Jill & Gill are a creative duo based in Dublin. Made up of Jill Deering (illustrator) and Gillian Henderson (printmaker), the pair operate the fine art, fashion and design brand ‘Jill & Gill’.

Where did you spend lockdown?

We were both separated for the lockdown (the first time in two years where we haven’t had nearly every day together!). Gill was in her family home in Beaumont and Jill was with her housemate in Dundrum.

Did you have access to a studio during this time? If not, how did you continue to create work?

We did have a very small amount of access to the studio, we decided to only make one trip a week to fulfill orders that were coming through via online sales. We took this time to focus on the business, what typically happens is we are working in the business, so having this time away from the studio, each other, and the creative environment we’ve built for ourselves meant we had to make changes early on. It was hard but we adapted and with time we each found the simple ways we could still be creative at home but running the business became the priority. At the end of the day, we are creatives through and through, that’s the easy part and we will always find a way to be creative. 

Did you experiment with any new materials or methodologies?

For us, during this time it was all about getting back to the basic fundamentals of both our skill sets. Jill was happily drawing away and Gill doing simple mono-printing in the garden shed. Building up this work was a bonus, there was zero rush in creating also, it gave us both time to enjoy it all on a therapeutic level again, whether it had a purpose or not, it was for the enjoyment of it. As we mentioned, we spent this time considering the business from an outside perspective, looking at where we were and are now headed, our goals, our finances like all businesses, but as creatives, these are usually pushed to the bottom of the to-do list. The simple reason why we both started Jill & Gill was the experiment, revisiting the reasons why we work so well together and taking time to enjoy being creative for our own pleasure.

Given the limitations and restrictions of the last few months, did your art making process change at all?  If so, do you think this will continue to change how you will make art going forward? 

We began to see our own individual creative interests grow during the lockdown. As much as we missed working together in a physical capacity during the lockdown, what the lockdown made us do was create for ourselves, not Jill & Gill, not to be a commercial product or to create a show. There’s something there that both of us have spoken about in recent weeks but also in the past, having the time to be creative without a purpose can be rewarding but also a necessity. As individuals, we need to explore our own skills, evolve, and try new things because it will only strengthen the Jill & Gill brand and each other. We will be consciously pursuing solo creative work more for sure but it will always find its way back into the Jill & Gill side of things.  

Did you have any projects during this time?

We didn’t really have any projections during the Covid lockdown. Like most, we really didn’t know what to be doing to be honest. We couldn’t get to the studio to work and we noticed that not being able to create there, together, was a huge void for both of us – our best work and ideas are when we are in the studio and we can get messy and stay long hours… pretty much getting lost in our own creative bubble. It was this feeling of not knowing what to do but wanting to do something that sparked the coloring book, we just decided we wanted to share our illustrations, again we weren’t in a position to create new work but also we financially couldn’t do that so we used what we already had, all our ‘Boss Lady’ illustrations. We completely underestimated its popularity and the amazing engagement we got from those who downloaded it and coloured it in. We felt if we can help give someone ten minutes of relaxation while they coloured we have done something to help. Putting the colouring book out there, gave us calmness and a new connection with our those who follow us on social media.

The Jill & Gill Colouring Book

We currently are now about to undergo a big new project post-Covid lockdown! Our studio move! Exciting times ahead and also a feeling of achievement to be starting in a new studio space, after all, that’s happened over the past 4 months. So fingers crossed and a load more hard work ahead! 

Do you have any upcoming projects?

We are hopefully going to release a childrenswear collection of apparel with an Irish kids clothing company before the end of the summer and this new studio move will make way for some exciting internal projects too. 

We are currently partnering with the Cari Foundation on the pre-order release of our ‘Mary Robinson, Boundless Radical’ print. Raising awareness and funds for this charity has been the center of our attention for the last few weeks and is running until July 22nd.

‘Boundless Radical: Mary’, Archival Pigment Print, A2

All photographs were provided by Jill & Gill. To see more of their work visit their website and Instagram.