Yang-ja Lee was born and grew-up in Kyoto, Japan. After she got her PH.D. in Science (molecular biology), she came to US as a post doctoral fellow in the National Institutes of Health(NIH) based in Bethesda, Maryland in 1981. Since then, she had been working in NIH as a staff scientist until she retired in 2018.
In 2005, she started taking pottery classes at night in Glen Echo Pottery, which had been her longtime dream. She had enjoyed her dual life as a scientist/potter. After she retired from NIH, she has spent most of her time in Galesville, MD,where her family has a weekend home with her studio.
She appreciates the old traditional culture of Japan, particularly the Japanese tea culture (both everyday and ceremonial), an interest reflected in most of her pottery pieces. She always likes to make tea pots/cups, but also enjoys making big/tall vases as well. She uses stoneware and porcelain, and most of her pieces were either wood-fired or soda-fired.
She participated juried annual pottery shows at Popcorn Gallery in Glen Echo and juried community art show at River Gallery in Galesville, Maryland. She had two-person’s show entitled “Wind from the East” twice one at Orchard Gallery (2009) and another at Waverly Street Gallery (2016) both in Bethesda with Michiyo Mizuuchi who is a painter.