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A selection of our healthcare installations.

A Playful Mural Designed for a Pediatric Unit

 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!   handsculpted, sgraffito-carved, ceramic wall art by Natalie Blake   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 the environment, such as the pair of geese and the kingfisher which ended up in the mural. Our new studio site abuts the West River and during our lunch break we sometimes visit the river.  I paid special attention to the wild plants and the landscape and how the rocks and the river interact. This became research for the details of the mural. I also kept thinking of my 7 year old son as  I carved some of the details (he's actually the biker under the bridge!). I loved imagining him discovering the details in the piece. Whenever he would visit me at work he would look to see what I had carved." The idea of the books emerging from the train smoke and then morphing into birds came out of Natalie's surrealist sensibilities. One reason why this mural's design works so well is that it marries Cynthia's realism and Natalie's surrealism. Here is the final sketch that was the result of Natalie and Cynthia working with the art committee to gather ideas:   Looking for learning   In a moment of inspiration we suggested that the hospital post a key to finding fun animals and objects in the tile mural.  Tucked into various corners of the design are: a beaver, squirrels, a salamander (can you find them below?) and many more.   handmade, sgraffito-carved, ceramic wall art tile     handmade, sgraffito-carved, ceramic wall art tile by Natalie Blake   handsculpted, sgraffito-carved, ceramic wall art tile by Natalie Blake   We had so much fun making this mural. The first step was to envision the layout of the entire mural and to make the forms that would give the wall art tiles their signature undulation.  
handmade tile by Natalie Blake

Handmade forms create the undulation in the tiles

Next we laid each handmade tile over the forms:
handmade wall art tile by Natalie Blake

Clay tiles draped over forms

After painting slip on the tiles, we carved the design, using the undulations to "shape" the design:  
handmade, carved tiles by Natalie Blake

Carving

  Here is the piece, carved and bisque-fired:
handmade wall art tile by Natalie Blake

Ready to be glazed!

Thanks to Nancy Samotis, who was the art consultant for this project and a real pleasure to work with! "Patients, family and staff all love the way Natalie Blake Studio's 8' x 6' mural welcomes them to the Yale-New Haven Health Pediatric Specialty Center.  It stands on its own as a statement piece, and also offers interactive elements by having "hidden images" within the larger design.  Thanks to Natalie and her team for going above and beyond with this art commission." --Nancy Samotis

Ceramic Wall Art Tile Installed in New Kentucky Hospital

handmade, ceramic wall art tile by Natalie Blakehandmade, ceramic wall art tile by Natalie Blake Nature-based designs and soothing colors: these were the criteria that the art committee of the new Owensboro Health Regional Hospital (Owensboro, KY) used to select art for the new hospital.   Natalie Blake Studios was honored to create ceramic wall art tile for the hospital. In developing guidelines for artwork, the committee used research about art in healthcare.  "The purpose of the artwork is to provide positive distractions to help patients leave the stress of the moment and respond better to treatment, ” said Barbara Harriman, President / Creative Director of Distinctive Art Source and an art advisor working with the committee.         "Putting the right art in place supports patient care, and can even lead to shorter hospital stays," she says.  "Studies indicate that patients need less medication and exhibit more positive attitudes when exposed to artwork featur­ing natural surroundings," she notes. “We want to create an experience to keep patients close to nature and support the architectural serenity designed into the space.” Harriman commissioned three ceramic wall tile triptychs from Natalie Blake Studios  for the hospital's 5th floor family area. Each grouping of 3 tiles were to be installed in a wooden, recessed panel.  The ceramic art discs are each 18" in diameter; the square tiles are 8". All are glazed in rich, natural colors to complement the wood niches and the fabric colors in the room. "Natalie Blake’s textural representation of nature’s elements beautifully complemented Owensboro’s warm interiors featuring natural stone and wood. Her ability to customize the size, color and design of each tile made her work a perfect fit on this project. It’s always a pleasure coordinating commissions with Natalie and her team." ~ Barbara Harriman, President / Creative Director of Distinctive Art Source. handmade, ceramic tile by Natalie Blake Studios  

