Directorio Deco by Gloria Gonzalez

In Conversation

In Conversation: Molly Mahon

Molly Mahon’s bold and cheerful block printed fabrics, wallpapers and homewares are inspired by nature, her travels to India and her daily life in Sussex.

On today’s conversation, we get to know the work and life of a modern print maker.

In conversation: Molly Mahon
Molly Mahon

 

Dear Molly, first of all, I would like to know when did your love affair with block printing started?
Staring through the windows of an amazing fabric shop in Barnes, London where I was living and had my first child, so was often out pushing a pram. A feast for the eyes of fabrics all hand bock printed here in the UK. This led me to the shop owners block printing workshop set in the idyllic Sussex countryside and from that moment on I have been block printing obsessive.

I grew up in a very artistic environment where my mother was always making or doing something creative at the kitchen table. Therefore I feel very at home when I am at the table printing, in a nostalgic homely sort of way!

In Conversation: Molly Mahon

 

What did you find the most difficult part when starting your business? And the most rewarding?
My business has really grown organically so there isn’t a start date as such. At first it was my happy creative outlet which caught the eyes of friends. Slowly it grew to me printing for people outside of my circle, this was when I realised there was a business here.

Finding the people to work with and help me grow was hard, it took a lot of meetings and time and research. But, now I work with some wonderful people and have grown some very special relationships, in the UK and India. This is extremely rewarding as they also understand and want to make our products a thing of beauty.

The business is also my life, I am very passionate about what I do, so take everything personally! So if something goes wrong I really feel it, but when it goes right and when I see a pleased new client my heart sings and I realise that what I do is completely worth it.

In Convesation: Molly Mahon

 

Has Social Media changed your business model in any way?
YES – I think I have a lot to thank for Instagram. It’s the only social media channel that I use. I adore it, so simple and so visual – the perfect app for our product. It has enabled a very small kitchen table business with a small cash flow (so little expenditure on advertising/PR etc) to be seen all over the globe. I am certain that many of our orders have come off the back of my posts. I have also made many business connections through Instagram. It’s a really happy, positive, inspiring community.

In Conversation: Molly Mahon
Molly Mahon’s s Instagram @mollymahonblockprinting is full of inspiration

 

Favourite English interior.
The has to be Charleston farmhouse. Heavily embellished with colour, pattern and fabrics and set in the South Downs, down the road from us, Charleston has been a big influence on me and my designs. It concretes in my mind that ‘more is more’ and that colour and pattern makes for a very happy feeling home.

Charleston House (Sussex) Source: Charleston Trust. Penélope Fewster photography

 

A colour you would never be tired of.
Pink, in all its shades. Pink seems to be one of the hardest colours to mix, so we are delighted that we have some really lovely pinks in our collections.

In Conversation: Molly Mahon

 

Do you have any tips for mixing different prints in the same room?
Firstly, dont be scared to do it. If you like how it looks then thats good. A home should be made by very personal decisions, not by someone elses rule book. Start with one item, maybe a lampshade and add slowly…cushions, wallpaper then a new sofa cover perhaps…Mix up the scales, dont worry about colours, do what feels right to you.

In Conversation: Molly Mahon

 

When creating a new design, what part of the process do you enjoy the most?
I carry ideas around in my head, so I am in heaven when I find the time to sit down and pour them out on to paper. Once I have got the motif as I want it there is nothing more thrilling than carving the block and seeing how it looks in repeat. I am very impatient and work quite quickly. I can feel immediately if its going to work on fabric/wallpaper or whether it goes in the box of ‘needs more work’. Once I have the design I look at it and can imagine what sort of colours it should be printed in, its fascinating how colour can change the look of a design. I get very excited when I lift the block for the first time. A newly printed design that has been a success in my mind really is a thing of joy to me.

In Conversation: Molly Mahon

Thank you so much Molly!

For more information visit: http://www.mollymahon.com

Images courtesy of Molly Mahon unless otherwise stated.

In Conversation: Vladimir Kanevsky

Vladimir Kanevsky creates porcelain flowers that have become an “objet du désir” for many. His sculptures are delicate, beautiful and easy to love: who wouldn’t like a bouquet of flowers that lasts forever?

Howard Slatkin , the late Oscar de la Renta, Carolyne Roehm or Deeda Blair are among his clientele and he is preparing an upcoming exhibition at the Hermitage Museum.  On today’s conversation, we are getting to know this fascinating artist.

