Jes Lee


The last of the mind-numbing editing is done for my Made Here work. Next step is more test printing, and sending the images on their way to the printer. I’m excited to see how the prints turn out. This will be the largest I have ever had anything printed!


5 new boxes of pottery were priced, and packaged, ready for Craftstravaganza in a couple of weeks.

And I have already packed my breakfast and lunch for tomorrow’s early work day. I am celebrating every minor accomplishment this morning!

John has been amazing at getting the house ready for weekend guests. I don’t know what I would do without him! I managed to get just a little more laundry done. Somehow, everything around here that needs to happen, does.

I will make it to yoga today as well. Possibly, one of the kindest things I will do for myself today.

I hope you find something kind to do for yourself as well.


One can’t survive on photos alone

I used to be a very stressed out and high-strung person. I still can be at times. But this is something that I promised John I would work on, and he is one of the first people to say I have gotten better over the last couple of years.

Sure, a lot of it is attitude. Training my brain to let go of the things I can’t control, the changes I can’t stop, and taking one thing at a time. To let go of things that aren’t working, which sometimes has included certain people as well. That last one hasn’t been easy.

I have been changing my diet in small ways. I have stopped critiquing my body. I have stopped listening to people telling me what I should do, unless I have asked for their opinion.

I keep creating, because I have to, and because I want to. I have changed my definition of creating.

I go to yoga and I meditate as many days as I can, and every day I remind myself that I know how to breathe.

I am noticing more. And stopping to notice more often.

I am forgiving more. Trying to. Sometimes this takes more time than I would like it to.

Am I perfect at all of this? Hell no. Are there still times when I get super stressed out and un-wrapped and need to be reminded of these things? Sure. But I am trying. And it is helping me. It is making a difference.



Just a day

Today is just a day. But I am finally feeling the most human I have felt all week, and that is saying something! And thank goodness for that small favor today. For today, for this chick, there is a doctor’s appointment, and a photo job drop off before work. There has already been laundry, and extra morning medicine. Today at work there will be more messiness than usual, and lots of energy.

And I keep moving along with all of it, looking towards the weekend. A weekend of art show openings to try to get to, and a new camera lens being delivered…

Yes, that’s right. I found a new camera lens online yesterday! While, new to me. It is a used lens after all. But one that will help with the nature photos this year, so that I don’t always have to borrow a lens from someone else. I’m quite excited to try it out! Perhaps this weekend will also hold a bit of photography as well. As long as the temperatures co-operate just a bit…


Getting out

Even though winter is one of my favorite seasons (with summer a close second…I am a girl of extremes) it is still so easy to get caught up into hibernation mode and spend loads of time in front of the tv under the blankets. This year I am trying to combat that!

A friend of mine decided that she was going to go to as many openings and theater shows as she could this winter. So, I am copying her.

Valentine’s Day Weekend was the first of this experiment.

Friday evening I stopped by Rouge Buddha Gallery to see Nicolas Harper’s newest work as well as some of his guest artists. I stopped at a tiny art gallery on the way home that had a sign outside saying there was an art opening, but it seemed quite private, so I didn’t stick around. On Saturday, during our Valentine’s Day wanderings, we stopped by Black Dog Coffee in St. Paul to see the Metro Sketchers work that is displayed there, while sipping hot chocolate and tea. On Monday, I was at MCBA helping take photos of artwork for the upcoming ‘This Is Book Art’ exhibit where I got to see and look close up at some of the amazing book art that is being delivered to the gallery for the show.

Having a weekend full of art filled up my empty spaces again. I have a list of other shows to see, and plan on continuing this well past the end of winter.

Of course, it would help if I felt better. This weekend I have barely made it off the couch, except for work. Being sick sucks, and I did miss a few fun things this weekend. But it happens, and life goes on, and I will eventually feel better. There is more art out there waiting for me.


Get to it











Yesterday felt like a giant roller coaster ride.

I was awake quite early to head to the library for my volunteer shift.  2014-01-21 09.08.58

It felt so great being back, seeing the broad range of books that come through the preservation department.

2014-01-21 09.09.18

I got quite far on the books I am working on re-binding and re-covering. They will be so lovely when they are all done! I have a wonderful supervisor at the library, and we spent three hours chatting about books and photography and cameras.

Later in the day, I received a rejection email about a job I had been really hoping would work out. That news, I admit, led to a pity-party-for-one. Of course John took me out for dinner and a beer at my favorite pub, and things looked up for a bit.

At the end of an emotionally exhausting day, I began chiding myself, that I have had all this time at home to work on my artwork, and yet I have been hardly making anything. After recently talking to another dear artist friend who had a similar experience (finding herself without a day job for a while, not making any new work during that time off, and now longing for that free time again to make more art) I was determined that would not be my experience. I started today determined to create something….anything.

