who you are!) I am the owner of an Impossible Project Instant Lab camera. This amazing little invention creates instant photos of any image you can put on a cell phone. I have played with it all weekend, trying different exposures, making images of cell phone photos and artwork compilations, and double exposures. 2014-02-08 11.31.45

There will be a full blog post on this very soon! I am still too amazed at what it can do to really put in words yet.

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I have had to do more healing this winter than I ever expected to. For the first in quite a while, I finally feel like I have a better grip on it. 2014 is still new and still fresh, and still great.

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Today also happens to be the birthday of the guy I adore. I am very happy to be enjoying 2014 with him. Happy Birthday love!

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:

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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,


Getting back

Monday was a bit of a blur this week.

But, here we are at Tuesday. I am standing at the bottom of a mountain of a week that will have me running from place to place, setting up photo shoots, and watching my folders of photos to process grow exponentially. It is still exciting to me, and I wouldn’t have it any other way just yet.

This past weekend we spent at a resort with John’s company for their holiday party. It was a lot of fun and exhausting in the best ways. The freezing cold bits of January are past for now, making it possible to actually be outside. On Saturday I actually managed a short photo walk. Both John and I needed a bit of ‘introvert’ time away from the crowds. I brought my camera with and we walked along the lake at the resort. That has me beginning to feel like I am closer to being back in touch with my film cameras again.

Now, to take on the rest of the week.

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Taken with my cell phone. Film version coming soon.