The Art of Motherhood with Joyce Lee
I first connected with Joyce Lee, head of design for Madewell and mother of two, during the throws of spring 2020 quarantine. I was at home (a lot) with my own two kids and had just launched La Paloma. Her Instagram feed was heavy on the eye candy and void of the types of content that often cue eye rolls– think delightful color stories, quirky vintage pieces and curious art. I was already a forever fan, but when she posted this image of her daughter Poppy in our Paloma Stripe house dress it really sealed it.
After her long time tenure at Madewell and new project, Quiltey, I asked if she might show us around her Williamsburg neighborhood and speak to the role that art has played in her life.
Jen: What's your name, where do you live and who lives in your home?
Joyce: My name is Joyce Lee and I live in Brooklyn, NY with my husband James Ryang and two kids, Poppy (6) and Kai (2).
What are you most enjoying these days about this current stage of motherhood?
I love being able to do more activities with both of them now that we are out of the baby stage. The kids play nicely together (some of the time, but I'll take it), and it's also a lot of fun spending time with each of them, one on one... It really is fun moving through all the different stages and seeing how things evolve as a family.
What do you remember about art as a child? Do you remember being particularly excited by creative projects when you were young?
I absolutely loved doing any creative projects as a child - any arts and crafts classes, puffy painting tons of t-shirts for everyone I knew, making friendship bracelets, oil painting (my mom's house is still full of all the paintings!), trying to figure out how to sew my own clothes and accessories. It always made me feel the happiest when working on something creative.
How is art a part of your kids' lives now that you are a mom?
My daughter also loves art, so I'm grateful that a lot of the things I used to love are also very exciting to her. It's fun to do various projects together with the kids, and now that Kai is also able to participate, it's so cool to see how they each look at things. We love taking them to museums, art classes, and making up creative projects together.
When do you feel most creative? Where do you get your best ideas?
Usually when I'm in the shower, or traveling, or just away from the day to day.
A perfect day in Brooklyn with kids?
I love a wide open day with no real schedule, where we can wander around through our neighborhood - we love Domino Park, having pizza at Roberta's, mini golfing, and always a gelato treat at Gentile. It's always fun seeing friends and other neighborhood kids, and they always have a great time playing at all the playgrounds.
Photography by Yumi Matsuo