Leah and Raymond Kessel were both born in Johannesburg, South Africa. Opposing apartheid, they moved to Israel in 1963 where their son was born. In 1968, they moved to Madison, Wisconsin, where their daughter Sharon was born.
Leah conceived of Calabash Gifts on one of the family’s visits to South Africa. Her vision involved allowing an outlet for local craftspeople to generate income from their beautiful hand-crafted work.
Over the last 25 years, Calabash Gifts has served as Madison’s Year-Round Art Fair, providing a burst of color throughout the often harsh winters.