Friday, March 4, 2011

Member Interview


Hello Everyone
My name is Leslie Lee and my Etsy shop name is LeslieLeeArt, which is the name of my website, my email, my blog etc. Seemed like I should stick with it - it’s my “brand”!

I have been a professional artist of varying kinds all my adult life, mainly because my parents never told me I couldn’t be one. I was the last of four girls and the Wild One so they just let me choose my own route. I studied graphic design at Washington University in St. Louis MO but returned to my native Portland, Oregon to begin my career. When my daughter was old enough for pre-school I began taking sculpture classes and then got into ceramics, which had been a favorite medium as a child.
For nearly 25 years I pursued ceramic sculpture and even made the cover of Ceramics Monthly in 1994. (I always wanted to be a Cover Girl!) By then I had (re)married a potter and we had bought some land in Southern Oregon’s Applegate Valley to begin building our studios and home. In the middle of this adventure I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, which was caught earlier than it might have been thanks to a wonderful acupuncture practitioner who helped my body present symptoms. I had surgery and chemotherapy and started painting since I did not have enough energy to work with clay. Starting to paint was the silver lining in my cancer experience - I never went back to clay. This print, called HeartRoots was created as a thank you notecard which I sent to everyone who helped during my recovery. Later I had more cards printed and donated the sales to cancer research. Perfect for Project Embrace!


How did you learn about Etsy Project Embrace?
I think I was just exploring different features of Etsy and when Waterrose encouraged me I jumped in immediately. This is a great team and I am so grateful to all of you who have included my prints and cards in your Treasuries, chosen my work in Weekly Challenges, and made purchases.

Of all your creations, what is your favorite? And why?
I’d have to say the straw-bale home and adobe studio I designed and built with my husband and many volunteers. This is a creation that will endure and continue to inspire building in a more sustainable manner, with beauty and energy efficiency. The property is now for sale and people are having a hard time believing that we could ever leave this wonderful place, but the truth is we are artists who make things and then sell them so we can make more things. Our home just happens to be the biggest piece of art I have ever created and the one that makes a huge impression on people who visit here. If you’d like to see it go to and watch the video tour – guided by…me!

What is your favorite possession, and why do you cherish it?
My wedding ring (rose quartz in a gold setting), but what also pops up is our bright red leather couch, which was purchased with money my Dad left me, and on which I take a siesta ever day after lunch: my Heavenly Half Hour.

Is there something special you collect?
I don’t think of myself as a collector, but I am a sucker for more art supplies than I could ever use in a timely manner.

Do you have a blog? Twitter- LeslieLeeArt URL? This is a site a share with my husband and our doings at our Hummingbird property where we have a small B&B and host summer ceramic and painting workshops. I need to separate all this into different sites, but the amount of time I spend on the computer is really taking a toll on my creative studio time; I also manage my husband’s Etsy store Lately he has been making terra-cotta cups and I have been painting them. It’s very fun and I’m looking forward to get more of them photographed and into his store.

Where do you hope to be, personally and in your artistic endeavors, in say 10 years time?
In ten years I will be 72 years old. I would like to be comfortably settled with Dennis in a small home in Portland, Oregon, with studios on the premises. I want to be enjoying my grandson who will then be 11 years old and possibly have a younger brother or sister. I would like to be able to paint every day and sell most of what I do directly from my studio, website or Etsy. Ideally I will find a young whipper-snapper who will take care of all the computer work I now do to market Dennis’ and my work, giving me more time to delve into making art that might be meaningful to people and help shape their lives.

Thank you so much for sharing Leslie!!


  1. Ah, Leslie! Wonderful to see you here..and wonderful to see you in the world! And your art has inspired and pleased me since i first saw iut here on etsy/EPE! I do love the thank you card you created to thank the supporters. I too, can relate to one's art becoming "a silver lining in the cancer experience".I will be happily watching for more news of your life and art!

  2. Such a fabulous interview! The story is wonderful, as is the work created from your successful cancer treatment... I love the HeartRoots print! Love your studio spot as well! Thanks for sharing with us and for being a part of EPE.

  3. Leslie, this is a stunning interview!!! I'm so thrilled to see the beautiful person (inside & out) behind those artworks I've come to love so much in your shop. Thank you for sharing your wonderful and inspiring story with all of us - and in such eloquent words!

    Off to explore your husband's shop and then watch the video of your amazing home!

    Erica, thank you for another fabulous interview!

  4. What beautiful work and scenery and I'm so glad you joined TeamEPE! I love your work. You home and studio look lovely and now I'm going to take a peek at your tour. We plan on moving to oregon in the future....our son lives in Portland. I enjoyed visit portland, but even though I'm a city girl, it's a bit too congested for

  5. Hey All, thanks for the warm reception!
    PS- why is it I never see the typos until something is published?? It's one of the reasons I got out of graphic design; mistakes printed by the thousands!

  6. Wonderful interview!!
    So nice to get to "know" you, Leslie. Your art is beautiful, and your home is amazing. You are a perfect addition to our great team...

  7. Thank you for this amazing and inspirational story! Keep going!

  8. What an inspiring life, Leslie! Your work is beautiful, and I am so happy to learn more about you here :-)