We are very happy to present John Mahoney in this installment of 5 Questions. We love his work with Belgian linen, and are happy to get a peek into what inspires his designs. John’s canvas is life, and his work centers on the home. As part of his mission to bring beauty and joy to our living environments, he founded John Mahoney Designs Inc. in 2002 to produce outstanding works of functional, decorative art.
Trained as a fine artist, John designs wallpaper, rug, and textile collections that offer a specific point of view infused with a love of pattern and color. Underpinning John’s elegantly simple designs are complex tales based on his deep knowledge of Japanese art and literature.
His work is in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art and has been featured by the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, as well as National Public Radio, The New York Times Style Magazine, and the New Yorker Magazine.
In addition to countless custom residential and commercial projects, John has also designed collections for Zoffany and Tai Ping. He has just realized a collection of Japanese-style robes and home accessories that are printed and sewn in the USA using his own textile designs.
Is there a design era or design esthetic that you’re drawn to?
All of my designs for my Print & Sew USA collection are inspired by vintage kimono stencils, and as a result, our logo for this collection is is a kimono silhouette. During the Edo period in Japan, sumptuary laws limited colors used for kimono to two, and this had the unintended effect of pushing designers to create incredibly sophisticated patterns using a very limited palette. The creativity and ingenuity in many of these designs is as fresh and modern today as they were two hundred years ago.
Where are some of your favorite places to gain inspiration?
I recently took a six-week trip to Japan, which never ceases to inspire me. Not just the art and the design, but the whole culture of Japan fills me with new insights. There’s an elegant utility that pervades every aspect of life for the Japanese; it really resonates with me, personally and professionally.
What are some of the challenges you’ve come across working with Belgian linen?
I love printing on unbleached linen, but because it is left in its natural state, the hue can vary greatly, depending on the season, batch and harvest. This makes it tricky to predict coloration and dye saturation, but I’ve come to accept that that’s just the nature of unbleached linen and to design accordingly.
What is your “dream” product, or product line?
I would love to dig into the Libeco archive and re-issue some great patterns from the history of Belgian linen. There is a such a rich tradition of home linens at Libeco that I feel is ready to be re-interpreted for a modern audience.
Do you have a favorite designer who inspires you? Why?
Christopher Dresser is a personal design icon, because his best works perfectly balance the functional and artistic. He really created modern design in so many ways. I also admire his business acumen and versatility as a designer.
Follow this link, for more information about John Mahoney Designs.
The Belgian Linentm Shield represents the hundreds of years of artisan workmanship in creating the finest linen in the world. When you see this Belgian Linentm symbol, you can rest assured that you are buying quality unsurpassed. Look for it when shopping for linen products.