Natalie began her professional career in 1994, creating her unique line of carved vessels and hand sculpted lids out of a small, residential studio in southern Vermont. Her work quickly gained exposure through art shows like the Smithsonian Craft Show and the American Craft Exposition. In 2002, Ornament Magazine described her work as an “extraordinary collection of pottery consisting of brilliant blue green glaze and fine detailed carving, which are her trademark. Each piece has an ancient as well as contemporary feel.”
In 2000, Natalie’s business expanded into a studio in an old, converted cotton mill in the small New England arts town of Brattleboro, Vermont. During the next 13 years, Natalie continued to expand her inventive line of vessels while also developing her unique line of sculptural wall art tile. During that time she also formed a partnership with Randi Solin, a Brattleboro glassblower, and their joint venture, Fulcrum Arts, now inhabits a building of its own.
Natalie’s work offers the viewer both the modern and the classical, the aqueous and the lushly verdant. Her pieces have been informed by a wide variety of eclectic experience and formal institutional training. Natalie studied at Kenyon College where she graduated with a degree in ceramics and painting.
She has been internationally influenced by a myriad of host countries. At the age of 13 she moved with her parents to the West Indies and at 18 she solo traveled through South America for a year, teaching art to children in Ecuador. In 1992, as a postgraduate, Natalie was the recipient of the prestigious Thomas J. Watson fellowship, which brought her to the Netherlands, Korea, Nepal, India and Indonesia. There she worked with the Sasak women of Lombok using traditional methods of forming water vessels with a stone and paddle. The intensity of colors from these countries, the contours of landscape, the figures and their textiles all infuse her work. Her work brings the viewer to distant lands with hues, ensigns and lines matchless in the craft.
Carving through colored slips to contrast with the white porcelain underneath, Natalie’s current work is reminiscent of archetypal dream imagery. The viewer is, in one breath, taken on an intense and gorgeous journey from mythical to metaphorical.
She has won many awards and national media attention for her work, as well as inclusion in several museum permanent collections. Her work is exhibited widely throughout the continental United States, as well as New Zealand and Australia and has shown in Hawaii, London and Anguilla, West Indies.
The studio has been awarded three, large public art grants in the past several years. In 2011 Natalie was selected from among 600 applicants to create work for installation throughout the Chabot College campus, Hayward, CA. In 2013 the studio created three, 6′ x 15′ murals depicting historical scenes from an African-American community in Tampa, FL. These murals are adhered to concrete walls surrounding a housing complex. In 2014 the studio won another public art grant from the Service High School in Anchorage, Alaska. Through this grant, Natalie’s team will create 10 murals to decorate interior columns in the school’s cafeteria.
Based in the small New England arts town of Brattleboro, Vermont, Natalie’s studio is part of Fulcrum Arts Center, a collaboration between Natalie Blake and Randi Solin (Solinglass). FulcrumArts Center houses expanded studios for both artists, classroom space, and a retail gallery. Live demonstrations of the artist’s process in both glass and clay, as well as regular classes, will offer collectors, tourists, and the local community unique opportunities to become actively involved in the creation of glass and ceramic works.