Dear Vladimir, I’m a big fan of your sculptures. Who or what is your greatest influence?
Probably not from the field of flower making but most definitely real flowers, early 18th century porcelain and architecture. Sometimes even modern sculpture. For example on a recent excellent Picasso sculpture show in MoMA I noticed how he deals with something that I’d call gesture, freedom of gesture. I am trying to achieve it. This is a universal idea and genre does not matter.

 

You were an architect in USSR; when you arrived in America, you answered an ad for a ceramic maker—what prompted you to answer the ad? Was ceramic something that had ever interested you growing up?

Yes, it was an ad from the decorator Howard Slatkin. I needed some temporary work and asked a friend of mine to call and make an appointment. I started to experiment with very primitive ceramics back in Russia, but not with porcelain. There is a huge difference. After meeting Howard I had a month to buy simple equipment and learn porcelain making. I am still learning.

 

What was the first object you sculpted on porcelain?
I started with porcelain melons and papier-mâché cabbages of all things. Very primitive flowers started almost a year later. Eventually I developed a library of techniques and concepts.
I had to develop different techniques for almost every new flower. It is easy to see how different are for instance Lily of the Valley and Rose, Foxglove and Hollyhock, Lilac and Morning Glory. Some of them were rather simple, but some needed literally years to develop.


What are the steps you follow to create a new sculpture?
First I study the real thing, sometimes on my backyard. Then I photograph and scan the plant in my computer. I have a huge database of flowers and old botanical drawings. I also ‘sketch’ in real porcelain and real metal. When you sculpt, all sketches mean nothing until you touch the clay, stone  or metal and your hands start feeling the material. I (with help of my assistants) usually make a lot of flowers of a certain kind and put them away. Recently we rebuilt our studio. It is right in our house which is very convenient for my wife and me. We both work 10 – 12 hours a day.

 

Vladimir Kanevky’s studio

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Carolyne Roehm

 

Thank you so much Vladimir!

Images: Vladimir Kanevsky unless otherwise specifically stated.

For more information visit http://www.thevladimircollection.com/

 

In Conversation: Carlos Garcia

In today’s conversation I’m discovering a bit more about Carlos Garcia, a talented Spanish interior decorator based in London and Norfolk.

Dear Carlos, I absolutely adore your interiors. What are your biggest sources of inspiration?

Eastern cultures with their vibrant colours and profusion of patterns, and English country houses; not necessarily the grandest, but those unsung heroes that still survive seemingly untouched by interior designers, those houses in which “generational layering” conforms the backbone of its decoration.

 

What is the latest home accessory you have bought?

A set of three 17th century Delftware vases and a 19th century Djizak suzani.

 

Favourite London store?

The new Robert Kime showroom in Ebury Street. It’s exquisitely packed with beautiful antiques and the most wonderful selection of fabrics. I adore using Robert Kime fabrics, they provide that lived in look so intrinsically associated to English country house living.

Robert Kime’s new London showroom. Source: Robert Kime

 

You’ve been working as an interior designer for more than 10 years. What’s the best advice you could give to someone who’s trying to start their career in the interior design field?

It’s important to choose the right “practice based” academic formation as well as gaining ‘hands on’ knowledge and building a reliable network of suppliers and trusted craftsmen.

 

Favourite Spanish interior.

So many to choose from! When visiting the family in Madrid, I often go to the Palacio Cerralbo, the rather unknown 19th century residence of the Marques de Cerralbo, keen collector and archeologist. The interiors are eclectic, lush, full of antiques, art, exquisite fabrics, a gloriously grand ballroom and a fascinating Arabic Room which reflects the influence of Eastern cultures in the West during the 19th century.

The Arabic Room. Museo Cerralbo. Source: Unknown

 

I’ve been following you on Instagram for a while and I love all the “every day” peeks into your beautiful homes. What do you like the most about this Social Media platform?

IG is a fascinating world. It offers designers an opportunity to showcase their work and style to a large audience. It’s also a way to connect with craftsmen, artists and like-minded designers.  I try very hard to keep it personal; I’m terribly grateful to those who take some of their valuable time to make comments on my pictures and try to answer those comments as much as I can. Incidentally, I have been on IG for a few years now and have made very good friends too!

 

A colour you would never be tired of.

Mustard yellow and that very stunning shade of green on the “Green Velvet Bedchamber” at Houghton Hall -‘Houghton green’, as I call it.

The Green Bedchamber at Houghton Hall. Source-Houghton Hall: Portrait of an English Country House (David Cholmondeley and Andrew Moore, Derry Moore photography).

 

Thank you so much, Carlos!

For more information visit: http://www.carlosgarciainteriors.com

Images: Carlos García Interiors unless otherwise specifically stated.