Fueled by one more cup of coffee than normal (yes, I actually made myself a cup of coffee in my automatic coffee maker just to be able to function and brew my normal French Press pot of coffee this morning…) I was off to a great start today. After finishing three photo jobs, uploading loads of photo work for MCBA, I figured it was time to get off the couch and be creative.

While eating a quick lunch, I began organizing the folders on my laptop’s desktop. You know when you have so many icons on the desktop that creating a new one just layers that new icon on top of an old one, but you don’t realize it, and soon you have a stack of icons that is at least ten icons high? That had happened some time, and about 20 new folders ago. As I was organizing, I created a folder of film scans that needed to be cropped and processed and posted on Flickr and my blog….and that folder was full! What I realized then that I have done during my time here is not giving myself enough credit. No, I have not created a new book, or a new photo box, or finished all of those applications for solo shows I have put off. But I have taken photos. I have taken a lot of photos…a lot more than I was taking last year at this time. And that is creating something. No, I haven’t printed any yet, but I did just last week get my new darkroom set up so I can print some now. And I did write out a statement and description for a new photo box project I would like to create. And that is something too.

2014-01-19 16.26.14-1

2014-01-19 16.20.35-1


So, instead of kicking myself for not making a new book or a new print or a new photo box or anything else like that yet, I’m going to celebrate the fact that I have gotten back in with my cameras, and my film, and am working at starting to figure me out, and start something new. Healing takes a lot of work and energy, and I have a bit of that to do yet as well. And instead of rambling anymore about all of this, I’m going to head down to my darkroom, and develop the three rolls of film that are waiting for me.

Sunshine and studio days!

Yes, I was up late last night, but I managed to finish all the photo jobs that had been waiting for me. Today will be a day full of completing art show applications, printer testing, and working on artwork for my bindery gallery show.

I love days like this, that are full of possibility!

This weekend I will be going to a small local tech conference, and hopefully learning a bit more about WordPress and a few other technologies I have used lately. I’m planning some major updates to my website and blog later this summer, and I’m hoping to learn a lot at this conference!

The 30 days of Poetry challenge has gone well! The poems I have written are nothing great, but I am writing. This has worked well for me (yes, I know, it has only been four days). I do plan on posting more of them here soon. Possibly when I hit #5…

2013-04-03 17.21.56


In other news, my Christmas Cactus has a flower! …. Which is strange, because obviously it isn’t anywhere close to Christmas time. I will have to do a bit of research on this little plant soon I guess! For now, I’m just happy to have that bright color on my computer desk!

Have a great day everyone!

In my head

I admit it has gotten a bit quiet again around my blog.

I haven’t gone anywhere. I have just been working hard on my project, which has included a lot of non-visual not-very-exciting prep work, but things are moving a long smoothly. I have done a lot of research and writing as well.

I admit that I have also been sucked into a really good book and I have often been spending every quiet moment reading “just one more page” instead of updating things here. I’m not apologizing for that though! Perhaps I will post a little book review of it here later, just to make up for being quiet ;)

Things in my personal world have been a bit whirl-wind-ish lately as well, which is really nothing new. That always tends to make me a bit more introspective and into journaling more than blog posting. Ho hum. Enough excuses.

We are having a gorgeous snow storm today! The kind that makes you want to curl up and read from a warm couch where you can watch the flakes swirl down! The kind that makes you start planning skiing and outdoor wintery activities later in the week. The kind that makes you start clearing schedules….

…..or is that just me?

Maybe I’ll be inspired to post some snow photos later. For now, I’ll be here, reading and sketching and daydreaming.

2013-03-03 21.34.05

Super woman

Well here we are at Monday.

This weekend I felt a bit like I was playing at being Super Woman or something. I accomplished a lot, and had quite a bit of fun, but I am dragging today!

To start with, Thursday last week I photographed two gallery shows, and brought home more items from MCBA to photograph in my light box. I love my photo job at MCBA! Though I admit, this week the photos I have to process are stacking up on my computer! On the plus side, I am really enjoying my new camera, and am quite close to selling my old camera equipment.

Friday, I worked a double shift at my day job, ran a few errands in between, then headed back to MCBA to photograph an event. John and I met up with a couple of friends after that. I crashed when we got home.

Saturday we were up early to clean for a showing at our condo, then off to learn how to play Mahjong with a couple John knew from a previous job. We had a ton of fun, and I am now obsessed with the game and determined to teach more friends to play!

2013-01-26 16.24.36


Saturday night I buckled down and finally got a draft written for a residency application that is due by the end of this week. John was very sweet and read it over for me. I will be working on the final edits tonight, and turning it in tomorrow. I am excited and so very nervous all at the same time!

Sunday was a long working-the-day-job day, but we did close a bit early due to the snow. Did I mention there was snow??!!

2013-01-27 16.43.02


(I was playing around with camera apps on my phone while I was at work yesterday. The snow was so pretty!!)

