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Tampa, FL ~ Public Art Tour

Natalie Blake Studios three ceramic murals, "The Gift of Gathering Remembrances", is one of the many public art installations in Tampa. Take a selfie in front of the history of Tampa! Send us your photo of the Natalie Blake Studios' murals for your FREE Gift! Just email info@natalieblake.com with your jpeg and your mailing address to receive your GIFT! We will post your photos on our website - so take a selfie in front of the history of Tampa! Tampa-River-Walk-Tour-of-art-#71_GIFT_OF_GATHERING_REMEMBRANCES-ceramici-mural-by-Natalie-Blake-Studios Natalie Blake Studios was selected from a national call for Public Art for the Trio at Encore!®, a multi-family neighborhood in downtown Tampa, Florida. The studio made three murals depicting the rich history of this area, from 1820 through the present. Each of the murals is made from 40 ceramic porcelain tiles that are mortared to a wall in the new housing complex. Natalie Blake Studios' murals are exposed to the elements, and do not fade with the bright Florida sunlight. They are perfect for all exterior applications from Florida to Wisconsin to Hawaii. All three Tampa murals are visible to the public, from the adjacent streets, and along the sidewalks for a close up inspection of the detailed pictorial history.   Take a Tour of Tampa's Public Art! You may take a virtual tour of the City of Tampa Public Art at this link: https://tampa.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapTour/index.html?appid=bc5747d5f6014037874ca0146dcc4997 See Natalie Blake Studio's murals as well as over seventy other artworks in downtown Tampa. If you are in Florida and the Tampa area, take a walking tour of the artwork and see them in person. "The Gift of Gathering Remembrances" is number 71 on the map below: City-of-Tampa-map-showing-where-The-Gift-of-Rememberances-project-is-located Rent a bicycle or put on your hiking boots and explore downtown Tampa ~ and all that it has to offer! We can't wait to see you in Florida!  

Residential Backsplash

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.

Fulcrum Arts Center: A Work in Progress

Work is well underway on the new Fulcrum Arts Center.  This collaborative endeavor between Natalie Blake Studios and Solinglass will be a "not-to-be-missed" arts destination in Brattleboro, VT. The Fulcrum Arts Center will house a gallery and studio facilities that will provide numerous ways for prospective buyers to view finished works and work in progress; as well as to learn about the tools, techniques, and artistry of fine glass and handmade ceramic pieces. Interested collectors and buyers will be able to purchase finished one-of-a-kind pieces and functional wares and commission new work. We will offer design consultation for in-home art placement as well. Solin and Blake, both highly exclaimed artists in their fields, will teach master classes and workshops. Work on the building began in July, when Nick, our master builder, pulled out 7,500 square feet of drop ceiling tiles and insulation!  We want our new space to be energy efficient so some of this insulation will be used to insulate the Solinglass studio and to provide soundproofing. Our new digs will be warm in the winter, thanks to a heat recapture system that Nick is designing.  He's reconfiguring the existing forced hot air system to recapture Solinglass' furnace heat. You can find regular updates on our work on Facebook. Here are some updated photos of the work-in-progress:
View from the front door

View from the front door

 
View towards the office, with Nash

View towards the office, with Nash

 
Tank resting while all the work is being done!

Tank resting while all the work is being done!

Randi's stepson is contributing to the effort!

Randi's stepson is contributing to the effort!

  During the past few weeks Nick and his crew have been framing up the interior walls for the office, gallery, kitchen, bathrooms, studios and kiln room.  Here's a short video showing the interior: Fulcrum Arts Center video   According to Nick, about 95% of the interior walls are now framed.  Dry walling will begin in a few weeks. Our spacious backyard will be a great hangout spot for our crews and our dogs (there are 4 dogs between the 2 studios).

fulcrum arts center

  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! fulcrum arts center   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. Natalie Blake We can't wait to move in and have you visit!

Fulcrum Arts Center is Front Page News

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).

Fulcrum Arts Center News

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?):

Fulcrum Arts Center in Progress

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.

Handmade Ceramic Tile Mural and a Studio Dog

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.

Natalie Blake Studios Ceramic Wall Art Wins Award

Our ceramic wall art is now officially award-winning! The news has us very excited, so pardon the exclamation points: we won a gallery award at Art Comes Alive! The annual fine art contest and exhibit took place this past weekend in Cincinnati, OH. We are honored that our tile art was voted into the exhibit, and even more so to receive a contract award from Gallery One, Naples, FL. This is the piece that got us there: "Botanical", a 42" x 56" ceramic wall art mural, glazed in honey, turquoise, cashew, moss and jade. handmade, ceramic wall art tile According to the Art Comes Alive sponsors, Art Design Consultants, Inc., the awards recognize the “brightest and best artists in a variety of categories.” Our piece is one of 150 chosen for the exhibit, out of a staggering 1,500 entries. Getting our tile art mural into the exhibit itself is no small feat, and requires an intense jurying process. Roy Saper, owner of Saper Galleries and Custom Framing, was one of the jurors responsible for choosing pieces for the exhibit. “The online jurying process took me hours. And hours. And hours,” he said. And no wonder, with so many pieces of art in the mix. After each juror reviews each piece, the ones with the most votes are included in the exhibit. From that list, galleries and award donors choose the recipients of their awards. That's where Gallery One comes in – they awarded us a gallery award, and will now carry our work at their gallery in Naples, FL. We will be honored to be represented by this great gallery, which also represents our good friend, fabulous Vermont artist and Fulcrum Arts Center business partner, Randi Solin of Solinglass. Funnily enough, we will share Gallery One with Dr. Seuss as well.  

