Care and Use 

Ceramics

Something special from the start. Handmade in Aurora, MacKenzie-Childs ceramic pottery holds a special place in our hearts, and we are proud to share this unique artisanal craft with you. We first began making pottery in 1983, and today we still make almost all of our pottery, from design inspiration to final quality check, right here. From Aurora, we ship our products across the country and around the world.

Our works of functional art are formed using traditional techniques: hand-trimmed, fired, glazed, decorated, and fired up to three more times, depending on the pattern. Although the process takes time, it ensures that every piece is as individual as the wildflowers that grace our meadows.

Each piece is hand-painted and no two are exactly alike. Our pottery decorators mix their own colours, resulting in slight variations. Brush strokes also vary, so you will see the artisan’s “hand” in the work. The signature red clay that we use in all of our Aurora studio pottery has its own delightful identity. In the finished piece, you may notice tiny pinholes or white spots which are characteristic of majolica pottery. These form when organic materials within the clay explode through the glazed surface during firing, or implode pulling the colour inward. We like to think that these dimples and freckles add to the personality of each piece.

At each step of the process, our artisans add their stamps to the work, along with the studio mark and date of manufacture. Turn over each ceramic piece to see the stamps of the artisans who helped create it.

The signature red clay that we use in all of our Aurora studio pottery has its own delightful personality. While charming in its idiosyncrasy, our red clay is not appropriate for manufacturing tile, where consistent uniformity and precision are essential. So, to create our tile collections, we found a ceramics studio in the highlands of central Mexico, skilled in creating luxury tile. Our designers travel to Mexico to train their artisans in each new pattern, ensuring both consistent quality and a result that is uniquely MacKenzie-Childs.

Ceramic Pottery Care and Use

  • Our clay body, glaze, stains, decals, and lustres are formulated to ensure that all of our pottery collections are completely food safe. All MacKenzie-Childs ceramics meet all FDA and California Article 65 standards and requirements for lead and cadmium release.

  • Bisque (unglazed) ceramic, when scuffed or soiled, may be gently sanded with fine sandpaper and smoothed over with a damp, soft cloth. Because the red clay foot of each piece is unglazed, be sure to dry completely before placing on wood surfaces, as the moisture in the clay can cause damage to wood.

  • Taylor and Piccadilly pottery, when starting at room temperature, can be used in the microwave and oven. It is best to place a dish in a cool oven. Placing cool dishes in a hot oven can cause the glaze to crack over time. Oven temperature should not exceed 375°F. We do not recommend using any pieces that are cracked or chipped. These glazed ceramic pieces are dishwasher safe, but hand-washing and drying with soap and water will extend the life and lustre of the finish.

  • Courtly Check® and any other patterns that have lustre, decals or special embellishments require hand-washing. To preserve the finish, items with lustre, decals or special embellishments should not be used in the freezer, microwave or oven.

  • Knife marks left on majolica plates may be gently removed with Soft Scrub, Bon Ami or other mild abrasive cleaners.

  • Avoid use over or under direct concentrated heat. Do not use on the stovetop or under a broiler.

  • In order to ensure even heating, add a small amount of liquid to the dish before baking foods that release juices while cooking. Do not add cold liquids to hot dishes.

  • Always handle hot dishes with pot holders and avoid placing on cold or wet surfaces.

  • Allow dishes to cool completely before washing. To loosen baked-on food, soak cooled dishes, and use plastic or nylon pads and nonabrasive cleaners when necessary.

  • Empty and dry ceramic garden containers for indoor winter storage. We recommend storing these at 40 degrees or above during the winter.

Enamelware

Enamelware once brought to mind cowboys drinking bitter coffee on the open range, but we’ve turned that idea on its head, making colourful, fun, and richly patterned enamelware part of everyday living—no campfire required.

After developing our first designs in 1995, and unable to find a manufacturer in the U.S., we travelled to Taiwan and found a production company that was able to work with us to see our vision fulfilled, and that’s where our very first pieces were produced. Our designers continue to train the artisans in partner companies in several countries in the complex, colour-dragged hand-painting techniques specific to our enamelware.

Creating enamelware is time-honoured and time-consuming process. The production facilities are modern, but many of the techniques developed by the ancient Egyptians—enamelware has been around for that long—are still in use. Raw steel bodies are machine-milled or hand-formed, glazed, and then kiln fired at temperatures of more than 1,380 degrees Fahrenheit. Each piece is coated again with a coloured frit-based glaze and re-fired.

