Tag Archives: tile

“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.    

What size should my artwork be?

  Unless you work with an interior designer, it may be difficult to know what size wall art will look best in your space.  When it comes to finding the right size wall art, there are a few tips to keep in mind so that you don't overwhelm (or underwhelm) your space with your art: In general you should work around furniture, using the general rule of covering 1/2 to 3/4 of that area with your artwork.
  • One guideline is that the artwork should take up 4/7 of the selected space.  Here's a math trick to help you figure that the size of the art you need:
  • Measure the width (or height) of your wall space, in inches.  Multiply that number by .57
  • So, for example, if your area is 36 inches wide, you want to look for art that's 20-21 inches wide.
Here's an example of an appropriately-sized mural for this wall. The width of the wall is 96". Using the calculation outlined above, the artwork for this wall should be 54" wide. This ceramic tile mural, Live Oak, is comprised of 12" x 12" tiles, with 1/2" spacing between tiles. So the width of the piece is about 50".  You can see that the mural fills the space nicely, with a nice "frame" of wall around the piece so that the room doesn't look cluttered by the artwork.   sculpted, carved ceramic wall art tile by Natalie Blake   In the example below the width of the wall is 144".  Using the calculation, the mural should be about 82".  The mural is 75" wide.  Even without using the calculation we can see that the piece fits in the space. A large room such as this, with high ceilings, can take a larger piece of artwork.  The benefit of a ceramic tile mural like this one is that the work can be appreciated from a distance, or up close to see the carving lines. sculpted, carved, ceramic tile mural   ceramic wall art tile by Natalie Blake   Feel free to contact the studio if you'd like help determining what size ceramic mural would fit your wall. Our tiles are made in sizes from 12" -20" square.  If you send us an image of your wall/space we can Photoshop a mural into the image to give you an idea of what the piece will look like.                                          

Pattern

Patterns are everywhere in nature. While we don't set out to deliberately create patterns in our ceramic tile art, sometimes they emerge on their own, as this pattern did in our latest Tree of Life mural. According to Cynthia Parker-Houghton, Designer at Natalie Blake Studios, the pattern in the tree trunk revealed itself during sgraffito carving. Our latest work, this Tree of Life mural will be installed in a custom-built home in Wilmington, VT. The texture and dimensions of this tile art, also custom made, will be a source of beauty – and a chance to get lost in the patterns of nature.
Tree of Life ceramic tile art, unglazed – Natalie Blake Studios

Patterns in this Tree of Life took shape on their own.

 

Detail of sgraffito carved, ceramic tile art by Natalie Blake Studios

 
Girbaldi, handmade carved ceramic vessel

Everything about Girbaldi, one of our ceramic vessels, is handmade in Vermont.

Our ceramic artwork is nearly always inspired by nature, and especially its patterns. Whether in the petals of a flower, on the trunk of a tree, or ripples moving on water, the patterns are what we're really after when we begin sgraffito carving. Below are some intricate and honestly astounding patterns that Mother Earth loves to make.
Salakfruits

Snake Fruit from the Salak species of palm tree native to Indonesia, Malyasia and Brunei

flower

Photo Credit: Elizabeth Ungerleider

It's not surprising that art is inspired by nature, given the diversity of pattern and color that nature produces.  Here are a few tile patterns we love. We've pinned more on our Pinterest page. Share yours with us!

wall art tile wall art tile wall art tile wall art tile

 

Using Handmade Ceramic Tile with Field Tile

We see a "canvas" for Natalie Blake Studios tiles wherever a tiled surface, as in a kitchen, a bathroom, or a pool area, needs a pop of color or a handmade touch. Adding a mosaic tile mural to a tiled backsplash or wall is an artful way to get both the eye-catching appeal of  handmade ceramic tile art and the functionality of traditional tile. When using handmade ceramic tile with field tile, choose tiles and colors that complement each other yet are different enough to make a statement. Glossy, solid- colored field tiles spotlight the richly detailed and colorful forms of Natalie Blake Studios' mosaic tiles, which in turn become an elegant centerpiece of the room.

