reSettling Life's Treasures

reSettling Life's Treasures: MacKenzie-Childs Collectibles

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When it comes to unique beauty, perhaps nothing says it perfectly like a hand-crafted MacKenzie-Childs collectible. Produced from the finest materials and donned with eloquent designs, MacKenzie-Childs emanates timeless beauty with its bright pieces and large selection of products. From furniture to table settings, outdoor décor and everything in between, MacKenzie-Childs takes home design to a new level. Let's learn about where MacKenzie-Childs got its start and about some of the products still being produced today.

About MacKenzie-Childs

Based in Aurora, New York, MacKenzie-Childs manufactures ceramics, hand-painted furniture and other home décor. Getting its start in 1983 by Victoria and Richard MacKenzie-Childs, the name has become a staple in the design industry with a strong reputation for beauty and quality. Perhaps best known for its annual Barn Sale, which takes place at their 65-acre farm in Aurora, the event attracts visitors far and wide during this four-day event.

In 2001, MacKenzie-Childs was bough by American Girl founder Pleasant Rowland, moving on to change hands once more in 2006. Throughout the transitions, MacKenzie-Childs always maintains the fresh, innovative feel that its founders created over 35 years ago.

Custom MacKenzie-Childs Collectibles

MacKenzie-Childs produces spectacular pieces that add elements of style throughout the home. Custom MacKenzie-Childs pieces include:

  • Handmade ceramics

  • Glassware

  • Furniture

  • Home accessories

  • Servingware

  • Table linens

  • Outdoor entertaining items

With a variety of colorful pieces with unique and fun designs, collectors from around the globe seek out these additions for their spaces. These pieces are unlike any other and cannot be found at your local box store, adding to their increasing value.

Where to Find MacKenzie-Childs Items

MacKenzie-Childs collectibles are found in many online stores and may also be offered at your local consignment shop. The pieces have been featured in many homes and in the days of decluttering, many items, now considered to be vintage, have found their way into online auctions and donation centers as well. MacKenzie-Childs has two locations, one in Aurora and one in New York City, which offer visitors the chance to browse the latest items and get a first-hand look at new pieces.

The Aurora location offers tours of the sprawling facility, while the New York City location, which just opened earlier this year, gives MacKenzie-Childs aficionados the chance to browse the fun and exciting new items from this unique manufacturer. With new arrivals coming in frequently, such as summertime bird houses, place settings, decorative flowers and more, collectors and decorators alike can find the perfect pieces.

Artistry & Unmatched Beauty

It's true that MacKenzie-Childs collectibles aren't just functional, they're beautiful too! The next time you're in the market for something to spice up the look of your home, consider adding a MacKenzie-Childs piece to your space. Be creative and bold with MacKenzie-Childs! You may not have to look far for your next colorful piece to add to your home.

reSettling Life's Treasures - Milk Glass

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Milk glass can be a beautiful addition to many collections. It's smooth, milky appearance gives it an air of class and sophistication, perfect for many collectors to showcase in their homes. When it comes to starting your collection, there are a few key points to keep in mind. Finding the perfect pieces that add to your collection is important and finding those that are antiques can sometimes be a challenge if you don't know what you're looking for when you're at a shop or an online auction. If you've got questions, here's your guide to collecting milk glass.

Milk Glass Facts

Originating in 16th century Venice, this opaque or translucent milky white glass, otherwise known as milk glass, could be blown or pressed into various shapes. These shapes include:

 

·       Vases

·       Serving trays

·       Bowls

·       Cups

·       Pitchers

·       Salt & pepper shakers

 

Milk glass can also come in a variety of colors, including pinks, blues and yellows. Victorians named it milk glass, due to its resemblance to porcelain, and many antique pieces are still available today.

How to Know If a Piece is Valuable

A genuine antique dates back at least 100 years, and when it comes to milk glass, look for what's called a “Ring of Fire” when held up to the light. This means that you'll be able to see a ring of iridescent reds, greens and blues. Keep in mind that if your piece doesn't show this, it doesn't mean that it's not an antique. Some pieces have this effect, while others simply do not. Another way to tell if your piece is an antique is its texture. Antique milk glass has a silk-like texture, while more modern pieces have a grainy feel.

Milk Glass Markings

It's important to look at the marking on the bottom of the piece to best discern where it came from and if it's valuable. There are certain patterns that can be included on an antique piece, such as a daisy, holly, hobnail or stars. There may even be an inscription of where the piece was made that you can look up to gain more information about the particular piece. There are many places to learn more about milk glass online and also in libraries, so that you can find the best pieces for your growing collection.

Your Milk Glass Collection

Finding the right pieces for your collection depends on your unique style and what you're looking for in a piece. You may choose a piece simply for its beauty, while other collectors look specifically for valuable items.Milk glass has an unmatched and timeless beauty that fits in with virtually any style in the home, and these classic pieces are perfect for any collector, whether seasoned or just starting out.

reSettling Life’s Treasures – Lladro Porcelain

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In honor of our upcoming auction, which includes over 50 of these figurines, we are discussing the unique pieces of Lladro porcelain.

Considering its large following and collectability, Lladro porcelain got its start relatively recently, in 1953. Three Lladro brothers, Juan, Jose, and Vicente, combined their artistic talents and started created plates, vases, and figures in Almassera, Spain. At the time, they found their inspiration in the other great ceramic artists throughout Europe.

It wasn’t until the 1960s that their signature look started taking shape. The brothers began experimenting with elongating the lines in their figurines, giving them a contemporary, more elegant look. They also switched from triple-firing to a single-firing technique that left the colors pastel instead of bright. In 1965, they brought this unique look to the U.S. for the first time. Their first U.S. gallery and museum was opened in 1988 on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, and their second opened in 1997 on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.

Creating a Lladro figurine is not a quick process. Each piece starts with a picture, from which an artist sculpts a clay model. The model is reproduced roughly in alabaster, sculptors carve the intricate details to create the molds. This process alone can take up to five years.

Once the molds are complete, liquid porcelain is poured into molds representing different sections of the figurine. The exact formulas for Lladro porcelain is a closely guarded secret, but it includes feldspar, quartz, and kaolin. Different proportions of these components are used for different purposes. The pieces are assembled and painted after the porcelain dries and fired at 2500 degrees Fahrenheit. During the firing process, the more complicated and delicate figurines are supported with porcelain pieces to keep them from breaking in the kiln.

Each completed figurine is given a name in Spanish and in English; the names often have different meanings rather than the English one being a direct translation. The names of pieces are also often changed partway throughout the line, which can sometimes make them difficult for collectors to identify.

In addition to their recognizable figurines, Lladro makes other lines of porcelain:

·         Jewelry – necklaces, earrings, pins, hair clips

·         Lighting – table lamps, floor lamps, sconces, pendant lights, chandeliers

·         Home accessories – candleholders, vases, bowls, trays, teacups, salt and pepper shakers,            mirrors

Throughout the decades, Lladro’s subjects have included flowers, human figures, animals, and religious traditions. The 21st century brought with it new concepts, including pieces with a matte white finish, black-and-white creations, and pieces with bright colors rather than pastels, showing Lladro’s ability to progress and create new art.

Whether you prefer the muted pastels from decades past that made them recognizable, or the bright colors or monochromatic palettes of their more recent creations, Lladro figurines can make a unique collection. Check out our upcoming auction that includes Asian and Christmas figurines, and a piece of talismania jewelry from Lladro.

To view these beautiful items in part one of our upcoming auction, click here.