We're not bothered by the details here at Natalie Blake Studios. In fact, we LOVE the details! It's the detail of our work that draws the viewer in. From a distance our murals have a bold, sculptural presence. But lean in and notice that each line on every tile has been carved by hand. Like brushstrokes on a painting, our carving lines add movement and texture to the work. You can actually feel the texture. This tactile quality of our work adds yet another dimension to our art.
We achieve this textured carving by using the ancient technique of "sgraffito," which means "to scratch" in Italian. First we brush a layer of slip (a creamy mixture of clay, water and pigment) onto the clay. After the slip dries, we carve through this layer to reveal the lighter-colored clay underneath.
We use a ribbon tool to do our carving. These miniature sculpting tools are made of fine ribbon steel, heat-treated for maximum strength.
For more detail on our tile-making process, check out our Youtube video, "Carving Curved Clay"
Closeup of the Tree of Life mural, showing undulation of tiles and sgraffito-carving
Sgraffito-carved tiles, air drying before going into the bisque firing
Natalie carving a ceramic wall art tile
Outdoor installation of ceramic wall art tile by Natalie Blake Studios