Let’s talk about the tradition of wood block printing. Each step- the dyeing of the fabric, the carving of the wood block, and the actual stamping- is an art form by itself. It’s also such a collaborative process, with so many people coming together to create one finished, beautiful product. Traditionally, block printing involved bright colors and much overlay of patterns. But it is the simpler, more elegant designs that hold wider, contemporary appeal. Repeating motifs in soothing colors like pale green, sky blue and pretty pinks translate easily into a variety of products (fabric, wallpaper, pillows, lamp shades etc.) and interior settings.
For today’s edition of the Textile Journal, I want to share with you the work of artist and designer Molly Mahon of UK-based Molly Mahon Block Printing. Molly grew up in a creative family and brought her love for nature and its colors to the art of block printing. Molly designs the motifs and carves them in lino at her home in the English countryside. She then works with block printing artisans in the Indian city of Jaipur, who carve the wooden blocks and print them onto fabric. Molly also does her own printing in her studio on paper products.
Having grown up surrounded by block printed textiles, I am always amazed at how each designer brings their unique perspective to the process. This results in a new interpretation every single time. Be it in the choice of background color, or lack thereof, and the intricacy, size, color and sheer variety of motifs, one is limited by only our imagination, and the mood can so easily change from vivid drama to dreamy and playful.
Molly’s designs are a fusion of Eastern and Western influences, and lend themselves to both boho, and more classic interiors. The lively, modern patterns are a great fit for any part of the home, whether you want to introduce patterns in small doses such as on a lampshade, or you choose a wallpaper to cover an entire room. I am more partial to a boho, eclectic and layered interior, and I am thinking of a living room or a study- wallpaper is the Fern Sage, lamps in the Green flower print, lots of books on the table and artfully piled on the floor, a quilt (maybe the Burchetts) on the small sofa and a window overlooking the old apple tree in the garden. You get the feeling… You just need a cup of tea, and hear the kids giggling outside!
Visit the Molly Mahon website to browse the entire collection!
Image credits: 1) Studio OUATT; 2) 2,3, 4, 6 and 7 courtesy of Molly Mahon.com.