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


Nature-based art promotes healing

 Natalie Blake Studios’ work profiled in Healthcare Design Magazine


In  September we completed this Tree of Life mural for Skyline Art Services.  The piece was installed in the Fort  Belvoir Community Hospital in Virginia.  We are honored that our work was selected for this prestigious hospital, which is the first of a new generation of world-class military medical facilities.  We have known for some time that our work fills a niche for art in healthcare settings, as the healthcare industry moves towards evidence-based design (EBD).   Incorporating the visual arts in the healthcare environment is a fundamental component of EBD, with proven benefits for patients, family and staff, translating into measurable outcomes in health, well-being, and cost of care. (see our recent blogpost on this topic).

Healthcare Design Magazine recently published a case study of the art at Fort Belvoir.  According to the article, “HDR established a design imperative to bring the outdoors in, and so provided the common areas with access to daylight as well as views to the forests and river beyond the site and to the campus grounds and gardens. Both the abundance of external views and the nature-based motifs of each pavilion are key components of biophilic design, the deliberate attempt to translate an understanding of the inherent human affinity with nature in the built environment.”

Read the full article here.

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

Art in Healthcare: A Case Study

Barbara Markoff, a corporate art consultant for 31 years, owns Artrageous!, an art consultancy  based in San Diego, CA.  Barbara has placed Natalie’s art tile in several healthcare facilities.  She wrote the following case study for us to highlight how she chose Natalie’s work for a recent healthcare project.


As an art consultant I am often presented with challenging situations where art is required to hang. This project, the new North Tower at Methodist Hospital of Southern California, in Arcadia, CA was new construction.  The six story building is the newest addition to the hospital’s campus which originally opened in 1957.  The state of the art facility houses the Hollfeld Emergency Care Center on the first floor, a 20 bed ICU unit on the 2nd floor, 40 medical/surgical beds on the 3rd, 4th, and 5th floors and a cafeteria in the basement area.


Methodist Hospital of Southern California

Methodist Hospital of Southern California


The challenge for this project was finding an artist who could create unique, theme-specific artwork for a circular recessed wall in a hospital setting.  My client was looking for a series of tiles that would convey an ocean theme and fit into a circular space.  For this project I needed to find artwork that was three dimensional, light weight, would protrude from the wall no more than 4”, and would fit into a 72” circular recessed wall across from an elevator.



Handmade, ceramic wall art tile by Natalie Blake Studios

Wave, handmade ceramic wall art tile



A perfect solution was to suggest ceramic tiles by Natalie Blake.  Knowing that Natalie would customize the tiles in terms of glaze color and subject matter made her work an excellent choice for this project.


An art committee comprised of two project managers, the chief operating officer, and hospital staff (total of 12 all together) reviewed each artist for the overall art program.  Budget concerns were a factor as well, and Natalie’s work was well priced meeting their allocated cost for the recessed wall.  I recommended a series of 8, 12” tiles to span the area.  Each row of 4 had a contiguous design.


Natalie’s work was selected due to her ability to produce themed artwork in specific colors within budget for this project.  I requested a sample of her work which showed the outstanding technique of carved clay.  Having been a ceramic major in college I was very excited about her attention to detail and design execution.  When I showed her sample to the hospital art committee everyone was thoroughly impressed with her ability to produce what was needed.  In this hospital project there were four, 72” recessed walls within the facility and the decision makers requested a different artist and different art media for each floor.  Unquestionably, Natalie’s work was the ideal candidate for ceramic art.

Handmade, ceramic tile mural by Natalie Blake Studios


This project was my first one working with Natalie.  Having visited her website and seen images of other projects, especially in the field of healthcare, helped relieve any reservations I had in moving forward.  The tile sample and accompanying photographs showing other ocean themed works also made selling her work to my client fairly easy.  From the start I found Natalie and her staff to be professional, communicative, responsive, and experienced in handling every facet of the commission.  I especially liked seeing each phase of the project unfold as I was sent images of the unglazed tiles and later images of them glazed.  At all times I was kept abreast of the progress.  When the tiles arrived they were well packaged and beautifully executed.  Once installed at the hospital the feedback was very positive; in fact they among the art committee’s favorite art pieces.  My company offers art in all media and began working with Natalie only recently.  I hope to continue placing her work in my projects.  Many of my clients are in the healthcare sector, and Natalie’s work fits right in with nature themed artwork.





Art for Healthcare Installations

Healthcare Installations are our specialty

“Natalie Blake Studios’ natural themes, which evoke the restorative properties of balance and harmony, have proven to be therapeutic to patients.”

Carla Santia, Art Consultant for Baystate Medical Center, Springfield, MA


“The craftsmanship is top notch.  Not only are Natalie’s designs unique and gorgeous, she will custom-create designs to your own specifications.  Her attention to detail is extraordinary.  Her staff is eager to please and easy to work with.  It is a winning combination of excellent product and great customer service.”

