Blog: Coventry

Whimsical Collages

A month ago I taught a really fun Whimsical Collage Class together with my friend Julie Fei-Fan Balzer in the UK and I realized I haven’t really shown my samples for the workshop yet.


It was fun to work in a series, with the same colors and materials and also techniques. Here are some pictures of the workshop for Art Workshops in Coventry – I love what our students created.

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Inspired by: The New Cathedral in Coventry

At the beginning of the month I was teaching with my friend Julie in Coventry. I came in on Thursday morning and Thursday afternoon was the only time for some sightseeing – so off we went.

Coventry was devastatingly destroyed during the German Blitz in 1940 during World War II and many people died during the attacks and many lost their homes. Coventry Cathedral was destroyed as well and remains as a ruin in the middle of the city. I posted about the ruins last year – you can find the post here. This year I went also into the New Cathedral – wow!

What a beautiful building.

Above is the Baptistery window which you will see right after you go in. The New Cathedral was built next to the remains of the old cathedral. “Spence the architect insisted that instead of re-building the old cathedral it should be kept in ruins as a garden of remembrance and that the new cathedral should be built alongside, the two buildings together effectively forming one church.” The cathedral was consecrated on 25 May 1962.

The Christ in Glory tapestry by Graham Sutherland, which is maybe one of the worlds largest, is breath taking!

There were also hundreds of seat cushions- little pieces of art!

Below is the Chapel of Christ the Servant (also known as the Chapel of Industry). A giant glass building with  a cross and crown of thorns above the altar

Next to the Chapel of Christ the Servant is the Chapel of Christ in Gethsemane.

A mosaic of the angel who offers the cup of suffering to Christ as he prayed.

I am so glad I went back to see the New Cathedral as well. I think last year when I was there with Birgit it was closed.

St Michael’s Victory over the Devil, a sculpture by Jacob Epstein outside the Chapel.


I am glad I could share this little trip with Julie – although- boy was I tired after the red eye flight over the pond ;)

And I leave this post with this plague on the wall of the old cathedral.

Hope this little trip was inspiring for you!


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Mixed Media Circus Whimsical Collage – Photos

Ready for an epic photo capture of the 3 Day Collage Workshop my friend Julie Fei-Fan Balzer and I taught in Coventry, UK for Art Workshops last week?

We had a fabulous time with 32 students – and started Friday by creating lots of patterned paper.

Making marks


layering stencils

smiling :)


layered stamping and scratching

layering and splattering

just going going going

It was so much fun to watch everyone being in the zone :)

well…I hope they had as much fun watching us LOL

more layered stencils

look at my new Hex in action – Diane rocked this pattern!

Ally aka Piere aka Sam ;) (insider joke) agreed to spice up the photos a bit …there was a lot of that as you will see this weekend LOL

And then it was time for the next day and starting the first six collages and talking about Elements and Principles of Design.

We had some collaborative fun!


and some wand waving was included too (again ….insider joke sorry LOL)

I think it was a lot of fun to work on a big surface too for a change

and then we just looked at all the sheets that were created and were part of what we taught that day

On the third day Julie and I started with a demo of how we usually work in a series

while making fun of each other ;)

and then it was up to our amazing students to put everything they learned in the last 2 1/2 days into six collages.

we did our best to help …oh brother ;)

Look at happy Abs – such a contagious smile :)

Beautiful messes were made



lots of wonderful transfers

and of course lots of photos were taken in between



And then for the final everyone displayed their 12 collages on a piece of paper and we had a good look at all of them.

The leap between the first six and the second six on the final day were amazing. And soooo much color and happiness.

We had such a great time and it fills me with a lot of happiness to look at those photos. Thank you all so much for coming to this workshop and jumping into this crazy artful adventure with us :) Thank you to Sue from Art Workshops and her amazing team Dawn, Debbie and Leroy for all the wonderful help and making us feel super welcome. This was the second time I taught for Sue and sure hope it wasn’t the last :)

I am taking a in-person teaching hiatus most of 2019 as I have some big plans and …well some of you might have seen it, we are on a house hunt which is taking up a lot of time (plus the way it looks it will def. a house that requires a lot of work). Cross your fingers for us – it is a bit stressful to find a place esp. in this area – I won’t lie ;)  Join me meanwhile for my online workshops here and watch this place in the next months for even more online workshops :)


Comments (4)

  • Dawn


    Fabulous memories of a fabulous weekend. It was lovey to meet you for the first time and see you inspire so many students. Hope to see you again soon xx


  • Hazel Agnew


    Without doubt the best course for content that I have ever experienced! Learned so much. And we had a ball at the same time. Grateful thanks! Xx


  • Ally


    Glad I could spice up those photos! ?
    It was a truly awesome weekend!!! Thankfully we had fabulous teachers too!!! Xxx


  • Debbie Martin


    So many wonderful memories of a very special weekend. Fantastic to see you again and looking forward to next time. Tapping my thumbs frantically for you. Hugs Debbie xx


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Workshop with Julie Fei-Fan Balzer in the UK! November 2018

The Mixed Media Circus is coming to town in Coventry, UK! Come one, come all! Join Julie Fei-Fan Balzer and myself for 3 days of mixed media madness in our newest workshop: Whimsical Collage. Take an art making vacation with us November 2nd-4th, 2018 with the amazing folks at Art Workshops in Coventry.

