‘If you ever see one of us with a whiskey, you need to slap it out of our hand’

In conversation: Jill Deering and Gillian Henderson aka Jill&Gill

Jill and Gill: “We’re only a two-year-old business and everything we’ve set out to achieve, it’s gone that little bit higher. We are artists, but we’re commercial as well.”

Jill and Gill: “We’re only a two-year-old business and everything we’ve set out to achieve, it’s gone that little bit higher. We are artists, but we’re commercial as well.”

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When were you in most physical pain?

Gill: It feels like I’m getting carpal tunnel and repetitive strain injury up my right hand. Everyone thinks screen-printing is just using your wrists, but you’re pushing down and you can just feel it in your core, all the way into the back of my neck.
Jill: We probably should have done stretches in the morning.
Gill: It’s chiropractor time!
Jill: I got repetitive strain injury from playing the SPD [an electronic drum pad, Deering is also in James Vincent McMorrow’s band]. I’d be giving it socks, but it’s a wooden stick on a hard plastic surface. Then I’m like, ‘why do I have shooting pains up my arm?’ I had to ice it after shows.

What’s your favourite book?

Jill: I just finished reading Alice In Wonderland. It’s my girlfriend’s favourite book and she gave me a special edition. I read it when I was a kid, but you see it in such a different light when you re-read it now.
Gill: Right now, Iris Apfel, Accidental Icon.

When did you last cry?

Gill: When I dropped my girlfriend back to the airport.
Jill: I cried last night over something so silly. I put a wash on two days ago and I completely forgot about it, and I was like [crying], ‘I’m going to have to put it on again. Jesus Christ!’

What is your death row meal?

Jill: That’s easy for me! Spaghetti bolognese. I eat it all the time.
Gill: All the time.
Jill: If I’m on the road and we go into a restaurant, the lads just go ‘we know what Jill’s getting’. That’s my favourite meal! I live on it.
Gill: I’d go for sushi, but flown in from Tokyo.
Jill: Well posh.
Gill: And also a big massive donut. I’m allergic to wheat, so if I’m going to die anyway, I’d have everything.

Can you guess what the other person’s go-to drink is?

Gill: Gin
Jill: Gin
Gill: If you ever see one of us with a whiskey, you need to slap it out of our hand.
Jill: That’s when it’s gone too far.

For what do you owe a parent or family member?

Jill: I wasn’t exactly the easiest teenager. I went into myself in my late teenage years. My parents are very patient, very encouraging, very supportive. I owe them a lot when I was trying to figure things out over 10 years, what the hell I wanted to do.
Gill: I owe my mum a sense of creativity. It’s kind of ironic, because we recently launched a window in Brown Thomas, and when I was born, my mum was the head window-dresser for Switzers. I owe my dad that thing when if someone tells you ‘no’, you do it anyway, that determinedness.

What subject do you wish you studied more in school?

Jill: A language. First of all, Irish, I feel ashamed I don’t know enough Irish.
Gill: I wish I had done German. Now, looking at where I’d like to be experiencing life, it’s Germany, Berlin.

What artist do you feel very connected to right now?

Gill: When we were conceiving our latest project, we were looking at Tom French.
Jill: He’s an incredible painter.
Gill: We look at contemporary dance and movement too. Heather Hansen creates amazing artwork with her toes and fingers, moving on the paper using charcoal. In terms of designers, Craig & Karl work together but in two different locations.
Jill: They both realised one was more creative in New York and one was more creative in London.
Gill: The way that they work together and not in the same time zone, it’s how we’ve worked sometimes for the last 18 months, because there were times Jill was in Australia and I’d be in Dublin.

What destination do you most like to visit?

Gill: Tokyo. I’m in awe of that place. The culture, their society, everything.
Jill: I do love Australia. The banter, which is very similar to Irish banter, and it’s such a healthy way of living, it seems stress-free, it’s quite therapeutic over there.

Do you have a motto or mantra when things get tough?

Gill: If the shit hits the fan, just talk about it when it starts. A problem shared is a problem halved. It can be very easy to leave it that little bit too long, and then it feels like this huge problem.
Jill: Professionally, we’ve always said that if we have doubt we won’t do something, but if we’re scared, we will. People stop themselves from a lot of things in life due to fear.

What would you most like to achieve this year?

Gill: Making Jill&Gill in a business sense more of a day-to-day job, rather than working from project to project and fitting it in amongst our other work.
Jill: I feel the same. We’ve seen such growth. We’re only a two-year-old business and everything we’ve set out to achieve, it’s gone that little bit higher. We are artists, but we’re commercial as well. It was a huge platform to work with Brown Thomas. I’d love to keep achieving in this way over the next while.

  • Jill&Gill is a creative studio and design company; jillandgill.com
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