Gabriel McKeagney has designed and manufactured a stunning reproduction of a Hearst Castle ceiling. McKeagney hails from big Tempo, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland.
He is the fifth-generation of a family known for its skills in woodwork, blacksmithing, and masonry. Having this same affinity for wood, art and math, it was an intuitive decision for McKeagney to embark on his ancestors' footsteps and become a full-time apprentice as a master woodworker.
His life practice and love of art, aesthetic and design inform his work and further drives his original aesthetic, McKeagney says. He has long loved and understands the language of carving and drives it in his work, making it modern where necessary, but never shying away from an element in 3D or a carving necessary to complete the overall aesthetic.
"I was very influenced by the past and what my ancestors did. I grew up in Northern Ireland in a small village called Tempo," says KcKeagney. "I will be the fifth generation of woodworkers; the biggest thing that I've done here is to embrace the technology that's available to us today as woodworkers."
During his career as a woodworker, McKeagney has worked in his native Ireland, as well as England, New York, and San Francisco. He has been residing in Southern California for over 20 years. Having mastered the art of furniture design and manufacture, McKeagney now likes to build heirloom pieces. In addition to working with traditional hand tools, McKeagney also employs ArtCam software and CNC router technology.
"I believe that if my ancestors had access to the same technology they would use it, too," McKeagney says. "A lot of what is traditionally difficult for woodworkers to do becomes very doable on a CNC machine. As a woodworker I'm able to visualize and project out what I'm going to do in advance of doing it. Then the execution is actually a short part of the entire project because all the work is done on the screen." He has been using Artcam for 10 years.
"As an artist, I can imagine things and see things and visualize what can happen; but then as a businessman, I'm able to make a quick decision whether that's viable or not, and that's very important. I do 5-axis machining on a three-axis machine so I really push the machine to the limit."
McKeagney has used CNC technology for work on high-end homes in California, and also for classic old buildings in London.
"I would reproduce exactly the old historic aesthetic," says MkKeagney, and the software would resolve the complex tool path conflicts that might otherwise ensue.
McKeagney has done many intricate ceiling designs, and in this latest project design based on the famed Hearst Castle ceiling, he says the layout can be adjusted to suit any room's dimensions. It is primed and ready for install. http://www.gabrielmckeagney.com
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