“A painting is not about an experience. It is an experience.”

In our Recycle + Repurpose class we talked about American painter Rothko and how we can use colors to say things or express emotions. We learned about luminosity, darkness and space and created these cardboard Rothko inspired sculpture.


Larry the Line

Is a friend of mine

He can make three

Straight lines for me!


Diagonal and horizontal!

Any curve, he can learn

With a twist and a turn.

When he's out of his tangle

he makes a great...angle.

Any line, he can make

After all, he's a snake!


In our Little Artists class we are learning all about … lines! Curve, angle, spiral, straight, we’ve learned them all!  We made this Jungle Snake collage inspired by our good snake friend Larry the Line who has taught us a great deal about lines!


Lebanon is packed with history, archaeology, natural beauty and a handsome population of fun-loving people whose hospitality and warmth extends the length and breadth of the country. Our very own Natasha Kozaily recently returned from a short trip to her father's homeland once known as the "Paris of the MiddleEast" and shares her thoughts and insights below. 


To articulate all the feelings I have for this country is difficult. The only way to truly understand it's beauty and magic is to visit, and I hope you do. The news today makes it easy to believe so many false narratives and stereotypes about Lebanon, but take it from me that this is the land of love and when it comes to loving I've never seen a nation do it better. If you ever visit, I promise that you feel embraced, cared for and romanced. Go and fall in love. 


I was eight years old when I first visited Lebanon, every trip back I learnt something new. This time was no different and the discoveries of this last visit have enriched my life with a new enthusiasm for poetry, food, music and gatherings. Here are some of my favorite finds, rediscoveries and hidden gems to explore. 





Hello! My name is Ella Eslamian I’m 14 years of age. I’ve been learning piano for 24 months. I love it because it is very rewarding to work on a piece of music and become very good at it My teacher's name is Erin. She’s so cool because she is very calm and encouraging. She pushes me to challenge myself. My favorite part about Kalabash is the warm and welcoming atmosphere One day I hope to learn enough piano to teach younger children I like the sound of Chopin I like the look of puppies and kittens I like the taste of mango ice cream mochi I like the feel of the warm sun on my face on a summer day If i could teleport anywhere in the world it’d be Maldives in the Indian Ocean because the ocean water looks like a swimming pool Advice to my fellow humans is “always, always, always believe in yourself, because if you don’t, then who will, sweetie?”

Congrats Ella! You're amazing! Here are some words from your teacher Erin Chan:

"Ella is inspiring! She is magnificently bright and a superbly sweet student. She comes into class with such a positive energy, motivated to learn as much as she can and has been able to pick up advanced techniques/ songs in such a short amount of time through diligent practicing, natural ability and adventurous learning spirit. We’re so lucky to have students like Ella shine at Kalabash!"

THE LITTLE PRINCE: A handmade theatre production!

A note from the Director:

The journey of the Little Prince has ignited a fire within each of us. I am giddy to the point of being speechless that this project came together as beautifully as it did. Before the project even started, Daniel, Natasha and I knew we had something special, but it wasn’t until seven beautifully creative souls walked through the doors of Kalabash that we understood how truly powerful this experience was going to be. It unveiled itself to all of us, week by week. The uninhibited ideas and excited hearts of each student began to form and blossom, while they themselves were coming out of their shells, and into their incredible ability to comprehend hard ideas, contribute passionate insight, listen to each other and build community. They did all this while taking on a huge amount of lines, blocking and physical forms that were strange and new to them. I am so proud of each of your children. I know that this, for many of them was their first experience on stage. I could not be more proud to be involved in fostering that experience for them. Our approach was nontraditional, because the students had their creative hands and imaginative minds on every single aspect of this show. It is truly their show. We just gave them the space to explore and create. I can’t take much more credit then that. It was their fierce and daring spirits that created the Little Prince.

