Natalie Blake’s Foster Gallery exhibit Elementals: Rhythms of the Earth honors the organic textures created through the interaction of the world’s elements. Ceramic tiles in natural colors mimic the patterns wind leaves on water and rain leaves on sand.
Blake’s ceramics honor the “leavings” of nature and pottery. The show includes leavings from her own work, leaf-shaped pieces of clay taken from pots during the creative process, which she invites visitors to run their fingers through. An interactive installation incorporating enlarged and magnetized leavings delighted Nobles students at her show opening.
A high school ceramics class sparked Blake’s passion for pottery. She has since travelled the world, working alongside indigenous potters of Indonesia, Korea, Nepal and India. She remembers “being in the earth, working only with women, creating functional pieces that would be brought to market as artwork and feeling so connected with the clay and the women I was working with.”
Ceramics offers a way for her to “go anywhere on the planet and share this culture.” The cultural exchange is not limited to above sea level—the spiraling lids of her pottery imitate the sea urchins she found while scuba diving in the Caribbean.
Bringing her talent to Nobles ceramics classes, Blake invited students to relax and embrace spontaneity. “I want you to know this was made by hand,” she said. “Not a machine.” She taught them to shape a strong foundation and let their hands work together as the clay spins around the wheel. As she explained, “You’re always working toward the center of the universe.”
Visit www.natalieblakestudios.com for more on Natalie Blake’s work.