Born in Atlanta, Leslie Ferst majored in Art History at Skidmore College. Formative undergraduate studies took her to Italy, Greece and the Netherlands. Leslie continued her studies in ceramics with at Boston University where she received her MFA in Ceramics. Among her Artists Residencies were Ossabaw Island at the Ossabaw Island Foundation (Georgia), the Archie Bray Foundation (Montana) and the Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts (Maine) where she became a founding board member. For twenty years Leslie was Visiting Assistant Professor in the Art Department at Skidmore, where she taught all levels of ceramics. She has taught at the University of Vermont, Boston University, Johnson State College and in the Summer Art Program at Skidmore.

Leslie has received numerous grants, most notably from the New York Foundation on the Arts, the Rensselaer County Council on the Arts, the Empire State Crafts Alliance, the Vermont Council on the Arts, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and numerous faculty development, research and study grants from Skidmore College.

She has participated in over 100 national group and solo exhibitions. Among the venues are the Dedee Shattuck Gallery, Graficas Gallery, the LaCoste Gallery, the Signature Shop and Gallery, the Southern Vermont Arts Center, the Fuller Museum, the Munson Williams Proctor Institute Museum of Art, the New York State Museum, the Albany Institute of History and Art, and the Frederick Weisman Museum of Art. Public collections include the Frederick Weisman Museum of Art, the Mori Museum/Hakodate Japan, the Archie Bray Foundation, Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia Council for the Arts, Siena College and Skidmore College.