The Little Prince is the story of a young boy trying to understand the purpose of life and growing up. Each of the planets he visits and grown ups he encounters represent a piece of ourselves that is lost in the transition from childhood into the “real world” as we begin to be burdened with “matters of consequence”. The Little Prince’s journey ultimately brings him back to what had always been most deeply important to him, his rose. The rose could manifest itself to mean many different things to each of us. At the end of his journey, the Fox tells the Little Prince; “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly.” This is the moment when the Little Prince decides to make a huge sacrifice to return to what he most loves. I encourage you all to take time to listen and reflect with your own heart after watching this show. Your heart knows you better then anyone else, it has never left you; it has celebrated the best of moments with you, and carried you through your darkest days. It is only there, that we can see the world through the eyes of youth, and with the complete wisdom of the world. I hope you all enjoy taking this journey with us. It has been a complete blessing to spend this time creating meaningful work with your unique, wise, colorful, openhearted children.


Nancy Ross


All of these beautiful photographers were taken by Dorka Hegedus


This month in our Art Studio, we are exploring the magic of print making! On our inspiration board:  Spanish artist-illustrator Violeta Lópiz, aquatic life, Earth day and Nature because Nature is awesome on any day! We are in love with the jungly portraits and beautiful illustrations of Violeta Lópiz:  So COOL!

Work in Progress by our Bird Rock Kids after the first session:

Let’s dive under the sea and take a look at our Little Artists created in our aquatic-themed printmaking class!


Hey everybody meet Paul Bertin, the amazing french sax player you need to listen to right now! He was kind enough to answer a few questions from our awesome sax student Lucas, who found his music and playing so super inspiring. We think you will too!

1. What are your favorite inspirations?

Stan Getz, Paul Desmond, Chet Baker were a big inspirations from a very young age, because my Dad would always play those records. Some pieces of Sydney Bechet really stuck with me too, I love his style. Lately I've been very inspired by different musics from the world, Mulatu Astatke's Jazz from Ethiopia, Selim Sesler's Turkish clarinet, Hungarian folk tunes, Rajhastanis nomad songs, Romanian melodies.. the list is long, but I find traditional musics to be fascinating. I also love when artist like Avishai Cohen or Tigran Hamasyan can mix traditional roots with a modern Jazz sound.

Besides music I get very inspired from observing nature: places like the forest, mountain tops and seasides fill me up with good creative energy. Watching stars as well, and I've got obsessed with sci-fi books that talk of space travel.

2. What made you want to be a sax player?

When I was 6 years old my parents asked what instruments I'd like to play, I replied saxophone, trumpet and cello (the way the music school worked, you had to pick 3 and be auditioned on each one). The cello teacher was not available that day and I couldn't make a sound out of the trumpet mouthpiece, but somehow the sax mouthpiece worked for me ! And so I kept studying classical saxophone in that school for the next 12 years.

What decided me to be a professional musician however was a visit to New Orleans in 2009 : I didn't know anyone there but I was very fortunate to meet wonderful people through music and play every night. To me it was a confirmation that I had something to offer and that I could make a career out of it.

3. What's your favorite thing about the alto?

I love the bittersweet sound of the alto, the tone cuts straight through to the heart. It is very expressive and versatile.

4. If you could play any other instrument what would you play?

Piano ! I wish I could play it well,  that would make me a much better musician overall. It really is the key to understanding western harmony, and a great tool for composition. I also love the Bass, I learned to play it as a teenager but never was great.

5. What's your favorite type of cheese?

You know how french people feel about cheese… we love it ! I am particularly fan of a cheese called Mont d'Or, it comes from the region of Besançon where I am from; it is a runny raw milk cheese that comes in a pinewood box. You dig a little hole in the cheese, pour some wine in it, and put the box in the oven; when it comes out, you have the most delicious warm liquid cheese with a golden crust, and you can dip bread in it or pour it over potatoes. It's amazing ! Unfortunately it's impossible to find in the US.

6. How do I play as fast as you?

Eat more cheese! Just kidding.. For the 12 years I spent learning saxophone, my teacher would have me play scales and arpeggios in every key. I didn't like it all that much, but that helped a lot for agility and fluidity. For some of the Romanian melodies I've learned lately (Romanians are notorious for playing extremely fast) I had to start very slow, not even half of the actual speed, and work my way up gradually. Some pieces have taken me weeks, even months, to master.

Articulation is very important : fingers can move quite fast but it's a precise tonguing that will make the note come out. When learning a new piece I always start by finding my articulation points : once that's set it's a lot easier to bring up the speed.

7. I'm very interested in this Balkan music. Do you recommend any pieces for a novice like me?

Here's a very famous tune by Macedonian saxophonist Ferus Mustafov called Dada Sali.

