These past months have been, how shall I say, shit. The gloom of covid and the general despair in January has been hard for even the brightest optimist to weather. Thankfully, Molly Mahon, block print extraordinaire, has released her incredibly beautiful & incredibly cheering new collection - Greencombe. So I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to ask her some, nosy, and hopefully interesting questions.
First off do you have a favourite design from the new collection?
I think I might choose the Tulip. I love the combination of it being a very simple pattern as well as depicting the joyful cheer of a tulip which in turn denotes hope, passion, and deep love! There are lots of different colourways with this design too which I am looking forward to mixing and matching on cushions for my sofa.
How long does it take to create a collection like this?
This has been spread over a few years, from playing with sketches and ideas to consolidating the chosen designs, then having them carved into wooden blocks in India and sampling all the different colourways, different base cloths at the print table. Then the agony part of editing some designs and colourways, oh how I find this so hard. We then bring back lengths of those that made it through so that we can photograph them, this time in a friend’s utterly stunning house in the countryside. Then once all this is done and we have made it to the press in time, we go into production. But this does not happen overnight. These fabrics are printed 20cm block by 20cm block, layering up each colour one at a time. Block printing is an ancient craft; we still apply the exact same principles that have been used for hundreds of years. It is a labour of deep love and I am so grateful for the passionate printers of Rajasthan for enabling me to choose a handcrafted finish.
Do you think having to spend the time at home in the country has been helpful, perhaps a silver lining of this whole Covid mess?
It has sadly seen me cancel a large number of exciting events, but I am really getting into the rhythm of it now. I am not so nervous of zoom, I am enjoying a more simple peaceful daytime existence without all the tearing around the country I was doing, the children are grasping their home ed, we are walking further across the forest than we have ever walked before and I do believe that I am much more organised and calm without the frenetic life that I existed in before-covid. It’s a mixed bag! One silver lining has been the advent of potato printing and the meeting (virtually) of so many crafters and block print fans, that has been very positive and given me great faith in my craft.
If you had to choose a fabric from another brand, do you have a favourite?
YES - one day, I hope to own some curtains printed in Le Manach 'Palmyre'- it’s been a fav of mine for many years and the little sample hangs temptingly beside my desk!
Once Covid restrictions have lifted what are you looking forward to doing?
Going to a party! And up to Scotland again. As its Friday, what will you do to help start your weekend with a bang!?
We bathe, dress up, make drinks (fizzy ones for the children, pale ale for Rollo, wine for me), we fill bowls with crisps and virtually meet with friends or family. It’s a lovely moment to check in, catch up and have a giggle and definitely gets us in the weekend mood.