Magill Woodcraft – A Natural Progression 2020

I was born in 1995, and have been lucky enough to grow up in the beautiful countryside of Belclare, Tuam, Co. Galway. I had a great childhood, which involved a mixture of world travel, education, and practical experience. Having creative, hands-on, and self-employed parents has truly been a blessing, and has always given me that drive to be different, and independent.

With my mother’s main occupation being a commercial artist and father’s a film set carpenter, I have been able to watch and learn so many important skills, not to mention all of the creative opportunities I have had. Some include; experience in the film industry from a young age, helping construct St. Patrick’s Day parade floats, learning how to sign-write and paint murals, and many more.

Although I attended an English speaking primary school, it didn’t take me long to become fluent in Irish when I started my secondary level education at Coláiste an EachrĂ©idh, Athenry. I may have been reluctant to begin with, but by the time I completed my leaving certificate, I couldn’t be more grateful. Attending a small school suited me very well. Not only did I develop as a person, but I also became more aware and proud of our Irish heritage. I especially enjoyed the more practical and creative subjects at school such as art and woodwork. History and Irish also fascinated me and can certainly be attributed to the design of my products today.

At this stage I was already thinking of how I could make some extra income off my creations. I utilised techniques I had learned such as print-making, and began producing artworks that I could sell directly from market stalls. You could say that these were the early days of my entrepreneurial journey.

Thanks to the persuasion of my Dad, I also started working as a stage-hand in the Welsh film industry around this time. Working for 4 Wood T.V and Film Construction enabled me to work for a couple of months every summer and gradually build up my set-construction skills as the years went by.

All of this experience could not have come at a better time as I went on to study Furniture Design and Manufacture at GMIT Letterfrack. This proved to be the perfect course for me as I learned my trade and developed skills I wasn’t even fully aware of. I had not realised there were so many different sectors in the furniture industry. From knowing what areas I didn’t want to go into, I was able to define the route I intended to take. This included setting up my own business as a bespoke furniture maker and woodturner-artist. I took to woodturning during the second year of this course, and made the decision to purchase my first lathe. I have never looked back and have learned the true value of investing in my business. By the end of my course I came to the conclusion that I had an eye for design, like no other, and continued to develop my brand.

Spending the last 5 months of my course on work placement at GMIT CCAM (Centre for Creative Arts and Media) was a fantastic experience. This enabled me to attend a mixture of film and art classes, which opened up yet another door of inspiration. Working with like minded students increased my confidence as an artist, and furthered my creative skills. It also gave me the chance to go through the process of exhibiting my work to the public for the first time.

Since graduating in 2017 I have been heavily prototyping and testing the market. Making hundreds of products has narrowed down my most popular; my hand-turned ‘Aontaithe le Grá (United with Love) Traditional Irish Wedding Goblets’. These have proven to be particularly popular with the American market, especially those who have connections to/ or are of Irish decent. I have been improving this product little by little over the last couple of years which has brought to where I am today.

I have always strived for quality craftsmanship, authenticity, and innovation. The market response to this has proven that there is a sufficient demand for my work. My true vision for the future of my business is to provide a joyful experience for each and every customer, whilst keeping Irish culture alive through my products.

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