Canstar Community News - ONLINE EDITION

Claiming his heritage through art

  • Print
Artist Connor MaGee will be displaying and selling his work at the Ireland-Irish pavilion (290 Dubuc St.) at Folklorama this week.

JORDAN THOMPSON Enlarge Image

Artist Connor MaGee will be displaying and selling his work at the Ireland-Irish pavilion (290 Dubuc St.) at Folklorama this week. Photo Store

Burning wood into complex Celtic designs is more than just a hobby for Connor MaGee — it’s a link to his Irish heritage that also provides him with a therapeutic outlet he can’t find anywhere else.

MaGee uses a soldering gun to burn traditional Celtic designs onto wooden objects such as walking sticks, tables and boxes.

MaGee will be displaying and selling his work at the Ireland-Irish pavilion at Holy Cross Gym (290 Dubuc St.) during the second week of Folklorama. Prices for different pieces vary, but generally fall between the $40 to $60 range.

His initial interest in his Irish heritage was sparked through the influence of his Irish grandfather while he was growing up.

"He always taught me the Irish history, our family background, things like the stories of Michael Collins. And I’ve always been fascinated with my family background," says MaGee.

But he didn’t become interested in the Celtic design aspect of his heritage until many years later.

Initially, MaGee’s grandfather, who has long since passed on, taught him about
traditional Celtic design during a trip to Ireland together. At the time, MaGee wasn’t overly interested.

Years later, though, the idea of doing art that connected him to his Irish past surfaced when he took up studio space at Artbeat Studio in the Exchange District.

Artbeat Studio is a place that provides workspace, artistic mentorship and emotional support for up to nine artists living with mental illness. MaGee was struggling with depression, and in 2007, was pointed towards Artbeat Studio by a local nun.

Although he started out drawing, he soon began experimenting with wood burning, and creating the signature twists and knots of traditional Celtic artwork. As he gained in skill and confidence with his woodburning, he began doing custom design pieces.

For MaGee, no single piece of his work is more important or meaningful than another. But that doesn’t mean he isn’t especially proud of where some of his creations have ended up.

His biggest achievement, he says, is sending a walking stick to the First Minister of Scotland. The First Minister of Scotland is the political leader of the country, and the head of the Scottish government.

"It felt pretty cool. I got a thank-you letter from the Scottish government," he says. "I never thought I’d pull anything like that off, and I’d always wanted to get (my work) into Scotland."

MaGee’s grandfather died before he could see the creative way his grandson has claimed his Celtic heritage as his own. But MaGee knows what his grandfather would think.

"He’d be quite fascinated," he says.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

Readers' Choice Awards

Best Of Winnipeg Readers Survey

See the results of the 2014 Canstar Community News Best of Winnipeg Readers' Survey.

View Results

This Just In Twitter bird

Poll

The forecast says we're going to get a blast of warm weather, but we all know what's coming. Are you ready?

View Results