Each month in 2014 I will feature a female entrepreneur from Northern Ireland. I find these smart and creative women inspiring and I hope you do to. Last month I featured Interior Designer Jenny Bond and this month it’s Artist Eimear Maguire of Dollybirds Art.
Have you always worked as a full time artist?
No I have worked as a teacher and a community artist also. I still deliver art workshops to a little group of senior citizens one morning a week, during term time. The eldest lady is 95! They are just a dream to work with, lots of laughter, creativity, tea and cream buns. They call me teacher, but I find them very inspiring.
Why do you love drawing birds so much?
I have always loved animals and nature. I loved watching David Attenborough as a child and going out to the country with my dad. He always pointed out all of the little birds on our trips. I now live beside the Cavehill so I see so many different types of birds in the garden and when I am out walking in the mornings. They make me happy and I hope that my paintings make other people happy too. They really are amazing little creatures.
Why the name Dollybirds Art?
‘Dollybird’ was a pet name my sisters had for me so it seemed like the perfect name for my Business. I now get emails from people who don’t know me saying ‘Hello Dollybird’, so its catching on.
You’ve been selling your work in Avoca for over a year now. Where else can people purchase your work?
I love Avoca, it’s the perfect home for my Dollybirds. Their shop is full of beautiful things displayed perfectly. My work is also available from Jam Art Factory in Dublin, Casa Rose Boudoir In Oxford and Kiln and Loom, a lovely little homeware shop recently opened on the Ormeau Road, Belfast. My newest stockist is Ulster Weavers, they are opening a new online shop with locally designed and made products to compliment their textiles. I hope to open an online shop on my website www.dollybirdsart.com very soon.
I am always developing new ideas and I have lots of new things that I want to create and add to the Dollybird collection.
How has your art changed over the years?
My art has changed alot over the years. I remember in art college my canvases were bigger then me. I have always been inspired by nature though and I still remember winning first prize in Primary 2 for my painting,which was a bird funnily enough. I just finished a course in photoshop which has allowed me to develop new Dollybird patterns and opens a world of possibilities.
I expect that my work will continue to change as I am always striving to paint the perfect picture.
Who are the artists you most admire, and why?
I am lucky to come from a creative family, my father is an artist and I learned so much from him over the years. I have always admired him, he makes drawing look so easy. I love many other artists I love the colour and stories behind Frida Kahlos paintings and the vintage bird paintings of John James Audubon.
Do you have a motto that you live by, and if so what is it?
Yes, I love reading positive inspirational quotes. One that I love is ‘ Surround yourself with the dreamers and the doers, the believers and the thinkers, but most of all, surround yourself with those who see greatness within you even when you don’t.’
What’s been your proudest professional moment?
I am so proud to be the first artist to sell their artwork in Avoca. I also love hearing from customers who have bought a Dollybird. Alot of people have an emotional connection to certain birds, so their Dollybird is a reminder of a loved one, or a special time in their life. It is a great feeling to know that something that I created is making someone else happy.
How do you like to unwind?
I love spending time with my two children. We use the play house at the bottom of the garden to watch the birds on the feeder, my 5 and 6 year old can identify so many birds now. I walk the dog every morning which sets me up for the day. I go to Donegal as often as I can, I love being by the sea.