Who Is MacKenzie-Childs?
It’s not precisely who is MacKenzie-Childs, but rather, who are MacKenzie-Childs? Victoria MacKenzie and Richard Childs created the company MacKenzie-Childs, a combination of their last names. They are known for their eccentric, crazy, and creative style that just makes people say “Wow!"
"I was sitting in my little studio and was making what you call a chowder bowl. I had never made one, or seen that shape before. A whole rush of ideas burst forth out of control. All kinds of patterns and decorations just kept building and falling completely, almost like jazz."
- Victoria MacKenzie
Victoria was born in San Francisco and Richard was born in Massachusetts, but their life mainly began in college, where they met. They both attended Alfred University in the mid-1970s, where they became disillusioned with the fine-arts world. They were both working on their graduate degrees in ceramic sculpture. Victoria said, “It was not quite as altruistic as we’d imagined in our idealistic world. It was much more politically oriented than artistically oriented.”
Once they graduated, the couple moved to United Kingdom, where they worked at pottery for a couple of years until moving back to New York. Richard took a part-time teaching job at Wells College in Aurora. But MacKenzie-Childs company was born thanks to their daughter, Heather Chaplet. She wanted to go to ballet school overseas, but Victoria and Richard could not financially accommodate her. Heather said she sold raspberries until she raised enough money for the trip to England. But she only raised enough money for the trip there, not the trip back. Determined to bring Heather home, Victoria and Richard decided to sell their pottery and other artwork.
Not only was their initial company inspired by Heather, but the works Richard and Victoria MacKenzie-Childs produced was also inspired by their daughter. Heather helped inspire Victoria’s day-to-day outlook. Victoria says, “When she was a little girl, it didn’t matter what Heather was doing or what day of the week it was. She wasn’t conscious of any kind of formula, yet she was very organized in her progression forward,” Victoria said. “I started thinking like her. I didn’t care if I was plaiting her hair, baking a cake, making a pot or hoeing the garden; I’m going to be playing as my work and my work will be my play. It changed my consciousness, my whole way of being.”
One of the reasons why Heather inspired Richard and Victoria so much, was that she was raised to express herself without walls. Her parents were amazed at how comfortable Heather was with herself and the people around her. They wanted to find a way to incorporate that into their works. How could their pottery incorporate a sense of comfort, yet still be fun, interesting, and a conversational starter?
As the MacKenzie-Childs line grows, those initial ideas continue to be the foundation for their products--and it will continue to be the foundation for years to come.
Click Here for the MacKenzie-Childs Collection.