Mommy Blog Expert: Marie Ricci Collection Brings Made-in-USA Handmade Decor Elegance to Home, Work & Public Spaces

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Marie Ricci Collection Brings Made-in-USA Handmade Decor Elegance to Home, Work & Public Spaces


Artful Design




Marie Ricci Collection $125 Giveaway - Details at end of post
 
In recent decades there’s been an influx of mass-produced major brand home and workplace décor items.  This includes products at every price point -- low to high -- that are largely being imported into the U.S. from China and other countries.  So, when one comes across the rare and talented artist who not only designs but also still handcrafts each decorative item herself right here in America, it’s worth taking note.

The Marie Ricci Collection, a boutique company founded in 2000 and based in Essex, Connecticut, is one of the finest examples yet that appears to be bucking the trend to bring affordable, American-made art for family homes and other spaces back to our shores.

In her New England studio, Marie Ricci has successfully translated her skills in the ancient art of wood carving into a contemporary business that draws heavily on historical references for inspiration.   This artist’s beautiful and unique work -- wall medallions, chandelier medallions, and an array of other specialty decor accessories -- is suited to a wide range of decorating possibilities.

The Marie Ricci Collection encompasses everything from family-friendly home and garden décor to interior accessories for baby nurseries, children’s bedrooms and play spaces to architectural enhancement pieces perfect for historic renovations, offices, country clubs, restaurants, and public places such as churches and outdoor parks.

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For this MommyBlogExpert review, I chose the elegant Marie Ricci Collection Teacups Wall Clock that retails for $175.  Pictured here is the clock I received, custom-made for me in the olive green distressed finish style.

This design, Marie recalls, was inspired while she was having tea with a friend in a local Tampa, Florida tea room several years ago. "From thought and design through carving the original master," she says, "I spent five days creating the piece's concept."

The result of this creative  process produced the tea cup design mold.  This was followed by pouring an acrylic mixture into the mold to duplicate the original image.  The last step was to paint the fanciful teacups clock case to match my kitchen's decor and the install the clock face onto the piece.  This wonderful and functional art object is now hanging at the entrance to my favorite room in our house -- demonstrating that Marie Ricci's clocks are decoratively versatile, and definitely not limited just to use in a baby or child's room.

Much like the Teacups Wall Clock, each piece is made to order from start to finish by Marie, beginning with the creation of the original from composite foam material using the traditional wood carving skills she acquired as a sign carver.  Next, she fabricates the mold followed by casting the item from various materials.  The final process is to hand-paint each product either in a solid or distressed finish using a choice of one of 18 designer colors.  As an added service, custom colors can be mixed upon request to match walls and ceilings precisely.  In most cases, product is shipped within 14 days of order.

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When the Marie Ricci clock arrived, I was amazed at first glance not only to see how well it was packed for mailing, but also that it was much larger than I had imagined with its 6" clock face and measuring 18 by 18 inches from top to bottom and side to side.

What I found most impressive of all, though, was how much the design and texture of the surface actually looked and felt like antique carved wood.  This is most remarkable, considering that Marie's wood carving techniques are artfully executed yet wood itself isn't involved in any part of the process from mold to final product.

 
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Marie Ricci (Rt) with me  on set at The Martha Stewart Show in New York
Dreamers Into Doers Conference Hosted by Martha Stewart Omnimedia, January 2011

Consisting of dozens of original designs by Marie -- ranging from teacups, bunnies, and floral motifs to elements such as dragonflies, geometrics, and decorative capital letters, to decidedly more masculine patterns such as stars, ships, and baseball -- The Marie Ricci Collection’s line has something suited to every room.  Traditional or contemporary, there's something for just about any decorating project in search of some panache.

Marie Ricci's ceiling and chandelier medallions are well-suited to private homes, offices, commercial spaces, and other private and public places with designs representing the full gamut of intricate designs with a Victorian influence to patterns that lean more toward the more modern.  Products in Ricci's specialty line for babies and children feature such sugar-coated surprises as kid-sized chandeliers, wall clocks, mirrors, Marie's distinctive wall letter initials, picture frames, and coat peg racks.


The artist – sought-after by celebrities and the DIY sector as well as by professional decorators for her nursery décor – counts Nancy O’Dell, Aonika Laurent Thomas, and Lisa Pagano among her more well-known residential clients.  On the commercial side, there's also designer Wendy Bellissimo who chose Marie Ricci’s letter plaque for a nursery for The Oprah Winfrey Show and HGTV which featured a similar element on one of their decorating shows.  Ricci's work is also frequently in the national media spotlight, having been featured in Redbook, Baby, Sunset, and People magazines, among other print and electronic media outlets.

In addition to orders from her immense existing collection, the professional wood carver also accepts commissions for one-of-a-kind installations.  Past projects include the custom garden plaque pictured at left, specially designed for the Lindsay E. Duhaine Memorial Music Foundation in Berlin, CT in memory of a 21 year-old who tragically lost her life in a car accident, and the 42" custom ceiling medallion she created for the historic St. John's Episcopal Church in Essex, CT that was founded in 1776.

The Marie Ricci Collection is available for purchase retail by the public beginning at $80 with a discount to the trade direct from MarieRicci.com ; shipping is free within the continental U.S.  Additionally, the entire line may be ordered from Bellini Stores, Little Peeps, and Rosenberry Rooms.

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Marie Ricci Collection Ceiling/Wall Medallion 

FTC Disclosure:  The Marie Ricci Collection provided the Teacups Wall Clock to facilitate this review.  However, MommyBlogExpert did not receive any payment or other compensation directly associated with this post.  See complete FTC Disclosure information that appears at the bottom of MommyBlogExpert's main page and at the bottom of every individual post on this blog, including this one.

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