Find out more about the award-winning printmakers Jando Design and its creators, the husband and wife team of Julie and Owen McLoughlin …
Since launching, your collections have evolved naturally to include London and New York landmarks and other special collaborations. What have been some of the highlights so far …
Jando really began as a passion project when we started planning our wedding in New York City. We couldn’t find wedding stationery that reflected our personalities and that led us to create our own. We realised that we worked so well together that we just kept going and haven’t looked back since. Last year we were invited to take part in NY NOW, the largest wholesale trade show in North America and we jumped at the chance to take Jando back to where it was born. Luckily we had already been hard at work on a special New York series of prints. Building on an already successful aesthetic, our new Chrysler Building, New Yorker Hotel and Williamsburg Bridge pieces are characterised by our attention to detail and application of colour. The reaction to the new pieces was amazing and we were nominated for a “Best New Product” award which was a huge recognition of how far we had come as a printmaking studio in such a short period of time. We’ve also been lucky enough to collaborate with some amazing homegrown brands such as Jameson, Trinity College Dublin and The Kilkenny Shop on several projects where they gave us full creative control and trusted us and our aesthetic with their respective brands.
Owen has always adored Battersea Power Station, London so when they asked to collaborate with us on an original series of screen prints we jumped at the chance. There was a waiting list for the prints before the visitor center even opened and they then asked us to expand the collaboration to include tote bags and tea towels. That was an amazing project to work on.
Tell us about your new collection …
Our new halftone collection features both the Ladies & Gents Bull Island Bathing Shelters, Dublin City Hall, and our new interpretation of the Ha’penny Bridge. For anyone who does not know, halftones give the appearance of multiple shades while only using a single layer of colour, this helps give the images a lot more depth. We had friends who got married at City Hall a while back and this gave us the perfect opportunity to create truly something special for them as a wedding gift. The building is steeped in both character and history but is also the perfect venue for a wedding or civil ceremony and we had hoped our contemporary print reflected that. I had initially intended for it to be a one off print but our friends loved it so much that they suggested we release this print into the wild so anyone could have it in their home.
We pass by the Bull Island Bathing Shelters almost every weekend during the summer and every time it sparks great conversation about their architect, Herbert Simms. It’s astonishing how almost 85 years on the shelters are still in use today just as their architect had intended, providing sanctuary for swimmers to change in privacy. Simms was responsible for the construction of 17,000 dwellings during his time as a Housing Architect working for Dublin Corporation. His work was not simply just about housing but was about fostering communities. We have no idea how he managed to find the time to design a series of structures along the Bull Wall promenade/Clontarf area which included the iconic Bull Island Bathing Shelters. A staggering achievement.
What are your best sellers?
Liberty Moon is always incredibly popular and there isn’t a week that goes by that we don’t ship one of these prints to some far flung part of the world that we’d never expect to ship to in a million years. I still find it bizarre that something I made entirely for myself has resonated with so many people on so many different levels all around the world. It’s really an amazing feeling. Also, The Poolbeg Chimneys, Ha’penny Bridge and O’Connell Street pieces from our original Landmark Collection are the first prints we ever created and they continue to be as popular today.
How and where do you work?
We work from two private studios in Dublin. Studio One in based in Smithfield, Dublin 7. This is where we do all of our sketching, illustration and day-to-day running of the business. Studio Two is located in The Chocolate Factory, Dublin 1. This is where we do all of our screen printing. It’s filled with light and is such a fun space to work and experiment in. It can get pretty messy at times but that’s all part of the process. Nothing happens in either studio without music, it really helps to get the creative juices flowing. No two days are ever the same. We’re equally at home working in a digital realm as we are screen printing in our paint splattered overalls.
The creation of a new piece always begins with a doodle or a sketch of some kind. I’ll start sketching and drawing in my notebook or on my iPad Pro using a series of photographs as a reference point. Once we’ve got a composition that grabs us we will then illustrate the piece making further changes along the way until we are happy with the final design. We’ll then figure out the colour combinations we think will work best in the piece, before separating the artwork and finally exposing the individual screens. Once the screens have been exposed we can finally start screen printing the final design. It’s a long process from start to finish but the experimentation is so much fun.
Do you work on bespoke commissions – if so how long does this process take?
We do as much commission work as we possibly can. Once we meet with the client and get a sense their requirements, the process can take anywhere from several weeks to a few months depending on the complexity of the piece. Right now we are fully booked up until May 2020 which is great.
NEED TO KNOW: Jando will be at “Gifted – The Contemporary Craft & Design Fair” in the RDS from today until December 8, their prints are also sold at Kilkenny Shop, Nassau Street; www.jandodesign.com.