Tag Archives: New Work

“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

REV Gizella Szegegy Backsplash_0390

Little Tree of Four ceramic porcelain hand sgraffito carved backsplash.

REV Gizella Szegegy Backsplash_0388

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.

REV Gizella Szegegy Backsplash_0389

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.    

Architextural tiles

sculptural, custom, ceramic wall art tile by Natalie Blake We developed this line of tile to showcase at the 2014 Architectural Digest Home Show.  It was a big hit!  Each tile is handmade, carved in our signature sgraffito style. The bold, gestural lines accentuate the sculptural undulations in the tile and almost read like topographical lines. These tiles can be grouped in any configuration, customized in any of our sizes from 12" - 20" square, and glazed in any of our 33 rich, luminous glaze colors.   ceramic wall art tile by Natalie Blake   An interior designer in south Florida is commissioning these tiles for a residential, exterior installation. 15, 12" x 12" tiles will hang as panels and 6, 18" x 18" tiles will be grouted in as a backsplash in the outdoor kitchen.   sculptural, custom, ceramic wall art tile by Natalie Blake       sculptural, custom, ceramic wall art tile by Natalie Blake

One of our favorites!

Our signature Dahlia is featured in this penthouse apartment

We worked closely with Cravotta Interiors (Austin, TX) to create this custom, hand sculpted, ceramic tile mural for the entry of a penthouse in the Four Seasons Residences in Austin, Texas. The Dahlia mural is comprised of 14" x 14" tiles, carved in our unique, gestural style. The vibrant, Persian Red glaze contrasts with the darker, slip underneath to accent the free-flowing design. The designer had the tiles grouted in place as a backdrop for a sitting area.  We just love it when designers feature art in unexpected places! Thanks Cravotta Interiors! You can read more about this project here.   handsculpted, carved, ceramic tile by Natalie Blake      
handsculpted, dimensional tile by Natalie Blake

Dahlia, handsculpted, sgraffito-carved, ceramic tile

handsculpted, dimensional, ceramic tile by Natalie Blake

our signature sgraffito-carving creates a textured look and feel

Musings on our Tampa public art grant…

  Natalie writes:   Coming to work and seeing Elliot mixing mortar to thin-set the backs of our 18" x 18" tiles...wow, like we are really about to install these murals for the community to see in Tampa, Florida!
mortaring the backs of handmade, ceramic tile

We apply mortar to the backs of the undulating tiles to create a level surface for thin setting the tiles to the walls

  I am honored to have been chosen to create three large, 15' x 6' murals for the City of Tampa's Trio at Encore development project.  It's been an amazing year researching the history of the largely Black neighborhood of Central Avenue in Tampa, where the murals will hang, and then designing and carving the murals.  The murals depict historical scenes from this neighborhood, like in the mural details seen below-- of Ray Charles at the piano, and musicians at the Blue Room night club. This neighborhood was  a "hoppin'" music district in the early 1900's.  It is said that many people including B.B. King, Cab Calloway, Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, James Brown, Ruth Brown, Asa Harris, and others played up and down Central – it was the place to be. I've titled this installation "The Gift of Gathered Remembrances".  The title of the piece is inspired by Secrets of the Talking Jaguar by Martin Prechtel, who recounts a people who are deeply secure in their cultural identity because of their daily remembrance and reverence towards their ancestors. This project has been my humble attempt to gather some of this neighborhood's memories and to give them back in these 3 murals.   Capturing memories and retelling stories is a gift, for the teller, and for those who "listen".
handsculpted, carved, ceramic tile by Natalie Blake

