Introducing Patience Brewster by MacKenzie-Childs
October 08, 2018
Artist Patience Brewster is known for creating a wonderful and whimsical world of charming characters that are captured in her handmade and hand-painted ornaments, figures, and other decorative items. Now, we’re thrilled to announce that Patience is joining the MacKenzie-Childs family as a member of our creative team. Patience Brewster by MacKenzie-Childs will add to how we tell our seasonal stories of celebration.
Patience grew up, one of six siblings, in a family known for its wide range of interests, skills, and pursuits. Creativity and imagination were encouraged and nurtured. Her father made furniture and could fix just about anything. Her mother enjoyed painting, sculpturing, and sewing, when she wasn’t golfing, swimming or driving an obstacle course in horse and carriage. Her grandparents took Patience to museums and gave her an appreciation of the fine art of telling a good story.
Patience started drawing almost from the time that she could hold a pencil, and she doesn’t remember a time when she didn’t draw. She studied at Philadelphia College of Art (now the University of the Arts), where she painted, sculpted, and drew nearly every day for four years. That schooling influences her to this day. As a freshman, she took a drawing class that required drawing a skeleton, called Mr. Bones, for weeks, and she credits that study of structure, proportion, and anatomy for giving her creations, which are often imaginary, a lifelike quality. After graduation, Patience worked as a freelance artist, illustrating children’s books and greeting cards. Eventually, she started her own greeting card company and later began to turn her illustrations into figures and ornaments.
Patience’s creations begin as sketches that she draws in a light-filled studio that’s in her historic home in Skaneateles, New York. Inspiration for her work can come from what’s in the room, which is filled, along with the rest of the house, with items that have been passed down through the generations of her family. “Inspiration is always what’s around me,” Patience says. “My children, my pets, my life, nature…all things come into play.”
To turn her drawings into three-dimensional figures and ornaments, Patience works with a team of sculptors, mold makers, and artists. Every step of the process is done by hand. Working from her detailed drawings, sculptors carve the figures from blocks of wood. Then, mold makers use the carvings to create molds and cast the pieces in resin. Finally, after the figure has been removed from the mold and sanded, it is ready for painters to add a medley of colors and patterns. Embellishments of gold leaf, silver leaf, and glitter can also be added, as are attachments and accessories, including cloth, beads or feathers.
“It’s very hands-on,” says Patience. “We have a magical method of making three-dimensional figures look like my drawings, and we’ve been working for 20 years with remarkable people to get it just the way we want it to look. It takes a lot of time, but it’s very satisfying.”
Look at some of Patience’s creations, and you’ll see the loving details. The Patience Brewster Dash Away Sleigh Figure, for example, requires more than 30 hours to complete and looks like it could have been made by Santa’s elves. Entirely hand-painted, it has a tufted seat and includes images of swirling vines, Christmas trees, and a stylish SC monogram (for Santa Claus). Gold leaf highlights the curves of the sleigh and its runners, which are both accented with tiny gold sleigh bells that jingle.
We’re excited for you to discover all of Patience’s lovely creations, beginning with the 12 Days, Nativity, and Dash Away collections. The 12 Days group pays homage to the classic Christmas carol with each creation depicting a different verse from the beloved song, from the partridge in a pear tree to the 12 lords a-leaping. Dash Away, inspired by the classic Christmas poem “’Twas the Night Before Christmas,” features Santa’s eight reindeer ready to take flight around the world, assisted by their delightfully dedicated elves, Santa, and Mrs. Santa. The Nativity collection celebrates the spirit of the season with an ever-expanding group of items telling the story of the first Christmas in a colorful and captivating way.
Patience Brewster by MacKenzie-Childs is an extension of the happy, beautiful things that MacKenzie-Childs has been creating for more than 35 years and the perfect opportunity to enhance your holiday traditions.