You will notice that there are a lot of ornamentations around the notes; I'd recommend to start by focusing on the melody even if you have to simplify it. Once when you're comfortable with the shape of the melody, you can add more detailed ornaments.

Here is a beautiful piece by Turkish clarinet player Selim Sesler called Gözyaşı (teardrops)

The melody is long but quite simple, feel free to simplify the ornaments when you learn it! A last one for now, by Selim Sesler again, called Kasap Havası (the song of the butcher)

This one is a little bit more advanced, but if you start veeeery slow and work your way up it's not so hard. And I'm sure your awesome teacher Stefanie at Kalabash can help you with that!


Hello! My name is Kaelin MacDonald I’m seven years of age. I’ve been learning art for six months. I love it because I like to draw and paint My teacher's name is Laurie. She’s so cool because she is the best at teaching art. My favorite part about Kalabash is art One day i hope to become a famous artist I like the sound of the music in the other room I like the look of the Art and Music rooms I like the taste of spaghetti I like the feel of my 4 dogs Megan, Cora, Frank and Cali If i could teleport anywhere in the world it’d be Alaska because I like all the snow places Advice to my fellow humans is be the best you can!

Words from her teacher:

"Kaelin’s is a natural! Her inquisitive mind and endless imagination always contributes to turning our exploration of the visual arts into a wild adventure! She always surprises me with her great sense of artistic composition and ability to think outside the box.
Not only is Kaelin a talented artist, she is also a kind one: her compassion and care for others shows through her art. Kaelin, you rock and it is a pleasure to be your teacher! Keep inspiring us!"

Laura Blythman Inspired Landscape Collage

Our little artists have been exploring the colorful world of Melbourne based contemporary artist Laura Blythman and they are big fans! We love her patterns, her dreamy sky collages and her colorful landscapes!  Laura was so kind to agree to do a little interview and answer our Little Artists questions, thank you for inspiring us!

Barrett: Why do you use black dots on top of the mountains?

Little black dots are one of my favourite textures and pattern. And in my imagination there should always be dotty mountains.

Barrett: What do you eat for breakfast?

I eat 2 Weetbix with milk and a cup of tea. Do you have Weetbix in America?

Ella: Why do you paint clouds pink?

I love pink clouds! the sky look magical when the sun sets or rises and the clouds turn pink.

Barrett: Why are there many mountains in your paintings?

I just really love mountains. I love to go to the mountains and I love to look at mountains.

Ella: Your clouds look like cotton candy. Do you like cotton candy?

Oh! I LOVE cotton candy. It is so sweet and fun. Once I tried Cotton Candy that had sparkles and sprinkles in it. They called it Unicorn Poop!

Ella: When did you start making beautiful art?

I started when I was your age. *Look at the photos I have attached :)

Barrett: Why did you grow up to be an artist?

Because it makes me so happy and it is important to do whatever makes you happy in life.

To realize this project we created and painted a variety of black and white patterns (dots, hearts, stripes, zigzags etc) along with two watercolor wash. We cut out mountain shapes in our painted sheets of paper and assembled all the pieces and glued them on a black paper background to create our landscape collage! Et voila!


We are thrilled to introduce you to our student of the month, Bob! It is always a pleasure to have him walk through our studio doors, always smiling, always making us smile. Here at Kalabash we welcome students of all ages to learn and get creative with us because it's never too early or late to learn something new and follow your dreams! We asked Bob to fill out a little questionnaire so we can introduce you to this awesome human being! Congrats Bob, keep playing that blues and shinning bright!

Hello! My name is Bob I am 80 years of age. My favorite animal is a Golden Retriever and I love the color Blue. If I could teleport anywhere in the world It’d be Indonesia (Bali). I came to Kalabash to learn how to play the piano and some of my goals are to play St Louis Blues (My mother’s favorite song + one of mine) and at least five other blues.

I can’t stop listening to all of Eric Clapton + Dave Brubeck - Take Five. I like the sound of many instruments (piano, guitar, sax, drums). I like the look of the ocean (ever changing). I like the taste of complex entrees. I like the feel of cotton + silk and if there is one more thing i’d like you to know about me it’s I’m adventurous! I’ve visited 41 countries and 38 states in USA so far!