Ray with piano, detail of larger mural

handsculpted, carved, ceramic tile by Natalie Blake

Ink Spots

Who would have thought that after years of making vessels, I would have embarked on a journey of making ceramic wall tile--and large, sgraffito-carved, tile murals, at that!   I don't consider myself a drawer, not even a carver, but somehow I have found myself doing a lot of that, albeit on my favorite medium: clay.  I'm thrilled to be creating beauty for people to hold onto. What's incredible about this particular journey of gathering the remembrances of a people together, is that I get to make beauty that is for not only a wider audience, but a specific community, one that has struggled, overcome, undaunted, blossomed and survived.
Now, on to loading another kiln with tiles……….we begin installing next week!
Natalie Blake loading a kiln with handmade, ceramic art tile

Natalie loading the Tampa tiles into the glaze kiln

New Vessels

 Handmade, ceramic vessels taking on a new form

Natalie took us all by surprise a few weeks ago when we came into the studio to find these lovely new pots that she had thrown in black and porcelain clay.  She calls them Chesspots.  Ranging in size from 16" - 24" high, these pots work individually and in groups, where their size and shape complement each other.  
handmade, black clay vessels by Natalie Blake

Chocolate Chesspots, 16" - 24" h, handmade black clay vessel with handmade, black clay lid.

Here's what Natalie says about these pots: "In my most recent body of work, I turn my traditional approach to the thrown and lidded vessel upside down. My approach to form has always been one of full, ripe, round. The carved and brightly colored, curvy shapes  conjured the feeling of ripe fruits and affluent jewels. This latest approach seeks to maintain elegance and ripeness, while making bold, sharp and opinionated statements with cut edges and accordion angles. Instead of colored glaze, the raw high-fired terra-sigilatta surface of the porcelain and black clays uses shadow and light to personify. The vessels have merged with the characters of chess pieces to create whimsical identity and playful gesture. My signature lids are the final and pivotal punctuation mark that creates the complete personality of each vessel."  
handmade, porcelain and black clay vessels by Natalie Blake

Accordian with Rook, 15" h, 24" h

handmade, porcelain vessel by Natalie Blake

Knight, 14" x 9", porcelain

Our New Work Debuts at the Architectural Digest Show 2014

 New Shapes and Designs in Wall Art, and New Vessels!

We are excited to be exhibiting at the  Architectural Digest Home Design Show, March 20-34 in New York City.  As in past years, Natalie is exhibiting in the MADE section of the show (Booth M86), where hundreds of juried international and local artists and galleries showcase their limited edition and one-of-a-kind works.  This is a retail show where you can  purchase directly from the artist at the booth, or you can commission future work.  It's a great opportunity to see artists' new work.  This year we've got lots of new shapes and designs to show off. Natalie Blake exhibits at the Architectural digest show     Our studio's newest work includes what we're calling "architextural" tiles.  The designs on these undulating tiles were inspired by the natural elements of earth, water, air and fire.  The carved patterns accentuate the undulation in the tiles which seem to ripple. Natalie also created smooth, uncarved "ripple" tiles.  These smooth tiles would be a cost-effective way to cover a larger space as they are priced at about half of our carved tiles.  We're working to slump glass over uncarved, undulating tile to create a glass tile that can be incorporated into a ceramic mural. As with all our tile, these tiles are suitable for interior and exterior installations. handsculpted, sgraffito-carved, ceramic wall art tile by Natalie Blake handsculpted, ceramic wall art tile by Natalie Blake Studios     We're expanding our portfolio of shape tiles to include a new line of octagon tiles. Each octagon is made up of 8, individually-made and carved triangle tiles.  We can mount them on a backing to hang as one piece, or they can be individually grouted in as a backsplash detail.  The fun comes from mixing and matching designs and colors! ceramic wall art by Natalie Blake ceramic wall art by Natalie Blake     We've also been extending our line of round tiles to include "Gear" tiles.  While our designs are inspired by images of old gears that our designer friend sent us, they also reference the geometry of nature and remind us of micro-organisms.  We love the industrial look of them.   elliot and gears   And last, but not least, Natalie is debuting a new line of angular, geometric vessels: a new twist on a smooth form. handmade, ceramic vessels by Natalie Blake