Courtly Check® and Parchment Check™ designs are hand-painted using coloured frits that fuse to the base coat during firing. Decals used in other patterns are hand-applied after the second glaze firing. These decals fuse to the base coat during the next firing, becoming a permanent layer in the design. Minor surface irregularities are a normal result of metalworking and the hand application of the enamel surface and decoration. After the designs have been applied and fired, a final cover coat is added, and pieces are fired once again to ensure that all enamelware is completely food safe.

Enamelware Care and Use

Please take care with your enamelware—while the surface is strong and durable, it’s not indestructible. Rough handling, banging or dropping a piece may cause the glazed glass surface to chip. As with any enamel product, some scratching and dulling of the surface is likely to occur over time.

Our enamelware exceeds both federal food safety regulations and California’s Proposition 65, the strictest environmental safety standards in the U.S. Handle enamelware with care, and discontinue use for food service if it becomes chipped, cracked, or broken.

  • While most enamelware pieces are dishwasher safe (except those with rattan, wood or knobs), hand-washing and drying will extend the life and lustre of the finish.

  • When washing, use a nonabrasive soap and sponge or nylon pad only. Dry immediately for best results.

  • If marking from silverware should occur, apply a paste of baking soda and water to the area, and rub gently to remove marks. Avoid using sharp knives on enamelware, as they may damage the finish.

  • To remove burnt-on food, use a nylon-covered pad or wooden scraper, or loosen with a solution of baking soda and water.

  • Do not boil tea kettles dry, as this will result in damage to the finish. Boiling the kettle dry may also damage your cooktop.

  • If water is allowed to remain in tea kettles, rusting may occur. To remove rust stains and mineral deposits, fill the kettle with water and add two tablespoons of baking soda and the juice of one half a lemon. Boil for four to five minutes. Rinse and dry.

  • Pieces that do not have rattan, wood, knobs, or other embellishments may be used in an oven, up to a maximum temperature of 400 degrees. Be sure the piece is at room temperature before it is placed in a warm oven.

  • Do not use enamelware in a microwave oven.

  • Wash thoroughly before use.

  • If food surfaces become chipped, discontinue use.

  • Acidic food may dull the surface of the enamel but will not otherwise damage it.

Cookware

MacKenzie-Childs cookware is composed of a heavyweight steel underbody, glazed twice, then hand decorated with our signature designs. Bronzed stainless steel rims are added to both the body and the lid, and 18/10 stainless steel knobs and handles are added to finish each piece. The enamel finish is stain- and chip-resistant.

Cookware Care and Use

  • Our cookware is designed for use on all cooktops including ceramic, gas, electric, induction, and radiant, and is oven-safe to 400 degrees.

  • Glazes and paints used to create MacKenzie-Childs cookware are formulated from ground glass. Please take care during use, as dropping or banging pieces may result in chipping.

  • For best results, use utensils designed for use with non-stick finishes, as metal utensils may leave grey marks on the finish.

  • Do not place an empty pan over a hot burner or allow contents to boil dry.

  • Place pots on the centre of the burner or flame to ensure even heating.

  • Use a potholder or glove when handling hot ware.

  • Allow pots to cool before running under water or refilling.

  • Wash in warm sudsy water with a soft cloth, sponge or nylon pad; rinse well and towel dry. Do not use metal scouring pads, as this will scratch the surface of the enamel.

  • To clean burned-on foods, add water and baking soda; boil and allow to cool before cleaning. If metal marking occurs, it may be removed by rubbing gently with a paste of baking soda and water.

  • Acidic food may dull the surface of the enamel but will not otherwise damage it.

Glassware

Our richly detailed glassware designs and patterns are sure to be the life of the party and can turn ordinary dinners into true celebrations. And why shouldn’t every day be at least a little bit fanciful, festive, and fun? From champagne flutes to sorbet glasses, our designs are inspired by the world around us. We start by looking right outside our studio windows where we see flowering meadows, rolling hills, and sparkling Cayuga Lake. To translate our design imagination into high quality and uniquely MacKenzie-Childs glass, we work with the best production partners in the world.

The warm look and handmade character of recycled green glass used in some of our designs—such as Heirloom, Carolyn, and Tango—led us to source our stemware blanks (the unpainted pieces) in Egypt, renowned for this glass type. Each shape is mouth-blown into a wooden mould, creating lines from the wood grain and small bubbles that accentuate the handmade look of the work. To decorate our glass stemware, we found skilled artisans to produce the look and quality we expected, at a production studio in China. We provide extensive on-site training in glass decoration for these artisans so that they can hand-paint beautiful designs, including Thistle and Flower Market, to our standards.