Mixed Media Circus: Whimsical Collage – A thrilling three-day art adventure awaits you! Join Julie Fei-Fan Balzer and Nathalie Kalbach for an intensive art-making weekend packed with tips, techniques, ideas, laughter, and excellent instruction. Over the three days we will create our own unique papers, build complex backgrounds, layer collage and paint and collage again, use stamps, use stencils, draw, splatter, scrape, and learn varied art concepts from color mixing to design principles. You will leave the workshop with TWELVE completed mixed media collages and an arsenal of art techniques and ideas that can be used in your art journal, on canvas, and while papercrafting. You do not want to miss out on this opportunity to expand your repertoire of techniques! Please join us for Mixed Media Circus: Whimsical Collage.

To sign up and claim your spot, contact:

Sue Tucker, Art Workshops

Facebook –

Email –

Phone 07769 342 995

See YOU in Coventry!



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June 22-24, 2018 3 Day Workshop in Coventry, UK

Birgit Koopsen and I are so excited that we are coming back to teach another 3-Day Workshop in Coventry in the U.K for Art Workshops.

Take a Stroll Around the Block with Birgit and Nat and discover that inspiration is all around you!
In this 3 day workshop, we’ll embark upon a creative scavenger hunt to seek out inspiring clues in our environment. You’ll learn how to turn these inspiring clues into artwork by using inspiration maps, some of Birgit and Nat’s favorite techniques and tools, and your own personal style.

Based on what you have seen on your stroll and how you apply these tips and tricks, you’ll come away with very unique and personal art journal pages that work. In the end, you’ll have learned about pattern design, composition, and other Elements and Principles of art and a new technique for gathering inspiration for your art-making.

After these three days you’ll know how to find and look for inspiration in architecture, street art, nature and museums and how to translate all this into meaningful and creative artwork.

I hope you will join us, we had such an awesome class last year in Coventry- you can see some pictures of the 3Day Workshop back then here.

Here is a little video where Birgit and I are talking a bit more about the workshop and what we will do:

Birgit and Nat talk about the Stroll Around Block Workshop from Nathalie Kalbach on Vimeo.

Information for sign up and pricing can be found at Art Workshops.


Comments (2)

  • Karen Bearse


    Dream team this look awesome! How much fun that would be.


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Inspired By: Coventry, England

When Birgit Koopsen and I taught our Workshop in Coventry, we took a little trip to the city center to check it out.

The city was founded in 1043 with some beautiful medieval houses still intact.

Love the lines and those beautiful windows.

And I love old doors and door knobs- aren’t those cool?

And the timber wood house facades.

The crest of Coventry shows an elephant carrying the castle- as you can imagine I love that :)

You can find the Elephant everywhere

Coventry was devastatingly destroyed during the German Blitz in 1940 during World War II and many people died during the attacks and many lost their homes. Coventry Cathedral was destroyed as well and remains as a ruin in the middle of the city.

It is a haunting experience and yet there is so much beauty in this place!

“Coventry Cathedral is one of the world’s oldest religious-based centres for reconciliation. Following the destruction of the Cathedral in 1940, Provost Howard made a commitment not to revenge, but to forgiveness and reconciliation with those responsible.

Using a national radio broadcast from the cathedral ruins on Christmas Day 1940 he declared that when the war was over he would work with those who had been enemies “to build a kinder, more Christ-child-like world.”


“Today the medieval ruins of Coventry Cathedral continue to remind us of our human capacity both to destroy and to reach out to our enemies in friendship and reconciliation. In 2011, the ruins were designated as a memorial to all civilians killed, injured or traumatized by war and violent conflict world-wide.” (from the Coventry Cathedral Website)

“The Charred Cross and the Cross of Nails were created after the cathedral was bombed. The cathedral stonemason, Jock Forbes, saw two wooden beams lying in the shape of a cross and tied them together.

It has become a symbol of peace and reconciliation across the world. There are over 330 Cross of Nails Centres all over the world, all of them bearing a cross made of three nails from the ruins, similar to the original one. When there were no more of these nails, a continuing supply have come from a prison in Germany. They are co-ordinated by the International Centre for Reconciliation.”

Shadow and Light and a lot of amazing and touching statues.

The artist Josefina de Vasconcellos about her statue above: “The sculpture was originally conceived in the aftermath of the War. Europe was in shock, people were stunned. I read in a newspaper about a woman who crossed Europe on foot to find her husband, and I was so moved that I made the sculpture. Then I thought that it wasn’t only about the reunion of two people but hopefully a reunion of nations which had been fighting.”

For someone born in Germany visiting places like these are always very emotional and a reminder that anyone in our country – and actually in any country is responsible to work towards that none of this can happen again !

Birgit and I also visited the Herbert Art & Gallery next to the Cathedral – the painting below was created after the painter visited the ruins a day after it got destroyed.

