British designer Molly Mahon is known for her original hand block fabrics, wallpapers and luxury accessories for the home.
Inspired by her natural surroundings, both at home and on her travels in India, Molly works with artisan craft men and women to produce the signature prints that form her eclectic and vibrant home furnishings collection.
Tucked away in her studio situated in the beautiful Ashdown Forest in Sussex, Molly takes some time out to talk to us about her love for East Asian textiles, potato printing and what the future holds for this well loved brand.
Your hand-blocked printing, along with a bold use of colour, ensure your design are instantly recognisable, what is it about block printing that made you stick to this traditional way of working?
I love the instant gratification of lifting the block. I love seeing a repeat pattern growing along the print table and I love the versatility of where the designs can be used-through cushions, curtains, lampshades, into fashion and bedding etc! I am very passionate about the hand printed look and the freedom that is created by using this method. There is no doubt that a hand block printed piece of fabric carries the passion and story of each printer. The beauty lies in the simplicity of the process that in India has remained unchanged for hundreds of years.
Many of your fabrics are produced in Jaipur by highly skilled crafts men and women, how did this come about? And how has India influenced your designs?
I first fell in love with block printing when I took a course in London and I was immediately hooked. I then planned a big trip to India with my sister and from the moment when I stepped off the plane into the warm dusty air and then out into the bustling streets, I felt like I had fallen into a romantic novel! The noises, the colours, the energy, so different to home and so enthralling, exotic and appealing. What was a one off trip has become a bi-annual pilgrimage that hugely excites. The architecture, the patterns, the colour, all of these wonderfully uplifting elements of India can be seen more and more in my work.
What is your favourite room in your home?
My Kitchen. It’s where the vast majority of our day happens. Life at the kitchen table sweeps like a tide, one minute its covered in ephemera for breakfast then its cleared for some creativity or home work space, before the tide sweeps in again and supper is laid... it’s the beating heart of the kitchen surrounded by soft spaces for lounging, our beloved Everhot cooker, the dresser with all my favourite crockery, the dog bed, the sink, pots and pots of geraniums and so forth. So much happens here, it has to therefore be my favourite space.
Who are your design heroes/influences?
There are rather a few, but I could name Cath Kidston for being so successful with her business and for creating something so universally loved. Vanessa Bell for her creative freedom and expressive way of house decoration and the block printers of Jaipur for their dedication and passion for their craft.
We just love your designs and I’m sure like us, you couldn’t possibly pick a favourite, but is there a design that has a special significance to you?
It is very hard to pick just one, but at the moment is it possibly my Marigold design. We launched it as a fabric in 2018 and have developed it into a wallpaper which will be available from September. The Marigold flower symbolises passion and creativity and are one of my most favourite flowers!
You’ve had a couple of incredibly busy years, what can we expect next from the Molly Mahon brand?
Well obviously things have changed a little over the past few months, but I am probably most excited about launching my new fabric collection ‘Garden’ next February. It is a hand block printed collection of glorious floral and abstract designs and I can’t wait to share it with our clients and my friends.
We've seen your fantastic potato printing tutorials, encouraging people to try a new activity whilst they are at home! I’m sure you have been very busy but is there a new skill you’ve learnt recently or would like to learn?
I bought a marbling kit at the beginning of lock down and am slowly becoming rather addicted to all the swirling colours and amazing patterns that can be achieved.
If you weren’t designing fabrics and homeware, what job do you think you would be doing?
Running someones expansive estate in Scotland!
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