Nature-based art promotes healing

 Natalie Blake Studios' work profiled in Healthcare Design Magazine

  In  September we completed this Tree of Life mural for Skyline Art Services.  The piece was installed in the Fort  Belvoir Community Hospital in Virginia.  We are honored that our work was selected for this prestigious hospital, which is the first of a new generation of world-class military medical facilities.  We have known for some time that our work fills a niche for art in healthcare settings, as the healthcare industry moves towards evidence-based design (EBD).   Incorporating the visual arts in the healthcare environment is a fundamental component of EBD, with proven benefits for patients, family and staff, translating into measurable outcomes in health, well-being, and cost of care. (see our recent blogpost on this topic). Healthcare Design Magazine recently published a case study of the art at Fort Belvoir.  According to the article, "HDR established a design imperative to bring the outdoors in, and so provided the common areas with access to daylight as well as views to the forests and river beyond the site and to the campus grounds and gardens. Both the abundance of external views and the nature-based motifs of each pavilion are key components of biophilic design, the deliberate attempt to translate an understanding of the inherent human affinity with nature in the built environment." Read the full article here. handmade, sgraffito-carved ceramic wall tile by Natalie Blake Studios

Art for Healthcare Installations

Healthcare Installations are our specialty

"Natalie Blake Studios’ natural themes, which evoke the restorative properties of balance and harmony, have proven to be therapeutic to patients." Carla Santia, Art Consultant for Baystate Medical Center, Springfield, MA   "The craftsmanship is top notch.  Not only are Natalie's designs unique and gorgeous, she will custom-create designs to your own specifications.  Her attention to detail is extraordinary.  Her staff is eager to please and easy to work with.  It is a winning combination of excellent product and great customer service." Barbara Markoff, Art Consultant, Artrageous!   In 2006 Natalie Blake Studios began creating handmade, ceramic, nature-based design tiles, responding to an increased demand for art installations in health care facilities and marking a turning point for the studio toward more meaning-based work. Our designs incorporate universally-recognizable natural features: trees, flowers, botanical elements, which symbolize abundance, rejuvenation and growth. The images are safe, welcoming and are designed to create a more positive, peaceful environment.  We are honored to join more and more healthcare institutions in their groundbreaking missions to further serve patients by incorporating art into their health care setting. Our staff has worked with design teams to create innovative, lasting artwork in cancer research centers, women crisis centers, pediatric care institutions, radiology departments, general care facilities and many others.  We base our work on research that has tracked the effects of nature on patients including shorter time in the hospital, fewer doses of analgesics, lower blood pressure levels, less anxiety and less intense pain. Our murals are comprised of individually-made, sgraffito-carved, ceramic wall tiles in sizes ranging from 4” – 24” square. Tiles are made by smoothing a slab of clay over hand-made forms to give the tiles undulation. Designs are then carved into each tile using the ancient technique of  “sgraffito” (meaning “to score”) and glazed from a palette of 33 rich, luminous glaze colors. When laid next to each other, the tiles form contiguous designs that can be expanded to any size. Because of the modular format of tiles, the murals and groupings are highly- adaptable to different spaces, well-suited to hallways, stairwells and large, open spaces. They can also be grouted in place or individually mounted and hung, and lend themselves to viewing from a distance or up close, providing a tactile experience. Ceramic tile is an enduring, resilient, easily-maintained medium. The sealed tiles can be cleaned with common cleaners. We provide our own custom installation backings and clear installation instruction.  The work is fully insured and customized for each specific project. The discussion begins with the client and their specific needs for the artwork.  Then, drawing from the studio’s portfolio of designs, sketches are prepared for approval. The Tree of Life, water imagery, landscapes, large flowers and leaf patterns comprise a large part of our commissions, though the studio has also created works with human and animal figures.  Our process makes it possible to adapt the designs to any size tile. We would work closely with you and/or your art selection committee to render sketches that would fit all criteria. We pride ourselves on our craftsmanship and customer service and would welcome the opportunity to work with you on providing art for your next healthcare installation.  
handmade, sgraffito-carved, ceramic wall discs by Natalie Blake

