And, because we love to have fun and stay fit, we're planning to have a Stair Master in the building and a kayak out back since our property abuts the beautiful, highly-kayakable West River! Natalie made her first work in the new building last Friday: handmade ceramic bowls. These ceramic pieces were made as thank you gifts for Natalie's friends and family to thank them for helping to find her missing dog, Tank, when he strayed from the Cotton Mill building last week. We can't wait to move in and have you visit!
Yes, that's us on newsstands in Brattleboro. Fulcrum Arts Center now has a physical home – and while we're not quite moved in yet – we're shouting it in the streets! Soon, it will be a new arts destination, with artist studios and areas for art classes in Brattleboro, Vermont (read all about it in The Commons).
It's been seven years in the making. With Randi Solin of Solinglass, a great friend, neighbor and now, business partner, we've taken on a huge and remarkable project: creating an arts destination called Fulcrum Arts Center. It will be a space for learning, creating, experimenting; somewhere for us to spread out as artists and invite everyone to join us. Most importantly, it will be a gateway on Vermont's Route 30 into the vibrant, artful culture in our hometown of Brattleboro.
We are excited to get started on the honest-to-goodness physical part of the project, thanks to the recent purchase of a building on the banks of the West River. This space will be our studio homes-away-from-homes, galleries, and teaching areas for art classes. It will have retail space for visitors to buy our handmade tile and sgrafitto art and Randi's beautiful glass art – right here in Vermont, from us, Vermont artists.
This is the building (just brimming with potential, right?):
We're starting with an almost blank canvas (which of course, we artists love), and will incorporate our art into every possible nook and cranny: the bathrooms will feature Randi's glass, Natalie's tile art, Nick's poured concrete countertops. Even the outside of the building is brimming with possibilities for installations and collaborations with other artists. Our beloved studio dogs will have their own room to romp out back. We plan to use many green and environmentally conscious building practices – we'll install solar panels and recycle Randi's hot air (from the glass furnaces) to heat the building.
The location on Route 30 – outside of downtown Brattleboro – puts Fulcrum Arts Center smack dab on the main road into southern Vermont. We hope you'll stop and say hi and see our handmade ceramic artwork in person once we've moved in.
It doesn't take much to inspire us sometimes.
This is what I saw on my way to work today! The sun was hitting the web like a spotlight.
When you're surrounded by natural beauty, it often doesn't take much to inspire you....
I'd love to be inspired by your design ideas.
We've had two recent testimonials that we just can't help but share.
This quote is from Rod Werner, Director of Planning at Scannapieco Development Corp, in Philadelphia, PA. We worked closely with him as we created a mural for the 1706 Rittenhouse Square Condominiums in Philadelphia.
"I enjoyed our collaboration, and I was very pleased with the results. I
appreciate the mural every time I visit the site (once a week now)."And this quote from Blythe Lee, Vice-President of Design and Strategic Solutions, Corporate Artworks, Ltd, Arlington Heights, IL. She commissioned a 45-tile Tree of Life for the Fountaindale Public Library, Boilingbrook, IL."I worked with Natalie Blake Studios when procuring the artwork for Fountaindale Public Library in Bolingbrook, IL. The art committee and architects had specific goals for the art program, and overseeing twelve commissions at the same time can be quite a feat. Working with Natalie Blake Studios on the (45) piece tile wall mural was an absolutely smooth process from beginning to end. Communication is of utmost importance when commissioning an art piece, and I was truly impressed with all levels of communication. The business end was maintained on a very professional level, while the commitment of staying true to the artistic development and fine details resulted in a stunning mural that Fountaindale Public Library is very proud of. The compliments on the mural are never ending. As an art consultant, my goal is to hear clients express that an art piece is better than they ever could have imagined. We achieved this with Natalie Blake Studios."
Natalie and Cynthia are carving the Bayon Tree panels for the Chabot College public art grant they received. Don't know what a Banyon Tree looks like? Here's an image:
Older banyan trees are characterized by their roots that grow into thick woody trunks which, with age, can become indistinguishable from the main trunk. Old trees can spread out laterally using these prop roots to cover a wide area.
"We chose to make a 4-panel mural of the Banyon Tree for the Chabot College cafeteria because this tree has lots of personality!" says Natalie. "The tree is grounded, rooted in place and is an icon of stability and grandeur. I thought that would be fitting for a college setting." The Banyon Tree image has been with Natalie for years--since her mother gave her an Ansel Adams photograph of banyon tree roots that she tacked up in her studio.
Here's a picture of the first panel of tiles, painted with iron oxide, waiting to be carved:
According to Cynthia, "These 4 panels of tiles making up the Banyon Tree mural will give the impression of a set of windows through which you can see this amazing tree. At the same time, the tree mural is a solid presence in the room. Because a tree of this size would have grown over a long period of time, it helps to put things in perspective for the viewer."