A few weeks back I had the exciting opportunity to attend a wonderful blogger retreat (#CampCourtlyCheck) at the MacKenzie-Childs headquarters in Aurora, New York. I had the most amazing time touring the headquarters and seeing first hand how so many of the MacKenzie-Childs handmade products are sculpted, hand-painted and glazed.
To learn more about the other bloggers on the trip click here.
I was looking forward to going on this retreat not only to learn my more about the history of this special company but to understand the process behind the design concepts of the products they develop.
A long time admirer… I have been aware of MacKenzie-Childs for as long as I can remember. Throughout my life I have celebrated special occasions with my Mom and sister with lunches at Neiman Marcus and I vividly remember walking by the department where all the MacKenzie-Childs products were featured. The gorgeous pottery, plates and furniture was larger than life in both color and design… Everything felt whimsical, beautiful and different. I knew one day I would have to own a piece or two.
image of Neiman Marcus via My Red Glasses
My blogger retreat was planned for late September, just in time to catch the beginning of fall. The leaves had just started to change color as we arrived and the weather could not have been more beautiful.
I was so excited to be staying at one of the Inns of Aurora, the luxurious EB Morgan House. All the inns are gorgeous but the EB Morgan House is my absolute favorite. The staff was so welcoming and the interior is filled with a mix of historic and contemporary pieces that give the home an elegance like no other. I couldn’t believe my luck when I first walked into my beautiful soft yellow bedroom. Everything was perfect.. down to the incredible view of Lake Cayuga. My room came complete with a large fireplace and spa-like bathroom. I felt so spoiled.
One of my favorite parts of visiting MacKenzie-Childs was learning about the history of the company. I was so happy to have the opportunity to meet many of the creative team that had been there from the beginning in 1983. Longevity says something significant about the strength and loyalty of the workers at MacKenzie-Childs. The sense of pride in workmanship and family is evident everywhere you look.
During the tour of the barn studio we were given the opportunity to meet many of the artisans and learn the detailed process of how each piece is made. I now have so much more of an appreciation for things handmade and hand-painted. Such a difficult and timely process. The artisans blew me away with their poise and talent. Each artisan hand paints the designs on all the products so there are no two exactly alike. Character and charm ooze from each piece as a result.
Along with our tour, we were given the opportunity to make and hand-paint our very own piece. I’m not very creative when it comes to this sort of thing but I felt inspired and had so much fun with the experience. The result was a blush and gray mug that I designed on my own with the help of one of the artisans. It may not be perfect but I love it.
Final mugs from our group… image via Little Voice PR
One of the highlights of our trip was visiting the farmhouse on the property. I loved seeing all of the MacKenzie-Childs products proudly displayed within the home. It was incredible to see how everything was placed in each room and staged around certain themes. So many creative ideas..
Along with our headquarter tour we were treated to a flower making class and a walking tour of the other inns. In the flower arrangement class I created a white flower bouquet in an orange pumpkin vessel. I loved how it turned out and plan to use real pumpkins as vessels again. They are such a great seasonal piece.
I loved wearing the Courtly Check apron
The sunsets were spectacular over the lake.
My trip to MacKenzie-Childs was such a special treat.. Learning so much about the beautiful products, the care and the personalization that goes into each piece really shows how different this company is in their approach to everything they make. As my daughter is now older and in her own place, I plan to carry on the importance of tradition by giving her a piece of MacKenzie-Childs so that she too can begin her very own collection.
My new Check Flatware
Holiday favorites ~
**This post is sponsored and it contains affiliate links for your convenience**