I’m forever displaying and merchandising stuff; my gaff is a testament to that – loads of useless objects decorating every surface and gathering dust.
Another beneficiary of the organic growth syndrome is Dublin-based jewellery brand, And If I Was Yours. With its quirky independent tone and brash statements, upon a moment’s encounter with its designer, Jenny Cassin, you are assured that you are in the presence of a true creative. Sans the self-proclamation.
“I’ve always just been a maker,” begins Jenny in no uncertain and totally unassuming terms. “I’m forever making things”, she continues. “I even used to pretend I had my own ‘make and do’ TV show when I was a kid, an aspiring Mary Fitzgerald.” Jenny laughs, but as a visual display artist and designer, there’s no joke on her, nor on her childhood aspirations.
Speaking on her work now while taking it back slightly, Jenny recalls: “I started out working on the floor in Brown Thomas. That was after I studied Fine Art in D.I.T and realised that I wasn’t going to have a career as a full-time artist.
“I eventually got a job in the display team and discovered that I was really suited to it. It combined my love of fashion with my skills for making things look good. I’m forever displaying and merchandising stuff; my gaff is a testament to that – loads of useless objects decorating every surface and gathering dust.”
Useless is one way to look at it, but Jenny’s skill as part of the Brown Thomas visual display team did not go unnoticed, and the team were often approached for freelance work. “I was lucky that people came to me at first. It made it seem like a natural enough progression when I left to pursue freelance display work.” Jenny started her company, Display Is What We Do, a solo venture on occasion and sometimes with other fellow creatives. Festival goers may not know it, but if they’ve strolled through Electric Picnic or Body and Soul over the last few years, they’ve been surrounded by Jenny’s creations.
From display to decadence of silver and copper makings, Jenny started selling And If I Was Yours at various Christmas markets in Dublin. “I just started making custom necklaces and badges stamped with Dublin slang. It went down a treat that Christmas and since then I’ve kept it up.”
Explaining the colourful collection further, she says: “I love colloquialisms and slang and slagging, and sure isn’t Dublin a fruitful inspiration, especially my neck of the woods. It’s good craic doing the markets and meeting your customers. They are always giving you new sayings and words. Though some of them are just too rude to put on jewellery.” Jenny laughs before adding, “But I will happily do a commissioned piece for someone with a proper filthy tongue.”
Words: Sinead O’Reilly