It was a beautiful yet solemn time and yet again there is something so soothing knowing that 70 years later a German with a Dutch friend visits this place and talks about all that happened and all that hopefully never happens. To see that Coventry after all this became a city of reconciliation is inspiring.

I hope that despite the sad topic this post was inspiring to you too. My blog is about my creative journey and life as an artist, and this is part of it. Peace and Love to all of you!

Comments (5)

  • Cheryl


    As a woman who most likely will be unable to travel, I want you to know I was brought to tears looking through these photos as well as the newer visit at the new cathedral. Very moving. Thank you so much for sharing your shining heart with us. And. This thank you goes for Julie, too. You don’t know the joy you share with us all. Thank you. I will create in my art journal forgiveness in mind.


  • Zoe Gregg


    Did you have time to go into the new cathedral as well. There are some incredible pieces of art in there too.


    • nathalie-kalbach


      Zoe- I wil go def. next year when I am back- we didn’t manage this time but this sounds wonderful! Thank you for the tip!


  • Deb


    Kudos to you Natalie for yet another touching, inspiring and thoughtful post with amazing photography. Blessings to you. Keep doing all that you do with your sense of Love and Artful Adventure. Now that you are American….Happy Thanksgiving!


    • nathalie-kalbach


      thank you Deb- I am glad you liked the article. Have a wonderful and special weekend!


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Color Crush Workshop in Coventry, UK for Art Workshops

Last weekend my friend Birgit Koopsen and I taught our 3Day Color Crush Retreat for Art Workshops in Coventry in the U.K.

We had a wonderful group of 34 super talented and sweet ladies creating an art journal from scratch.

Birgit and I both love color but we both have a different style and we set the mood by putting a lot of colorful stuff out.

we started with some color theory and color exercises and some ink drawings and stamping.

so many happy faces – it was such a great group.

Look at all those colors!

Aren’t those gorgeous? The second day we did a lot of gelli printing techniques

Now if you do not call this a yummie color crush!

And we even had a short session for making your own foam stamps outside- the weather was great…who says it is always raining in the U.K?

And a lot of the new Art Foamies were used as well

And of course there was a ton of opportunity to buy some stuff …always love seeing the ArtFoamies, most were gone after 3 days.

It was wonderful to see Tali, Tsila, Iris and Hedi from Israel again -it is so many years ago that I met them when teaching in Tel Aviv. Thanks for coming all the way to the UK to join us.

The third day we started the day off binding the book and adding the covers. I don’t think Hazel and Shirley were really as scared as they look like in the photo when Birgit explained how to add the covers- LOL

After having the book all together we got a treat.

The food for the event was plenty some and so good and on top of that Sue, B, Leroy, Debbie and Pam made all of us feel really pampered during the whole retreat.

And then it was all about finishing up some pages and showing how we layer on top of our backgrounds


And…seeing a lot of the ladies with my book “Artful Adventures in Mixed Media”  made me super duper extra happy. I know I am a dork but it really does!

Since I came home this week I feel so energized and inspired- it was such a wonderful retreat. Thank you so much to all of the wonderful students who joined us, for Sue for inviting us and to her and her staff for taking great care of us and to my wonderful friend, partner in crime and very tall co-teacher Birgit! It was amazing.

If you weren’t able to join but would like to take a workshop with me check out my In-Person Classes. I will be teaching at the Queens Ink in Maryland  and at Runaway Art and Craft Studio on November 4-5 and December 2 -3 in Oregon. And if you are interested in taking a workshop with me and Birgit – we are coming back to Syracuse July 20-22, 2018 for a three day fun retreat – so safe the date.

Comments (10)

  • karen bearse


    Looks like it was a lot of fun with tons of ink flying!


  • Tania


    I had such an amazing time, and learnt so much from you two,hope to attend another one of your workshops in the future ??


    • nathalie-kalbach


      It was so good to see you again Tania- hope to see you soon again <3


  • Sue Clarke


    Looks like y’all had a blast with foamies, food and fun!!!


    • nathalie-kalbach


      It was really fun …the food of course helped- LOL- gotta have food !


  • Ally


    It was such an awesome weekend- wish I could do it every weekend!!! X


    • nathalie-kalbach


      It was wonderful to have you!!! Hopefully soon again!


  • Natalie Jane


    What an amazing weekend :)
    I cannot wait to finish my book with all the techniques I’ve learned and of course to use YOUR FOAMIES!!!

    Until next time – you and Brigit are a great teaching team xxx


    • nathalie-kalbach


      Natalie it was so wonderful to finally meet you – and you are so talented -rock on with it!!! See you hopefully next year again :) <3


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Color Crush Returns! Birgit Koopsen and I in the UK, Oct 13-15

I’m super excited to announce that I will once again be joining with my good friend Birgit Koopsen to teach Color Crush! We will be bringing this 3 day art journaling workshop to Art Workshops in Coventry, England and hope to see you there for a long weekend of all things COLOR: theory, technique, play, and lots of laughs.

Check out the great time we had at Color Crush in Syracuse this past spring:

Join us and learn how to make the most of color in your art Journaling and beyond!


Comments (1)

  • susuko


    I wish I could go to Coventry!


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