Nautilus Shower Mural, Handmade Ceramic Tile Art

Mosaic Tile as Shower Art Our handmade ceramic bath tiles are versatile and can be used in wet and outdoor environments, like showers and saunas, and are actually well suited for it (they’re ceramic tile, after all). This piece, Nautilus, is installed in a townhouse apartment bathroom in Washington, DC, where it adds depth and color to the clean, modern design of the bathroom. For showers, kitchens, and anywhere that splashes are likely, it is essential to properly seal and install the tiles to protect them from dirt and damage. Handmade Ceramic Tile in Kitchen Backsplashes Using our art tile as the highlight in a kitchen backsplash is one of our favorite ways to see our tiles installed.  In the installation below, the playful shapes and colors of the Flowerscape, set off by the surrounding smooth field tile, break up the white of the kitchen.

Flowerscape, Handmade Ceramic Tile Backsplash

Our square tiles can also be incorporated into a tiled kitchen backsplash. Large murals or shorter horizontal groups add a vibrant splash of color to fit almost any size wall space (and many are in stock and ready to buy).
Adavasi, Handmade Kitchen Tile Backsplash

Adavasi Backsplash, 24" x 24"

Tree Branch, Backsplash, Handmade Ceramic Tiles

Tree Branch, 12" x 60"

Handmade Tile in an Outdoor Landscape  Here's an example of handmade ceramic tile as decorative accents in a poolside, stone wall.  The colorful tiles break up the monotone color of the stone wall and play off the beautiful, blue pool.

Handmade Tiles, Outdoor Pool Tiles

The possibilities are limitless. For more ideas on using handmade ceramic tiles in the kitchen, bathroom and even outdoors, get inspired by Natalie Blake Studios on Pinterest and Houzz.  Keep an eye out for our new line of backsplash tiles, designed to fit as a mosaic or accent piece within a field tile backsplash (coming in the fall). Here's a sneak peek of our backsplash design tests:
Natalie Blake Studios Backsplash Tiles, coming soon

Design tests for new backsplash tiles

Q&A: Colors in Ceramic Sgraffito Art

Curious tile-lovers have a lot of questions about how we make our ceramic sgraffito art. So, we've collected some recent questions about color and glazes to answer here in our blog. This Q&A session focuses on color. Color – bright, vibrant, inviting color – is as much a part of Natalie Blake Studios’ distinctive ceramic art as sgraffito carving. While this isn't quite an article on how to glaze ceramics, we hope it will ease (or rather, pique) your curiosity about our most colorful ceramic sgraffito work. Here goes!
Kitchen Tile Backsplash, Handmade by Natalie Blake Studios

Our Tree of Life custom kitchen backsplash.

Q: How do you achieve the contrasting color where you have carved? I am sure you don't have that many different colors of clay. George H., via email A: Great question, George, especially because it lets us start at the very beginning. To achieve that high contrast, we apply a coating of slip to unfired porcelain clay before beginning sgraffito carving. Our handmade tile designs are created by carving through the top slip covered layer. After the ceramic is bisque-fired, we apply colored glazes and fire again. The colors only show in the carved areas, and the dark slip that remains blends with the layer of glaze and shows through as black or some range of grey depending on what glaze it is blending with and how thickly the glaze is applied. Handmade Ceramic Bowl Q: How did you get that Melon color, it’s spectacular! Martha A., via Facebook A: We have done a lot of testing to find glazes that are compatible with our claybody and which the slip blends well with. All this testing has resulted in a huge stock of more than 30 different colored glazes that we choose from to color our sgraffito ceramics. This bowl looks melon-y thanks to an exterior glazed in jade and a watermelon interior glaze. Color, Glazing Handmade Ceramic Art Q: How do you manage to get the shades of a single colour so evenly spread over a tile? Lata D., via Facebook A: To apply our colored glazes, we use an industrial paint sprayer like the ones used to paint cars. It is essentially an airbrush, spraying a “mist” of glaze that our staff can control to change the intensity of the color. We spray one glaze at a time across the tiles, applying each glaze where we want that color on the mural, similar to painting. Spreading the color evenly and achieving smooth blending is an art that we are continually perfecting! Got more questions about colors and glazes? Ask away in the comments or on Facebook, and tell us what you'd like to see on the next Q&A blog about our handmade ceramic art.