Perry Harvey, Sr. Park

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A History Through the Art Perry Harvey, Sr. Park, Tampa, FL Located at 900 E. Scott Street, the park is a place where generations can come together to share the history of the Central Avenue, through art, music, and cultural attractions. Clay Tile Murals by Natalie Blake Studios The Encore!® trio of murals, was made by Natalie Blake Studios This Public Art Installation was commissioned by the City of Tampa and Bank of America in 2014 as part of the Perry Harvey, Sr. Park. History of the Scrub and Central Avenue “The Scrub, once Tampa’s oldest and largest African American neighborhood, traces its history to just after the Civil War, when newly freed slaves built homes in a scrub palmetto thicket outside of the Town of Tampa. The heart of the Scrub was the Central Avenue Business District.” ~ Visit ~ If you are in Tampa, Florida be sure to visit the park, and wander through the neighborhood! If you see the three Natalie Blake murals, send us your photos so we can add them to this post! Thank you! Perry Harvey, Sr. Park 900 East Scott Street Tampa, Florida Information for Perry Harvey, Sr. Park: Phone: (813) 274-8854 Email: [email protected]

Residential Backsplash

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We just received some photographs of a custom backsplash we did for a client in 2014. I am sure that she has waited a long time to put up these tiles, but now that she has them, she can enjoy them for years to come!                     Their kitchen is fully renovated, and she has sent photographs of her Natalie Blake Studios tiles above her stovetop. Doesn’t it look gorgeous? We can make custom tiles to fit your interior ~ with endless designs and over 40 glaze colors, let us work with you to make your environment glorious.                       Our tiles are the perfect medium for a backsplash. Contact the studio so we can help you with your design, and answer any questions you might have.

New Residential Backsplash Installation

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We just received photographs from a home owner who commissioned Natalie Blake Studios to make four tiles to have installed in her kitchen make-over. The client worked with our designer to come up with a pattern in glaze colors that she wanted to use in her kitchen based on her color board.    Natalie Blake Studios tiles are set off from the field tiles with a bull nose border. What is very pleasing with this installation is the grout is covered by matching cut field tile, so that the image blends in very nicely with the surrounding tile. Let us work with you or your client to augment their interiors.

Natalie’s in the News!

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Click on this link to read the entire article! See you in Vermont! Come and visit Natalie Blake Studios at 485 West River Road, Brattleboro, VT  05301

Glazing coming to the end for the ten murals for the Service High School in Anchorage, Alaska

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Glazing a Natalie Blake Studios mural takes concentrated effort. My back muscles are sore from holding up the glaze gun and changing color after color to get each petal and each leaf perfect. I am headed to yoga class now taught by my husband Nick, which will help me stretch out my sore muscles. What’s amazing about creating ceramic wall our tile is that it has the potential to be around for a very very very long time. Porcelain tile is one of the most permanent materials on earth. As we know ancient sherds made of terra-cotta still teach us about that ancient time. So every wave of my glaze gun is a spray of silica that will be fired to 2140°F in place virtually forever. That is shortsighted to say “forever.” But suffice it to say that there is a certain legacy in making ceramic art wall tile, one that can be passed down for generations and generations. These wildflowers of Alaska hopefully will brighten the day of the high school student in Anchorage going to school in the middle of winter. I imagine students will pick their favorite flower in a given tile art Mural and maybe say… Read More »

Our newest public art grant

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We are thrilled to have been awarded a public art grant from the Municipality of Anchorage, Alaska, for artwork to be installed in the Service High School in Anchorage. Through this grant we will design, create and install 10 handmade, ceramic art murals on architectural columns in the high school cafeteria.  The art committee requested that the chosen artwork bring light and the natural environment into the room since the school is in session during the darkest days of the year.  Our botanical designs and rich, luminous glazes seemed a natural fit for this project. We will be creating 10 handmade tile murals depicting the flora of the region, with a focus on flowers.  Twenty-four, 16″ x 16″ tiles will be grouted to each column. Because the murals will wrap around the columns, the viewer will get a different perspective on the mural, depending on where he stands. Here is our rendering of the proposed idea:       Our first mural depicts the flower, Fireweed, in the foreground. This image shows the carved tiles, not yet bisqued or glazed.                                        … Read More »