Barbara Markoff, Art Consultant, Artrageous!


In 2006 Natalie Blake Studios began creating handmade, ceramic, nature-based design tiles, responding to an increased demand for art installations in health care facilities and marking a turning point for the studio toward more meaning-based work. Our designs incorporate universally-recognizable natural features: trees, flowers, botanical elements, which symbolize abundance, rejuvenation and growth. The images are safe, welcoming and are designed to create a more positive, peaceful environment.  We are honored to join more and more healthcare institutions in their groundbreaking missions to further serve patients by incorporating art into their health care setting.

Our staff has worked with design teams to create innovative, lasting artwork in cancer research centers, women crisis centers, pediatric care institutions, radiology departments, general care facilities and many others.  We base our work on research that has tracked the effects of nature on patients including shorter time in the hospital, fewer doses of analgesics, lower blood pressure levels, less anxiety and less intense pain.

Our murals are comprised of individually-made, sgraffito-carved, ceramic wall tiles in sizes ranging from 4” – 24” square. Tiles are made by smoothing a slab of clay over hand-made forms to give the tiles undulation. Designs are then carved into each tile using the ancient technique of  “sgraffito” (meaning “to score”) and glazed from a palette of 33 rich, luminous glaze colors. When laid next to each other, the tiles form contiguous designs that can be expanded to any size.

Because of the modular format of tiles, the murals and groupings are highly- adaptable to different spaces, well-suited to hallways, stairwells and large, open spaces. They can also be grouted in place or individually mounted and hung, and lend themselves to viewing from a distance or up close, providing a tactile experience.

Ceramic tile is an enduring, resilient, easily-maintained medium. The sealed tiles can be cleaned with common cleaners. We provide our own custom installation backings and clear installation instruction.  The work is fully insured and customized for each specific project. The discussion begins with the client and their specific needs for the artwork.  Then, drawing from the studio’s portfolio of designs, sketches are prepared for approval. The Tree of Life, water imagery, landscapes, large flowers and leaf patterns comprise a large part of our commissions, though the studio has also created works with human and animal figures.  Our process makes it possible to adapt the designs to any size tile. We would work closely with you and/or your art selection committee to render sketches that would fit all criteria.

We pride ourselves on our craftsmanship and customer service and would welcome the opportunity to work with you on providing art for your next healthcare installation.


handmade, sgraffito-carved, ceramic wall discs by Natalie Blake

Ceramic wall discs





Botanical, glazed in creme

This mural, 48″ x 48″, glazed in creme, was commissioned by Skyline Art Services for a children’s waiting room for Memorial Hermann Texas Medical Center, Houston, TX.  They chose the piece for its soothing, feminine nature.  The subtle, creme color balanced well with the other artwork in the area.  Because it’s in a children’s waiting area, the client requested that the tiles be less undulated than typical because they didn’t want any little hands poking their way behind the tiles.  The mural is the only dimensional piece in the area


handmade, ceramic wall art tile by Natalie Blake Studios

Botanical, glazed in cream


New Installation of Ceramic Art Discs


These ceramic wall discs were commissioned by Art 3 Gallery, Manchester, NH for an outpatient surgery center north of Boston, MA.

We worked with the art consultant to choose tile sizes and colors, using her direction on design and layout.

handmade, sgraffito-carved, ceramic wall discs by Natalie Blake

Ceramic wall discs


Here’s a closeup of one of the discs:

Ceramic wall disc by Natalie Blake Studios

Ceramic wall disc by Natalie Blake Studios


Click on the image to watch a short video of our process:


Making ceramic wall art by Natalie Blake Studios

Making ceramic wall art by Natalie Blake Studios

New Healthcare Installation

Thanks to Barbara Markoff, corporate art consultant, Artrageous! San Diego, CA for these photos. She commissioned these wall tiles for a waiting area in a hospital.  We worked closed with Barbara to get the right designs and colors for the space.  Each mural is 48″ wide x 24″ high.



handmade, ceramic wall art tile by Natalie Blake Studios

Natalie Blake tiles installed in hospital waiting room, Artrageous! San Diego, CA




handmade, ceramic wall art tile by Natalie Blake Studios


handmade, ceramic wall art tile by Natalie Blake Studios



handmade, ceramic wall art tile by Natalie Blake Studios





handmade, ceramic wall art tile by Natalie Blake Studios








Three beautiful abstract murals

These three murals were commissioned by an art consultant for a hospital installation.  The tiles are each 12″ x 12″.

The glazes she chose are: Moss, Apricot, Honey, Blue, Turquoise, Cashew


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

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

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

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


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

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

New piece for healthcare installation

This piece was commissioned for a hospital lobby. The piece measures 36″ wide by 24″ high.  It is glazed in Robin’s Egg, Jade, and Honey, with a touch of Adobe on the center of the flower.