When we expanded our glass ornament collection, we naturally looked to Eastern Europe, legendary for its skill in the art of mouth-blown, hand-painted glass. Most of our glass ornaments are created to our design specifications in Poland, a country well-known for this craft.

To create the subtle yet spirited Aerial collection, we worked closely with an artisanal studio in Giza, Egypt (in the shadow of the Great Pyramids), where this intricate glass-forming technique has been perfected. The artisans start with hollow glass rods that are flame-heated and (once the glass is malleable) are mouth-blown, twisted, and manipulated to produce each delicately detailed shape. Frills on the stems are bits of glass that are melted on and crimped with a tool while still hot. To create the raised lines, on the stemware bowls and the candle cups, glass rods are melted and then dripped onto the blown glass.

For each type of glass we offer, we have found a production partner who can provide consistent quality and artistry for designs that are distinctly MacKenzie-Childs.

Glassware Care and Use

  • Hand-painted glass should always be washed by hand, with a sponge or soft cloth, mild detergent, and warm (not hot) water.

  • Glass with lustre embellishments (along the rim or elsewhere) should not come into prolonged contact with acidic foods such as lemons.

Rugs 

Sisal Rugs Care and Use

  • Recommended for indoor use only. Avoid direct exposure to sunlight.

  • Vacuum regularly using the vacuum’s brushless attachment to maintain best appearance. For liquid stains, blot with an unbleached clean cotton cloth. For hard-to-remove stains, professional cleaning is suggested.

  • Use of a rug pad is also suggested.

Wool Rugs Care and Use

Your choice of wool carpet from MacKenzie-Childs is an investment in beauty, practicality, and ease of maintenance. Ensure your wool carpet will last longer and look better by following the three basic rules of carpet maintenance:

  • Vacuum regularly.

  • Remove spills immediately.

  • Professionally clean as required (usually no more than once every year or two).

The most important maintenance step is proper vacuuming. Regular and thorough vacuuming at least once a week and more often in heavy traffic areas will remove soil and dirt particles before they become embedded into the pile of the carpet. An upright vacuum cleaner with rotating beater bar and brush, or canister type with a power head, are the most efficient cleaners. The head of the vacuum cleaner should be adjusted so that the brushes barely touch the surface of the carpet. The easiest way to do this is to place a sheet of paper under the vacuum and adjust it until you hear the beater bar hitting the paper. It is important to remember to move the vacuum cleaner slowly to allow time to remove soil, and above all, make sure that the dust bag is never more than half full. Remember that you cannot over-vacuum, and vacuuming should begin the day the carpet is installed.

One of the most crucial areas of carpet maintenance is the removal of spots and spills. Acting quickly when anything is dropped or spilled, and always having the necessary cleaning materials on hand, are of the upmost importance. Steps for successful spot removal:

  • Blot spills with white paper towels or clean absorbent cloth. Scoop solids with a knife or spoon.

  • Pre-test spot-removal materials in an inconspicuous area.

  • Apply cleaning agent to an absorbent towel—not the carpet—and blot.

  • Do not over-wet the carpet.

  • Work inward from the edge of the spot to prevent excessive spreading.

  • Rinse by applying clear, tepid water using a clean cloth. Again, work from the edge to the centre. Do not rub and do not over-wet.

  • Remove excess moisture by applying pressure with paper towels or absorbent cloth.

  • To dry: apply a ½" thick layer of paper towels over the wet areas and weigh them down. Change as the towels become wet. Brush the pile with your fingers to restore the texture after the area has dried.

If you’ve taken care to vacuum your carpet as recommended, you may not need to clean your carpet for several years. However, when the carpet does start to look soiled, we would strongly recommend having it professionally cleaned by the dry foam, dry extraction or spray extraction methods.

Colour fading can occur if exposed to direct sunlight for long periods. Rotate the rug once a year for even wear. Use rug protectors under legs of heavy furniture to avoid flattening piles. Do not pull loose ends; clip with scissors. Use of an antiskid pad is recommended.

Entrance Mats Care and Use

  • To reduce fading, do not place in direct sunlight or expose to water.

  • Shedding is normal during first month of use. During this period, simply brush or shake the mat to maintain its appearance.