Natalie to present at potters’ workshop

Jeffcoat Pottery, Calabash, NC, has invited Natalie to present at their winter workshop, February 16-17.  At this two-day event, Natalie will demonstrate throwing, carving, sculpting lids, and making and carving tiles.   Glaze formulas, her firing process, and firing schedules will be shared, along with a powerpoint of her work. If interested, please contact Jeffcoat Pottery for registration information.  info@jeffcoatpottery.com 910-579-2400  
Natalie Blake

Natalie Blake

   

A Custom, Artistic Backsplash, installed

Natalie and her fiance, Nick, recently installed this custom backsplash for a client in Annapolis, MD. Watch this fun video on the installation. Natalie writes: Bev and I met five years ago at the American Craft Council show in Baltimore where she gave me a deposit and told me she didn't think she would ever find the kind of backsplash she was looking for, but had a hunch I might be able to make it for her. I had just started making tiles at that point and the first pieces were small squares with flowers and leaves on them. She was a ways off at that point from having her kitchen remodeled, and a couple of years later finally started asking me for glaze colors and sketches as her renovations were coming to completion. The final renovations took a while to be punch listed, and so we had yet another year and a half to think about design, and for me to create some of the glaze colors that Bev was hoping for. She wanted a purple backsplash. I hoped I wouldn't have to make a completely purple piece, and in the end we realized that some blue and cashew colors would most suit the beautiful granite countertop fleck tones in the counters she had found.
custom backsplash tile by Natalie Blake STudios

Players, custom backsplash tile by Natalie Blake STudios

  Last February I finally visited the house, as she was truly ready, and we agreed on colors and concept. I was to work with a painting by Anatole Kraznyansky Russian artists that they had bought while on a cruise. While I said I wasn't interested in reading directly off this imagery, I was willing to take that image in and bounce off it to create my own feedback loop of imagery in response to this painting. And so I went home to my studio, rolled out white paper, measured out my tile sizes, and then stared at the paper. I stared for a couple of days and found myself quickly filling in images that appeared on the paper as I sat and waited. This was a most enjoyable process and felt very easeful. It was as if these figures wanted to come out on the page and be seen. The energy lines coming off these mythical figures moves from the center outward creating butterfly wing vibrations on the left of the piece and a storm at sea on the right side of the piece.  
custom backsplash tile by Natalie Blake STudios

Players, custom backsplash tile by Natalie Blake STudios

  The mythical goddess/queen figure, who showed up to me as benevolent and compassionate with powerful ram horns which give her the power gift of reverence and might, can be seen as flying in horizontal position holding a point of energy with her left hand that can be seen as either holding the cacophony of wind and storm tumult at bay, or pulling the source of that storm of energy along with her.  She is holding a tiny sailboat in her right hand. She holds it near the lute player whose large cloaked arm holds a feminine character in his sleeve. His face is the King's face that can be found in the three faced musician facing right (the figure's left). The other two musicians are playing a ukelele type instrument and a double-headed woodwind that blows the monarch butterfly wing sound waves. On the left hand side of the kitchen, I created a single musician standing alone playing with energy lines coming out from the top of his head and cascading away to the left. He plays a double barreled lute like instrument that I am not even sure exists, but I found some interesting images on line with this kind of shape. Beautiful instruments!!!  He has a black face and to me seems to be playing perhaps some sort of jazz.  There are nine faces in the main backsplash, which happens to be my lucky number.
handmade, ceramic backsplash tile by Natalie Blake Studios

Installing backsplash tile

    musicians              

Beauty in the details

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.

spider web

on my way to work

 

When you're surrounded by natural beauty, it often doesn't take much to inspire you....

 

handmade tile, wall art tile, ceramic wall art, backsplash tile, custom tile, Natalie Blake

Ceramic wall tiles glazed in honey

 

I'd love to be inspired by your design ideas.

 

 

 

kudos we just have to share :)

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)."
handmade, sgraffito-carved, ceramic wall and backsplash tiles by Natalie Blake Studios

Rittenhouse installation by Natalie Blake Studios

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."
handmade, sgraffito-carved, ceramic wall and backsplash tile by Natalie Blake Studios

Fountaindale Tree by Natalie Blake Studios

Working on Banyon Tree for Chabot College

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:

Banyon Tree tiles Chabot College

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."

 

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

Natalie Blake Carving the Banyon Tree for Chabot College

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

Carving the Banyon Tree for Chabot College