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“Little Tree of Four” Kitchen Backsplash

  Another happy customer from Natalie Blake Studios!  

"Our kitchen project is finished,

and the “Little Tree of Four” is installed.

It looks absolutely beautiful and is the highlight of our kitchen! "

G. Szegedy

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Little Tree of Four ceramic porcelain hand sgraffito carved backsplash.

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No maintenance tiles, that are easy to clean using any household cleaner and a scrubby, or wipe with Windex.

Color fast tiles, that are heat and water resistent.

Perfect to use in a kitchen near a stove or sink.

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Custom designs and sizes for any backsplash commission available within 6-12 weeks from receipt of deposit. Natalie Blake Studios designers will work with you to find the perfect image and colors to fit in your custom home. Please contact the studio by phone at 802.254.9761 or email at info@natalieblake.com.    

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!  

“Tree of Life” Porcelain Tile ~ Creates a Focal Point for a Residential Kitchen Backsplash

Natalie Blake Studios handmade porcelain tiles are a perfect complement for use with field tiles in a backsplash installation. This porcelain art tile is framed with a bullnose tile that matches the white subway field tile. The sixteen-inch hand carved and glazed "Tree of Life" was commissioned by a residential homeowner in Maine. Our tiles are vitrified, and glass like, so easy to keep clean and virtually no maintenance. Natalie-Blake-Studios-porcelain-tile-custom-made-with-Tree-of-Life-design-for-kitchen-backsplash-used-with-white-subway-tiles The client sent photographs (see below) of their kitchen before any of the tile or appliances had been installed. The tile was going above the stovetop between the cabinets, as shown above. The homeowners wanted glaze colors that would work with their beautiful new counter tops and cabinets. By sending the studio photographs of their kitchen in progress, we were able to work with them to find the right glazes to suit the new gray paint on the cupboards and the new counter tops.  The clients chose the glaze colors to work with their new kitchen makeover. 1-Natalie-Blake-Studios-custom-16-inch-porcelain-tile-for-residential-kitchen-backsplash-in-Maine-used-with-white-subway-tiles_1618 2-Natalie-Blake-Studios-custom-16-inch-porcelain-tile-for-residential-kitchen-backsplash-in-Maine-used-with-white-subway-tiles_1619 3-Natalie-Blake-Studios-custom-16-inch-porcelain-tile-for-residential-kitchen-backsplash-in-Maine-used-with-white-subway-tiles_1633 They chose one our our "Tree of Life" designs. This unique tree was hand carved on the porcelain tile using the sgraffito method. Once a tile is carved, we always send a photograph to the home owners for approval, before continuing with the production of firing and glazing. Each of our tiles is a work of art, unique with its own characteristics, as they are hand-rolled, hand-formed, hand-carved and uniquely glazed.

"Approval granted. Looks great. Thanks for the quick work!"

4-Natalie-Blake-Studios-custom-16-inch-porcelain-tile-for-residential-kitchen-backsplash-in-Maine-used-with-white-subway-tiles_1616 Working with the client, the glazes were chosen - double cream and jade. Natalie Blake Studios recommends talking over the glaze colors, or requesting sample color chips to make sure your tile will match your environment. Their tile was then glazed as they had requested. A photograph of the glazed tile was sent for approval by the clients. We wrote and told the clients that the glaze colors came out differently than we had expected. Such is the nature of this handmade ceramic medium. Glaze colors have many variables, including the kiln firing, the application and the hand mixing of the colors. We are often working with the energy of the kiln gods to have a good firing, and depend upon the kiln gods to create a piece of their liking! Natalie Blake Studios' policy is that you are happy with the final result. We always send photographs for approval. The studio offered to remake the tile and glaze it again, but they were pleased with the tile as it was. Here is their response to the photograph of the tile was sent for approval:

"We love it. Actually looks more earthy. The green is perfect."

5-Natalie-Blake-Studios-custom-16-inch-porcelain-tile-for-residential-kitchen-backsplash-in-Maine-used-with-white-subway-tiles_1617 The tile was shipped to Maine for installation by their contractor.

"We received the tile today. It is perfect!  This is the center piece of our kitchen and will be enjoyed and admired by a lot of people. Thank you for the great product and great service!"

  6-Natalie-Blake-Studios-custom-16-inch-porcelain-tile-for-residential-kitchen-backsplash-in-Maine-used-with-white-subway-tiles _1739 7-Natalie-Blake-Studios-custom-16-inch-porcelain-tile-for-residential-kitchen-backsplash-in-Maine-used-with-white-subway-tiles _1740 8-Natalie-Blake-Studios-custom-16-inch-porcelain-tile-for-residential-kitchen-backsplash-in-Maine-used-with-white-subway-tiles _1741 Their kitchen has been finished. All the field tiles have been installed and grouted. The kitchen cabinets are finished and the appliances are in. Here are the photographs we just received from the homeowners of their completed kitchen remodel. The "Tree of Life" tile is in its new home! Natalie-Blake-Studios-custom-16-inch-porcelain-tile-for-residential-kitchen-backsplash-in-Maine-used-with-white-subway-tiles Natalie-Blake-Studios-porcelain-16-inch-handmade-hand-carved-Tree-of-Life-porcelain-tile-used-with-white-subway-tile-for-a-residential-kitchen-backsplash-in-Maine  

Perry Harvey, Sr. Park

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.

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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.

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History of the Scrub and Central Avenue

City-of-Tampa-Perry-Harvey-Park-Natalie-Blake-Studios-H "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."

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~ Visit ~

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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: specialevents@tampagov.net

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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.

New Residential Backsplash Installation

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 Utberg backsplash 2015 A WEB 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.

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

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.

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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.

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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 to their friend, "meet you under the Arnica flower for lunch?"

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The undulating ceramic tile can be touched by their hand and will reflect  light, casting shadows over the dips and valleys of the textured tile. I love this about our work, that it can be touched; unlike the museum experience where one is glared at or beeped at for the natural impulse to have a tactile experience with beauty.  Like a virtual braille, the texture of our hand carved art-tile can be caressed for generations and make nary a scratch.

Natalie

Our newest public art grant

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.
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architectural rendering of the cafeteria columns

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: attachment 3    
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Photoshopped rendition of tiles grouted to a column

  Our first mural depicts the flower, Fireweed, in the foreground. This image shows the carved tiles, not yet bisqued or glazed.   Fireweed sm file                                          
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Fireweed

     
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The mural, in process

 

You can watch a great video of our tile-making process here.

 
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sgraffito-carving in action

  Stay tuned for our next mural featuring the Chocolate Lily. chocolate lily

My teeny-tiniest inspiration

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.

handmade, carved, ceramic wall art by Natalie Blake

Making final arrangements while on sight, I spent hours adjusting and tweaking my design to fit the space in the best way. Taking off my shoes helped me ground myself so I could see the work and the space more clearly.

handmade, carved, ceramic wall art by Natalie Blake

Nick makes perfect adjustments to the placement of the disks on the walls.

handmade, carved, ceramic wall art tile by Natalie Blake

While at McCrone Laboratories, Don asked me to make a pattern with all the round tiles that we chose not to put in the long swoops in the display commission space. Here I am laying them out in large gestural swirls to install on a stairwell where students from Don's Microscopy Institute walked to and from class each day.

handmade, ceramic tile by Natalie Blake Studios

The study of microscopy inspired a new dimension in my sculptural wall tile and ceramic work. One of the best parts of my job (and my life) is that I get to travel not only around the world, but through different layers of our complex human and natural existence to find inspiration.

handmade, ceramic wall art tile by Natalie Blake Studios