Block Printed Textiles and Paper

Molly Mahon's textile and paper designs fuse influences from 20th century block printers in England with ethnic designs from around the world. Produced in collaboration with highly skilled artisans and block printing artists in Jaipur, Molly’s fabrics, papers and accessories are gaining attention in design circles around the world.

Molly grew up with an artist mother and a father who was most at home in his garden. Colour and nature have been inherent in her life. When she stumbled acorss the art of block printing, all her inspirations and fascinations collided resulting in this creative outlet.  She carves her own designs in lino in her workshop at home in England and works with highly skilled craftsmen in Jaipur who interpret her designs and create the blocks in sisam wood. The process of carving the design by hand whether in lino or wood is unique and distinct to the carver.

Molly prints bespoke orders and all the paper that is used to wrap stationery and lampshades, in her workshop in Sussex.  Her collection bedding, tableware, scarves and a new line of cottons and fabrics are made in India.

Molly’s collaborative approach with expert block printing artists in Jaipur, her fusion of traditional Indian techniques with a Western aesthetic, is one of the defining features of her work. She works closely with two printers – Gitto and Bagru Textiles. Gitto is one of the most respected printers in Jaipur. And Molly has built a wonderful relationship of mutual respect and trust with Vijendra at Bagru Textiles that goes beyond simply the art of block printing. Importantly, with these printers, Molly is able to execute her uniquely pared back designs – often printing with just one block in contrast to the six or seven that a traditional Indian pattern may use.

Molly’s patterned fabrics are created using two techniques. The first is to print directly on to the cloth with the carved block: the printer dips the block into the dye tray and then stamps the block on to the fabric with a heavy thud. The second technique is Dabu printing: the block is dipped into a mud paste made from local clay, wheat flour, gavaar gum and lime. After printing, a layer of sawdust is sprinkled over the fabric to prevent sticking. With both methods, the fabric is then left to sun-dry for several hours before being plunged into the dye vat or washed.

“The stories and heritage of these pieces are as appealing as the product… Using an age old technique to create something contemporary is really exciting.”

Molly Mahon is committed to supporting the future of hand block printing. From each order that she makes with Bagru Textiles, 5% of the profits are put into local community healthcare programmes, including eye care, water filters and water tanks for the print workers’ homes.