Ceramicist Natalie Blake credits her first influence in college, Susan Balboni, who referred to the vessel as a spirit keeper. The concept of the vessel as the safeguard of the space inside is prevalent in all of Natalie Blake's work.
Returning to the thrown vessel time after time, Blake is always entranced by the possibility of capturing the poise and vibrancy of clay as it expands outwards on the wheel. She has worked with the lidded vessel for the past fourteen years, always interested in giving voice to subconscious experiences through free drawing on the thrown vessel. By using the thrown form as canvas, images are influenced by the same intuitive tools used to create three-dimensional as well as two-dimensional expressions. The particular curves of the thrown piece influence the movement of the pencil over soft clay.
Natalie Blake's pieces are thrown, carved, fired with stone-matte surfaces in rich colors, and finished with hand built lids in porcelain. Her carving is inspired by aquatic, botanical, industrial, and mythical elements. The sculptural components and layered colors create a lush depth of surface, an inviting texture, and a sense of three-dimensional space. Her carving has been referenced to folded fabric, conjuring the image of expandability through breath. Creating a piece that conveys fullness and ripeness is what satisfies artist Natalie Blake.
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