Christmas tablescape ideas: Q&A with textile designer Molly Mahon

The holiday season is almost upon us. So who better to have a chat with than British printmaker and textile designer Molly Mahon?

Molly Mahon creates cheerful hand-block printed wallpapers and homewares, and today, she brings you her fun Christmas tablescape ideas…

Molly Mahon in her studio
Meet Molly Mahon, British printmaker and textile designer. Photography: Sarah Weal.

Molly, how did you discover your passion for block printing?

I stumbled upon block print in my twenties when I found myself at home with my first two children after having previously run a successful events company in London. I wove my way through various evening classes – from book illustration and pottery to life drawing and beyond – until I found print. It became something of a passion project for me and I haven’t looked back since.

Christmas tablescaping ideas
Christmas tablescape featuring Table cloth with frill bows in Burgundy Rose, £125, by Molly Mahon. Photography: Will Heap.

Where do you look for inspiration?

I see pattern and colour everywhere, and this visual inspiration is what forms the basis of my designs. There are thousands of natural shapes that can be instantly translated into block-print designs. I soon realised I didn’t need to draw an exact replica of the leaf or flower we had collected. Instead, I took the outline – the simple feeling of the shape – and reimagined it to the point that it was still recognisable but teetered on the edge of becoming a geometric design. This, I believe, is why nature and block printing are so naturally aligned. Everything found in nature can be drawn in its simplest form to become a print.

Molly’s top tips for festive tablescapes…

What are your top tips for setting a Christmas tablescape?

I am a big believer in celebration tables, beautifully dressed in colourful linens. So, where better to display my passion for block printing than across the tablecloth itself? A bright cloth that picks out the colours of my curtains and lampshades, topped off with a joyful hand-block printed runner, lots of colourful flowers and bright candles creates a wonderfully cheerful celebration. The finishing touch to our Christmas table is the hand-printed paper chains that my children and I make together, we string it over the table, and it really makes the occasion for me.

Patterned and colourful cushions, fabrics and linens
Cushions, fabrics and linens from a selection at Molly Mahon. Photography: Alun Callender.

Do you have a favourite Christmas decorating theme?

I’m more likely to be drawn to certain colour combinations and patterns, and then I just go for it and don’t hold back. This Christmas, I’m playing with a carved bow block that will be printed onto wrapping paper but I’m also thinking about decorating the tree and fireplace with huge, over-the-top paper bows.

How do you get into the Christmas spirit at home?

I buy rolls and rolls of inexpensive recycled brown paper and the children and I go to town printing our own bunting, paper chains and wrapping paper. I’m a big believer in ‘the more, the merrier’ and presents wrapped in stunning hand block-printed gift wrap look even more pleasing when grouped together under the tree. There is also nothing more heartfelt than a piece of hand-printed wrap – giving someone a present wrapped in a piece of paper you’ve made makes it special before they’ve even opened it.

blue Christmas tablescape
Stars block-printed cotton fabric in Light Indigo, £138 per m, and napkins in Chaturanga fabric in Red, £12 each. Photography: Will Heap.

Enjoyed this post? Click here for more Christmas table setting ideas

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