 handmade, ceramic vessels by Natalie Blake

  Screen Shot 2014-02-27 at 12.47.15 PM

Finishing up the Tampa, FL public art murals

Natalie is finishing the third (and final) ceramic tile mural for the City of Tampa, Florida's redevelopment district, called ENCORE!  The work was commissioned by the City of Tampa and Trio at Encore LP through a public art grant awarded last year. Natalie's three murals, each comprised of 40, 18" x 18" tiles, will be installed on the walls that run the perimeter of ENCORE's Trio apartment homes.  
Screen Shot 2014-03-11 at 10.33.05 AM
The murals are designed to showcase the history of this largely African American neighborhood from the late 19th century to the present, a time when this neighborhood was the principal business and entertainment district of Tampa's African American community. Read more about Natalie's thoughts on the designs here.
Watch excerpts from Natalie's work making one of the murals:
Screen Shot 2014-03-12 at 10.57.24 AM
The installation of the murals will take place over a two week period from March 25-April 9, when each tile will be carefully mortared onto the wall and the entire mural will be grouted.
Here is a section of one of the murals, depicting: 1) the Scrub, the community of freed slaves that developed after Emancipation that is now the site of Encore! 2) verses from the National Negro Anthem; 3) the Industrial Revolution, including the cigar boom of Ybor city; 4) commemoration of the first African American vote; 5) African-American-owned churches and businesses.
handmade, ceramic art tile by Natalie Blake
This detail shows: 1) the Emancipation Proclamation; 2) initial trade between Tampa and Cuba  3) a freed slave 4) The Counselor and Interpreter, Abraham, who served as a liaison between the US President and the Seminole Indians; 5) the first Tampa Bay Hotel.
handmade, ceramic art tile by Natalie Blake
This detail shows the Buckingham Theatre Saloon, one of the first African-American-owned businesses in the late 1800's.
Natalie Blake public art grant

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  

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.  


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

Natalie Blake Studios butterflies

One of the most pleasant surprises of spring is seeing the first butterflies of the season.  We had a spate of gorgeous, sunny weather the past few weeks and it seemed to bloom butterflies! We've been inspired and just had to create a swarm of butterflies (yes, that's the technical term for a group of butterflies!)  We've made ceramic butterfly tiles in all shapes, sizes and colors. With 20,000 species of butterflies to choose from, we certainly had plenty of inspiration. Our butterflies are each handmade, sgraffito-carved, ceramic with our unique backing for easy hanging. We've glazed them in beautiful, bright, Spring colors to lighten and warm your wall.     There are so many interesting facts about butterflies.  According to Wikipedia: "The ancient Greek word for "butterfly" is ψυχή (psȳchē), which primarily means "soul" or "mind". In Chinese culture, two butterflies flying together symbolize love. Artistic depictions of butterflies have been used in many cultures including Egyptian hieroglyphs 3500 years ago. In the ancient Mesoamerican city of Teotihuacan, the brilliantly colored image of the butterfly was carved into many temples, buildings, jewelry, and emblazoned on incense burners in particular. The butterfly was sometimes depicted with the maw of a jaguar and some species were considered to be the reincarnations of the souls of dead warriors. The close association of butterflies to fire and warfare persisted through to the Aztec civilization and evidence of similar jaguar-butterfly images has been found among the Zapotec, and Mayan civilizations.
Today, butterflies are widely used in various objects of art and jewelry: mounted in frames, embedded in resin, displayed in bottles, laminated in paper, and used in some mixed media artworks and furnishings. Butterflies have also inspired the "butterfly fairy" as an art and fictional character, including in the Barbie Mariposa film."

A Vermont butterfly
Photo credit: Elizabeth Ungerleider, Brattleboro, VT

    Here is one of our favorites:  Northern Checkerspot, 26" x 26", $750
handmade, ceramic wall art tile by Natalie Blake

handmade, sgraffito-carved, ceramic butterfly by Natalie Blake Studios

     Edith's Copper, 26" x 28", $900  
Butterfly VI

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