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

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3 Responses to “My teeny-tiniest inspiration”

  1. Lorna Benton October 13, 2014 at 2:28 pm #387480

    This is spectacular!

  2. Shaun Marsh March 19, 2015 at 11:57 pm #544313

    This blog is really amazing. Wonderful peace of creativity shown really makes it different from the others.

  3. NB Studios May 15, 2015 at 12:10 pm #559074

    Thanks! I am inspired by nature all the time. This was a great project to work on! Natalie

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