We think it would also make a beautiful backsplash!


handmade, ceramic wall art and backsplash tile by Natalie Blake Studios

Botanical abstract, 12" tiles

New Tree of Life Mural

This piece was commissioned by Skyline Art Services, Houston, TX for Fort Belvoire army hospital, outside of Washington, DC.


The piece measures 53″ w x 80″ h and is glazed in adobe, honey, persimmon, blue, jade and turquoise

handmade, sgraffito-carved, ceramic wall art tile

Tree of Life


Installation Shot

Thanks to Barbara Markoff for this installation shot.  Barbara is an art consultant with Artrageous! out of San Diego.  The 8 tiles were installed on a 72″ recessed circular area in a wall off the elevator at Methodist Hospital of Southern CA, Arcadia, CA

Barbara’s quote: “Thanks again for the beautifully executed tiles.”




handmade, sgraffito-carved, ceramic wall tiles

Wave, installed


handmade, sgraffito-carved, ceramic wall tiles

Wave, 12" tiles

Natalie’s Ceramic Quilt

This 32-tile mural, named “Natalie’s Ceramic Quilt” by the client, will be installed in the Sourtheast Missouri Cancer Center in January.

The art program for the center will play an integral role in the patient experience.The artwork in the center will be “patient journey focused and will allow nature elements to be shared from the outside in and inside out,”  according to the art committee in charge of selecting the artwork.


We are pleased that Natalie’s work will be included in the Center’s art program.


Click on the image to enlarge it.


handmade, ceramic wall art tile by Natalie Blake Studios









Live Oak mural for commercial client

An art buyer we’ve worked with in the past recently contacted us. She saw our Live Oak wall mural, consisting of 9, 12″ tiles and thought a larger version would work well for an art installation she was working on.  She Photoshopped the image of our Live Oak piece, enlarging it and putting it into an image of the room where it would hang.  We all thought it would be great!


Here’s a picture of her piece, carved, drying and awaiting the bisque kiln:


handmade, sgraffito-carved, ceramic wall tiles

Live Oak, carved, awaiting bisque




Here’s the Photoshopped image.  This gives a good idea of how a piece will work in a space.


handmade, ceramic wall tiles by Natalie Blake

live oak, Photoshopped






Tree of Life for Hospital Installation

This Tree of Life, ceramic wall tile mural, will be installed in a hospital lobby.  The piece measures 46″ x 46″.  Our trademark wooden backings will be put on the tiles and security hardware will be attached to these backings.

The glazes used in this piece are: adobe, blue, turquoise, jade, persimmon and honey.

Click here to see more of our Tree of Life designs.





handmade, ceramic wall tiles by Natalie Blake Studios

Tree of Life








Fletcher Allen Hospital Installation

We recently completed this Tree of Life piece for the Radiology Oncology facility at Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington, VT.

The request for proposals (RFP) stated that patients in the radiology department who are undergoing radiation treatments to eliminate cancer tumors or to alleviate pain caused by the tumors will be virtually underground all day. The light-well in the waiting area is their only connection with nature.  The RFP goes on to state that the design concept for the project is the idea of being under a canopy of trees. In the corridors outside the vaults, the skylights are large enough so that one can look up and see the branches of trees in the planters that run along the skylight on the roof.

Our piece was chosen from a pool of applicants for this installation because it addressed the thematic considerations of the request for proposals.  Specifically, the selection committee was looking for art that:

  • contributes to a sense of place (why this piece would not be found in another city or outside of Vermont)
  • addresses in some form the culture, landscape/natural environment, vitality, heritage or traditions of the region.
  • creatively explores ideas related to this space; particularly with respect to the health center’s link to community and its focus as a place of healing and wellness.

Click here to see the work as it was being made.





handmade, ceramic, wall tiles by Natalie Blake

Tree of Life, ceramic wall tile mural












Danbury Hospital Installation

On Monday Natalie and her fiance, Nick, installed two Tree of Life murals in the Danbury Hospital, Danbury, CT. The installation was “a piece of cake” according to Nick. All the workmen in the area (who were still slinging mud and tape, finishing the renovation) oohed and aahed over the tiles. The end result is stunning. Note the beautiful background color “Topeka Taupe” by Benjaman Moore.


Here, Nick is attaching our unique hanging system to the wall:


Installing wall tile

Installing wall tile



The wooden discs attach to the wall.  Then the tiles, which have wooden backings on them with a circle cut-out, fit snugly and securely on the wooden discs:




installing ceramic wall tile

installing ceramic wall tile




measuring layout distances

measuring layout distances


Here’s 1/2 of the finished piece.  The other 10-tile Tree mural is on the other side of the elevator:



Tree of Life, Danbury Hospital, Danbury, CT

Tree of Life, Danbury Hospital, Danbury, CT






Handmade, ceramic tiles installed in healthcare facility

These handmade, sgraffito-carved, wall tiles were installed at the Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare facility, Brown Deer, Wisconsin, 2009

The fact that our tiles are handmade really impressed this client.

handmade ceramic wall art tile