Tag Archives: wall art

“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.    

A Playful Mural Designed for a Pediatric Unit

 Ceramic Wall Art Mural Inspired by our Local Roots

This spring we were asked to create an original wall tile mural to be installed in the Yale-New Haven Hospital's Pediatric Specialty Center.  The art committee wanted a piece that would include themes of travel and literature that would resonate with children.  We love this type of project where we can really be creative.  Some great design ideas came out of our collaboration with the art committee.  For example using books as wings.  You can see the results below:flying books and books as handgliders!   handsculpted, sgraffito-carved, ceramic wall art by Natalie Blake   Once the committee told us to locate the scene in New England we really got creative!  We incorporated images that we see out our window everyday: rolling hills, a river and a train (the Amtrak line runs right along the Connecticut River, through Brattleboro).  We love biking and kayaking so we included these modes of travel too. Our signature, sgraffito carving style brings a lot of movement to the  flowing river and breezy skies; the whole piece feels animated. Working on this wall art mural felt especially personal for Cynthia (Designer at Natalie Blake Studios). "As I biked to work I kept noticing details in the environment, such as the pair of geese and the kingfisher which ended up in the mural. Our new studio site abuts the West River and during our lunch break we sometimes visit the river.  I paid special attention to the wild plants and the landscape and how the rocks and the river interact. This became research for the details of the mural. I also kept thinking of my 7 year old son as  I carved some of the details (he's actually the biker under the bridge!). I loved imagining him discovering the details in the piece. Whenever he would visit me at work he would look to see what I had carved." The idea of the books emerging from the train smoke and then morphing into birds came out of Natalie's surrealist sensibilities. One reason why this mural's design works so well is that it marries Cynthia's realism and Natalie's surrealism. Here is the final sketch that was the result of Natalie and Cynthia working with the art committee to gather ideas:   Looking for learning   In a moment of inspiration we suggested that the hospital post a key to finding fun animals and objects in the tile mural.  Tucked into various corners of the design are: a beaver, squirrels, a salamander (can you find them below?) and many more.   handmade, sgraffito-carved, ceramic wall art tile     handmade, sgraffito-carved, ceramic wall art tile by Natalie Blake   handsculpted, sgraffito-carved, ceramic wall art tile by Natalie Blake   We had so much fun making this mural. The first step was to envision the layout of the entire mural and to make the forms that would give the wall art tiles their signature undulation.  
handmade tile by Natalie Blake

Handmade forms create the undulation in the tiles

Next we laid each handmade tile over the forms:
handmade wall art tile by Natalie Blake

Clay tiles draped over forms

After painting slip on the tiles, we carved the design, using the undulations to "shape" the design:  
handmade, carved tiles by Natalie Blake


  Here is the piece, carved and bisque-fired:
handmade wall art tile by Natalie Blake

Ready to be glazed!

Thanks to Nancy Samotis, who was the art consultant for this project and a real pleasure to work with! "Patients, family and staff all love the way Natalie Blake Studio's 8' x 6' mural welcomes them to the Yale-New Haven Health Pediatric Specialty Center.  It stands on its own as a statement piece, and also offers interactive elements by having "hidden images" within the larger design.  Thanks to Natalie and her team for going above and beyond with this art commission." --Nancy Samotis

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

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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.

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


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!

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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.