Ceramic wall discs

       

Botanical, glazed in creme

This mural, 48" x 48", glazed in creme, was commissioned by Skyline Art Services for a children's waiting room for Memorial Hermann Texas Medical Center, Houston, TX.  They chose the piece for its soothing, feminine nature.  The subtle, creme color balanced well with the other artwork in the area.  Because it's in a children's waiting area, the client requested that the tiles be less undulated than typical because they didn't want any little hands poking their way behind the tiles.  The mural is the only dimensional piece in the area  
handmade, ceramic wall art tile by Natalie Blake Studios

Botanical, glazed in cream

 

New Installation of Ceramic Art Discs

  These ceramic wall discs were commissioned by Art 3 Gallery, Manchester, NH for an outpatient surgery center north of Boston, MA. We worked with the art consultant to choose tile sizes and colors, using her direction on design and layout.
handmade, sgraffito-carved, ceramic wall discs by Natalie Blake

Ceramic wall discs

  Here's a closeup of one of the discs:
Ceramic wall disc by Natalie Blake Studios

Ceramic wall disc by Natalie Blake Studios

  Click on the image to watch a short video of our process:  
Making ceramic wall art by Natalie Blake Studios

Making ceramic wall art by Natalie Blake Studios

New Healthcare Installation

Thanks to Barbara Markoff, corporate art consultant, Artrageous! San Diego, CA for these photos. She commissioned these wall tiles for a waiting area in a hospital.  We worked closed with Barbara to get the right designs and colors for the space.  Each mural is 48" wide x 24" high.    
handmade, ceramic wall art tile by Natalie Blake Studios

Natalie Blake tiles installed in hospital waiting room, Artrageous! San Diego, CA

      handmade, ceramic wall art tile by Natalie Blake Studios  
handmade, ceramic wall art tile by Natalie Blake Studios

Botanical

 
handmade, ceramic wall art tile by Natalie Blake Studios

Botanical

     
handmade, ceramic wall art tile by Natalie Blake Studios

Botanical

           

Three beautiful abstract murals

These three murals were commissioned by an art consultant for a hospital installation.  The tiles are each 12" x 12". The glazes she chose are: Moss, Apricot, Honey, Blue, Turquoise, Cashew  
handmade, sgraffito-carved, ceramic wall tile by Natalie Blake Studios

handmade, sgraffito-carved, ceramic wall tile by Natalie Blake Studios

handmade, sgraffito-carved, ceramic wall tile by Natalie Blake Studios

handmade, sgraffito-carved, ceramic wall tile by Natalie Blake Studios

 
handmade, sgraffito-carved, ceramic wall tile by Natalie Blake Studios

handmade, sgraffito-carved, ceramic wall tile by Natalie Blake Studios

New piece for healthcare installation

This piece was commissioned for a hospital lobby. The piece measures 36" wide by 24" high.  It is glazed in Robin's Egg, Jade, and Honey, with a touch of Adobe on the center of the flower.   We think it would also make a beautiful backsplash!  
handmade, ceramic wall art and backsplash tile by Natalie Blake Studios

Botanical abstract, 12" tiles

New Tree of Life Mural

This piece was commissioned by Skyline Art Services, Houston, TX for Fort Belvoire army hospital, outside of Washington, DC.   The piece measures 53" w x 80" h and is glazed in adobe, honey, persimmon, blue, jade and turquoise
handmade, sgraffito-carved, ceramic wall art tile

Tree of Life