Jes Lee

Photo walks

Best parts of today:

I had to pick John up from work today. I arrived early…but just happened to have my Hasselblad in my bag with me. I enjoyed a short photo walk along the river while I waited for him.

After a trip to the Farmer’s Market, I spent time making pottery with my dad. I created a new pitcher today. It reminds me of the saki pitchers we saw in Japan.



It is Sunday night, and I feel like I have already started a new week. The past handful of days have been tough-ish to say the least. But tonight, after a very long day at work, I had a date with my husband that included a swimming pool, and Chipotle, and that helped more than anything else has this week.

I am not going to get into the details of this past week. It is over and done. There are a few good points that I will dwell on here…

On Friday, after discovering that the Kathe Kollwitz exhibit was ending this weekend, my mom convinced me (it didn’t take much) to drop the other plans I had for my time between shifts, and we went to the museum. I am so glad we did. First, there are so many museums around here that going to is a meditative, inspiring, calming experience for me. The Weisman is one of them. (It always brings me back to being in college and going there for class or just to escape between classes. I love seeing how they have remodeled. It is cool to see them have more space to display some of their permanent collection pieces.) Kathe Kollowitz was one of those artists I was inexplicably drawn to and came across frequently in my studies. To have the chance to actually see her work in person is quite amazing. There is a huge difference between seeing a piece of art in person and seeing it in a book.

The other completely amazing exhibit that is there now is Tenuous, Though Real and contains artwork from 33 Minnesota artists, including four pieces from my friend and mentor Laura Migliorino, and Gary Hallman, one of my professors from the U, and so many others, some I have met in person, and some I never realized were from Mn. It was amazing! And while I will go to the art museum or an art gallery with anyone who wants to go (and even a few who weren’t really all that willing) it is fun to take my mom – we have some interesting discussions about the pieces.

My mom found a couple of pottery books in the gift shop to bring back to my dad. Talking about pottery with my dad is always fun. We have a couple of art festivals coming up that we are getting ready for, so we spent quite a bit of time this weekend chatting about the logistics of kiln firings and stuff to get ready for the next show. (I am also hoping to have a new online shop open for us soon!)

Saturday I had a chance to hang out with Mr. FN. While not all of our plans happened quite like we wanted, he did have time to take me to see his new office space. I must say I am quite impressed with where he works now! He also took me out for a sandwich from Surdyk’s – his favorite lunch spot. We had a little picnic outside and it was quite lovely!

Today was quite rough at times. But it ended with Mr. FN and I cooling off in my aunt’s swimming pool and our usual Sunday night Chipotle dinner. It was a small “date”, but it was what we both needed. My granny used to say that when you had a lot of things piling up on your mind, and a lot of things bothering your heart, or any baggage you needed to get rid of, that you should drive past the cemetery and bury it. Let it go. I have often heard her in my head saying that, especially when I know I need to let go of something, or just get over an awful week in general. I have tried it in the past, with a mild amount of success. But what I found tonight works better is drowning it. Jumping in a pool, and feeling yourself be weightless again. The water is cool, and for that first bit you can’t concentrate on anything else except breathing. That is where I can get rid of things and just let go. I am so grateful to have had a chance to do that tonight.

In an hour a new week will start, though I feel like it already started a couple of hours ago in that pool.

John diving in. Taken with a Pentax digital underwater camera, that has since died. I only have underwater film cameras now. This is not a hardship, but something I quite look forward to for this summer.

Yesterday was awesome


There isn’t much else I can say about yesterday except that it was pretty amazing.

For the first time in a long time I gave myself the time to develop some film. I stash rolls in a drawer in my studio until I have time to process them. Yesterday I looked and found 6 rolls waiting for me. Many were taken over the summer, right before I got busy framing work for my show. I can’t wait to get everything scanned in now. I’ll post a few here I’m sure.


My dad and I finally got a chance to work on making some new pottery. It was nice to get back into that. In case you didn’t know, I have been listing a lot of our pottery for sale on Etsy. (


I also got my Christmas present early! My family and husband all went together (and with some divine help from my granny!) got me a piano! I have missed having a piano at home for so long! This one is digital, it takes up much less space than a regular piano would, but still has weighted keys, a full keyboard, and sounds amazing! I played quite a bit last night after we got it home. It is so nice to be able to play and unwind again. For the longest time, playing music has been my way of unwinding, of relaxing and dealing with frustrations. My wonderful family knows this and realized that I needed one I could play whenever I needed (I have always had one to play at my mom and dads house) and we found this one. It took a bit of rearranging to have a space for it, and some kind of hard decisions. I had been keeping a lot of furniture that had been my granny’s for quite some time. Much of it was just being stored for when John and I had a bigger place. Not much of it fit our tastes, but it held many childhood memories for me (the server she hid all the glass marbles in!) and I was keeping it just because of her. I have come to realize though that furniture doesn’t embody a person, just their tastes (though stuff made by someone can often be a different story, it isn’t the case here) and often their tastes for a short time in their life. Memories don’t have to be tied to furniture or other objects. Memories don’t fade just because you don’t keep objects from the event. Those are just things, memories are experiences in your heart. In fact, it doesn’t always make sense what triggers a memory. I have had many people now comment on my artwork that certain pieces remind them of experiences, dreams, people, etc.

My granny will live on in memories and photographs forever without her furniture being stored. So, the server that always held glass marbles when I was little, and mostly just hid random things while I was using it at our condo, has moved on to be used by someone else, and in its spot is a new piano that some of the people I adore most, including my granny, helped me get. So what will today bring? For me, more time with family, and perhaps a bit of piano time this afternoon. Tomorrow is back to artwork and other creative bits, and probably more piano time. And being present. And enjoying where I am at.

Until tomorrow,