My teeny-tiniest inspiration

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Handmade tile designs inspired by the microscopic world I often get asked where I get my inspiration.  I was inspired by a couple I met at the American Craft Exposition (Evanston, IL)  a few years ago.  Founders of McCrone Associates– internationally recognized as a world leader in microscopy and microanalysis–Don and Jane Brooks asked me to design a piece inspired by microscopy for their  employee lounge. I researched  imagery of 400X magnification of things like salt, metal, rabbit fur, anthrax!, spores, aluminum….whatever the amazing world of microscopic images could inspire in me. Like little abstract paintings, my carved porcelain wall art tiles captured the marvelous texture, complexity and composition that this microscopic world produced.  I made more than 100 circular tiles, ranging from 4-21 inches in diameter. Click here to watch a great Youtube video of my tile-making process.  My partner, Nick, and I flew out to Illinois to do the installation.  I love working with Nick because he’s not only a master craftsman with a great eye for design (his line of furniture will soon be showing in our new Fulcrum Arts Gallery, in Brattleboro, VT) but he also designs and engineers each new installation to perfection. Making final arrangements while on sight,… Read More »

A Playful Mural Designed for a Pediatric Unit

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 Ceramic Wall Art Mural Inspired by our Local Roots This spring we were asked to create an original wall tile mural to be installed in the Yale-New Haven Hospital’s Pediatric Specialty Center.  The art committee wanted a piece that would include themes of travel and literature that would resonate with children.  We love this type of project where we can really be creative.  Some great design ideas came out of our collaboration with the art committee.  For example using books as wings.  You can see the results below:flying books and books as handgliders!     Once the committee told us to locate the scene in New England we really got creative!  We incorporated images that we see out our window everyday: rolling hills, a river and a train (the Amtrak line runs right along the Connecticut River, through Brattleboro).  We love biking and kayaking so we included these modes of travel too. Our signature, sgraffito carving style brings a lot of movement to the  flowing river and breezy skies; the whole piece feels animated. Working on this wall art mural felt especially personal for Cynthia (Designer at Natalie Blake Studios). “As I biked to work I kept noticing details in… Read More »

Making a Tree of Life mural

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  Once again our popular, handmade, carved, ceramic Tree of Life wall tile art will adorn a public space: this time a church in Florida.  The piece, measuring 36″ x 36″, will be hung in the lounge at the church. Cynthia Parker-Houghton, studio designer, created this piece. We thought it would be fun to document the process of making this piece.     The first step in the process is laying out the handmade forms over which the clay tiles will drape, thus creating undulations in the tiles.  Here’s what Cynthia says about this step: “The reason I stay interested in this tree icon is because it is familiar, comforting, grounding. And I think these qualities are especially important when the piece will be displayed in a sacred space.  When I lay out the forms, I always start with the trunk–the forms flow out from there and down into the roots.  I get the feeling that these forms represent the flow of energy from the nutrients in the soil to the roots, up the trunk and out the leaves. Because of our carving style–we carve away the black slip to reveal the white clay underneath, the piece has an energetic look to it.… Read More »

We did it!

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Ceramic Tile Murals Tell the History of a Tampa Neighborhood     Natalie’s public art grant installation in Tampa, Florida is complete!  Natalie and Nick rolled back into the studio last Thursday after spending 18 days on site mortaring and grouting 3, 6′ x 15′ ceramic tile murals onto concrete walls that run the perimeter of a new mixed-use development in Tampa.   This installation was made possible through a generous public art grant awarded to the studio in 2013 by the City of Tampa, and Trio at Encore LP.  Through this grant, Natalie researched the history of this largely African-American neighborhood and then traced its 200-year history in a series of three large murals. Through interviews and consultations with several historians and community members, Natalie compiled a rich history of this incredible community. She then translated these collected stories, using a blend of abstraction and realism onto three, 6’ x15’ murals comprised of 18” square ceramic tiles.   The title of the piece, “The Gift of Gathered Remembrances,” is inspired by Secrets of the Talking Jaguar by Martin Prechtel.  In this book Prechtel recounts the story of a people who are deeply secure in their cultural identity because of their daily remembrance and reverence towards their ancestors. As… Read More »