Tradition with a Twist: MacKenzie-Childs’ Standout Pieces from Unique Collections | ICONIC LIFE

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Tradition with a Twist: MacKenzie-Childs’ Standout Pieces from Unique Collections

Mackenzie Childs boutique New York

MacKenzie Childs

The popular manufacturer of whimsical enamelware evokes joy.

You might not know the brand name, but you’ve surely spied MacKenzie-Childs’ colorful enamelware pieces at a friend’s home, or in your local decorative goods retailer. Chances are high that you have a few pieces yourself. The beloved manufacture of plates, planters, teapots, and tureens is omnipresent, and is best known for distinctive designs that combine vibrant colors and pattern-on-pattern surface decoration to create a fresh, original aesthetic described as “tradition with a twist.”

For more than 30 years, MacKenzie-Childs’ talented designers and artisans have created beautiful, original products such as the popular Courtly Check Collection of black and white checkered objets d’art and kitchen accessories; the brand’s most requested item is the Courtly Check Enamel Tea Kettle. The Royal Check Collection delivers the same whimsy in shades of blue, and the Sterling Check Collection in shades of gray. The Wildflowers Collection suggests an English garden, while The Flower Market Collection combines the best of florals and checkerboards.


Founded in 1983, MacKenzie-Childs makes it headquarters in Cayuga Lake in New York’s Finger Lakes region. From its Victorian farm, MacKenzie-Childs produces its world-renowned home furnishings, colorful, handmade ceramics, enamelware, glassware, furniture, and home accessories that are alive with individuality. Each artisan piece is an original that holds the surprise and joy of the unexpected, beginning with the most natural and individual of materials: clay. Molded by hand, machine-pressed, or slip cast, the formed clay is fired up to three times, hand-glazed and decorated. Layer upon layer of artistry is applied by hand to every surface inch. No two MacKenzie-Childs pieces are identical. The artisan’s stamp or mark shows his or her contribution to each piece. In some cases, contribution is a stage in the process. In others, the application of decorative surface treatment may be the responsibility of one artisan from start to finish. Pottery decorators mix their own colors, resulting in slight variations. Brush strokes also vary; you can spot the artisan’s “hand” in the work. 

MacKenzie-Childs’ artisans are no doubt influenced and inspired by their Cayuga Lake surroundings. The grounds—open to the public—are home to a Second-Empire Farmhouse that playfully combines art and antiques with MacKenzie-Childs products and is open for tours. There is also a retail shop filled with tableware, home furnishings, and gifts that provide inspiration for your own MacKenzie-Childs collection. The farm is also home to a small herd of Scottish Highland cattle, dozens of birds roosting in a Gothic-Revival-style Chicken Palace, a duck pond, a former Cornell horse barn, a 1930s greenhouse, hay fields and spectacular and ever-changing gardens. The company takes special pride in its garden’s arrays of blossoms, from tulips and daffodils in the spring, to peonies and lilies in the summer, to mums and asters in the fall. 


MacKenzie-Childs’ handcrafted products can be found at the company’s retail stores in New York City and Aurora, New York, and through distinctive fine retailers. 

Courtly Check Enamel Tea Kettle – 3 Quart ($188) via MacKenzie-Childs. 

Mackenzie childs pot

Wildflowers Enamel Large Colander – Blue ($188) via MacKenzie-Childs.

Mackenzie Childs Plate

Royal Check Enamel Clock ($98) via MacKenzie-Childs.

Mackenzie Childs frame

Sterling Check Enamel Frame – 2.5″ x 3″ ($68) via MacKenzie-Childs.

Mackenzie Childs bowl

Flower Market Large Compote – White ($188) via MacKenzie-Childs.

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