It was nice to be home a bit early. We stayed up way too late watching Downton Abbey and The West Wing. I did get a lot of book page layouts done while we were doing that, and I am now ready to print the rest of the book pages for this series. This will help immensely this week – I have an appointment to see the eye doctor on Thursday morning, and I know I won’t be able to focus on any fine-detail photo work for awhile after that…but I can print!

Of course the thought of going to the eye doctor brings up all sorts of things for me to worry about such as wondering how much my prescription sunglasses will cost this time, and my increasing self-consciousness about wearing glasses and all sorts of things like that, but hey! One day at a time here.

Today is Monday, there is work to be done, and an application to finish, a blanket of fresh snow on the ground, and no time to worry about things I can’t change today!

Hello again….

Funny the things you notice when the dust settles a bit. My last post was on December 11th, and the very last time I had enough time to sit down and have a smidge of brain space left to even open up my little red 2012 date book, it was December 10th.

Here I am again. Many things have happened between now and then, and it hasn’t been the easiest month…really, it hasn’t been exactly the easiest year. But, there have been an awful lot of things happening in the world that are way worse than anything I have had to deal with, so I am not going to whine or complain. I will say that I am looking over to January 1st and the feeling of a fresh start in many things, including the realization of a couple of ‘gifts’ I gave myself this week.

Gift #1 to myself: I have failed at my Year of 30 project, and I am ok with that. It was a cool idea. The way I started it created gorgeous journals, but it was getting quite expensive and quite hard on one of my favorite cameras. So after 3 months I opted to switch to a different camera. I have already had 3 rolls of film not turn out with that camera for various reasons. This project had already gotten a bit frustrating – I love taking photos, but it is a lot of pressure taking one every day that can also be journaled about, keeping track of it for when the film is developed, printing, and mounting in a journal. Frankly, it got to be a bit too much, and when a number of rolls failed, I had had enough. It was my gift to myself to allow this project to fail, and fade away. I will eventually print and journal the remaining photos I do have from it. I hope to someday be ambitious enough to get those photos all up on this website. Honestly, I am ok not documenting every day of being 30.

Gift #2 to myself: I am letting go of the Sketchbook Project I joined last year. The deadline is January 15th, and my sketchbook is still blank. I had big plans when I signed up, and none of those have really panned out. I never imagined I would have a year this busy, this full of shows and work. I’m not complaining about any of it. I do feel bad that I haven’t gotten this project done, and that I can’t do it justice between now and the deadline. But, something has to give, and I am giving myself the gift of letting this go.

2013 will bring for me a place in a print exchange with the Honolulu Printer’s Guild, a show in the Bindery Gallery at MCBA in June (yes that is really happening), along with a couple of other MCBA Artist Co-op shows and obligations. Ironically, I feel like I’m taking it easy in 2013! Ha!

The annual celebrating of Christmas has come to an end. It was a great time, as always, to hang out with my family, and enjoy how lucky we are to be able to be together. Little traditions…special moments…

Besides the general traditions of time with family, meals shared, and special decorations, Mr. FN and I continued our tradition of spending Christmas Day together, just the two of us. We slept in, made breakfast, baked bread, cooked dinner, watched many episodes of West Wing (no spoilers please!), and I worked on the leather journals I am binding for us. Yes, it has been awhile since I have worked on those. This is due in part to the couple of things I mentioned above that I gave up this week. It turns out, that sewing a headband on a book is a little like riding a bike…you don’t really forget! … Especially when you finally find the directions given to you when you were in the workshop…

2012-12-25 21.18.19


One day I will have these journals done….

2012-12-22 13.34.35-2

December 22nd will always be a special day for Mr. FN and I. That’s why I started my last 365 cell phone photo project on that day, and that’s why I am starting year two on the same day. These projects have been fun, and they don’t have quite the same pressure the film project did. So, I’ll keep them up for now! Instead of posting photos on Instagram (more discussions about that in a later post!) I will be posting them in my Flickr account. Check in once in awhile!

2012-12-22 19.17.09


Until next time (whenever that may be), have a happy holiday, and may 2013 be a peaceful year for us all!

Passing time

It was a gloriously long weekend for this girl.

Friday night was the opening for the two person show I am in. It was great! I am so very grateful for the people that have taken the time so far to go and see it. I’m really amazed by this show!

Saturday I taught a class at Bloomington Art Center. The students were great! I think this is possibly one of the best groups yet.

The rest of the weekend was spent celebrating being married to Mr. FN for 10 years! (Yes, for those of you wondering, we had two weddings. This is the anniversary of our first wedding!) We spent this wonderful weekend kayaking, biking, watching loads of movies, baking bread and soup, and just enjoying being together.

John in his kayak on Long Lake Saturday afternoon.

Sunday bike ride past the train yards

making soup stock

Now it is back to a regular week of working and catching up before my work schedule changes again. I keep thinking back to this long weekend though, and how wonderfully simple it was. The only thing that mattered was being together. There really should be more times like that.