a peek inside the fishbowl

15 May, 2013

A bit about art, and kids, and Laura Daub

Posted by andrea tomkins in: - Ottawa for kids|Easy ways to make kids happy|Fishbowl patrons

My kids have been taking lessons at Laura Daub’s sweet little gallery and art studio in Britannia Beach, and I have to say, I have loved it. What’s more, they have loved it, and I couldn’t be happier about this whole experience.

I have to be honest and confess that when I hear the words “art lessons” my dander goes up a bit. I have an image of a dictator who carries a ruler in her hands, making the occasional THWAP sound against her palm while standing directly behind sweaty anxiety-ridden pupils. But that’s just my own personal history rearing its ugly head, because art lessons with Fishbowl patron Laura Daub are nothing like that at all, not even remotely.

The best time to enjoy art lessons is when you’re young and carefree, unhindered by preconceptions of what makes good art. And when you’re young your creativity hasn’t been completely crushed by rigid school rules either. Too much colouring between the lines will do this to people. It’s a fact.

I’ve written scads about kids and art here at the Fishbowl. The arts are just as crucial as the reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic. Art, poetry, music… these are happiness-making, brain-expanding, synapse-burning, life-affirming activities that make Better People.

But what does it mean when kids are signed up for art lessons with Laura? Well, it means gentle guidance by a person who wants her pupils to shine, first and foremost.

We signed the girls up for a multimedia class so I knew that they’d be drawing, sculpting, and trying out collage and printmaking. What I didn’t know was how it would all go down.

At the risk of sounding like I’m gushing, Laura is one of the kindest people I’ve ever met. I just want to wrap her up and bring her home to live with us forever. The girls adore her, and when I pick them up they eagerly show me what they’ve made and RAVE about Laura and what they did in class that day.

I had the chance to sit in on a printmaking class and now I have a better understanding of why the girls love her so much. She’s got all of the attributes of a great teacher. Laura is extremely creative. Each week she gently helps the girls think outside the box, showing them the power of their imaginations and the possibilities that lie within. She patiently inspires, guides, and suggests, without imposing her own rules on the project at hand. That’s the thing about art… there are no rules, not really. Although art instruction requires some initial degree of how-to (for example, how not to poke yourself while carving your printmaking block), after that part is done something else has to take over. When it comes to children, you don’t want to impose too many restrictions on their art otherwise they’ll just feel constricted, and this will show in the finished product.

So, yes. The girls took to Laura like ducks take to water. Laura is pretty darn cool in their books, which is a bonus because Cool Grownups are a very rare breed.

Another reason the girls have been enjoying their lessons: Laura’s studio is a bright and cheerful place. It’s the kind of space that makes it easy to feel creative:

At Laura Daub's art studio

At Laura Daub's art studio

At Laura Daub's art studio

And here are a few of the fantastic pieces the girls have made at Laura’s. This was the result of “multimedia collage” day:

Multimedia collage

Multimedia collage

And here are some sculptures the girls made out of foil, wire, and paper clay:



And these are some of the results of our printmaking class. I know for a fact that we are going to do more of this at home because it’s so satisfying to carve designs and make your own prints.

(By the way these are affixed to bedroom walls by washi tape – a new obsession around here.)



Pretty sweet eh?

You can read more about the lessons Laura is currently offering right here. Her calendar changes frequently, so I recommend you bookmark her site or follow her on Facebook so you can stay in the loop.

I’d love to hear from you guys. How do you art it up with your kids at home? What opportunities do you give your kids to be their own amazing and creative selves?

6 Responses to "A bit about art, and kids, and Laura Daub"

1 | Laura Daub

May 15th, 2013 at 3:29 pm


Thank you so much for your post on my lessons and my studio! The pleasure has really been all mine! Both of your girls are very creative, talented and a pleasure to work with… I see it runs in the family! :)

I would love to come and live with you! Do you have a spare room? :) Sometimes my kids don’t think I’m too cool and perhaps I could come and do art with your girls when mine think I’m nagging too much or when their rooms are just too messy for me to look at anymore! haha!

2 | Amy

May 16th, 2013 at 7:38 am


Laura looks like the kind of teacher that helps foster creativity, not inhibit it like so many teachers I’ve met do. The art looks amazing, you should be proud :)

3 | Art Sea

May 16th, 2013 at 9:20 am


Fantastic art and nice mix. Does Laura also teach adults?

4 | andrea tomkins

May 16th, 2013 at 12:23 pm


Laura – you crack me up!

Amy – she certainly is THAT kind of teacher, and it makes all the difference in the world when it comes to the wee people in our lives.

Art Sea – she sure does! Check out her website for deets.

5 | Anne

January 2nd, 2015 at 10:11 pm


Unfortunately, I don’t think she is offering classes anymore — too bad, there isn’t anything else like it that I can find (and 4 Cats is closed too!). If anyone has suggestions for great children’s art classes in Ottawa, let me know!

6 | andrea tomkins

January 3rd, 2015 at 9:38 am


Hi Anne, Laura moved to Toronto awhile back. I recommend checking BSOMA for children’s art classes or the City of Ottawa. Good luck!

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human offspring: Emma (24) and Sarah (22). During the day I work as a writer at the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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