Set up by British designer Jacinta Walton, Whinberry & Antler design and produce unique fabrics and homewares by hand in rural England. Incorporating a passion for traditional skills by using hand printing methods, and taking inspiration from British wildlife and countryside, Whinberry & Antler hope to bring a beautiful token of the countryside into your home.

Please have a look around the blog and follow us to see how Whinberry & Antler products are made, with step by step photographs demonstrating the traditional skills used on the 'Behind the Scenes' page, as well as other information and updates about the company.

For more information please see the company website www.WhinberryAntler.com or email info@WhinberryAntler.com

Behind the scenes at Whinberry & Antler

Everything about Whinberry & Antler is hand made. We also try to use only products and materials produced here in Britain. 

The process starts with an etch. All Whinberry & Antler images are hand drawn onto traditional etching plates. This is a method of printing dates back many years, it's that lovely traditional style of illustration  found in old childrens story books.  This involves using a steel or copper plate, which is heated up and then a hard wax is rolled out thinly over one surface and then left to cool. Once cooled an image is then drawn or scratched, into the wax (not really any room for mistakes there, which is why I practise drawing the subject a lot first!) as shown below. When the drawing is complete, the plate is then put into a bath of acid, which corrodes areas of the plate where the wax has been scratched away, this is called 'biting' the plate. After this the wax is then removed with turpentine. You are now ready to print!

To print the etch plate, an oil based ink is gently applied onto the plate and gently wiped away until the only ink remaining is in the areas of your drawing. This is the very messy part (it takes a while to wash all the ink off your hands- you can tell when it's been a day of etching). Once the plate is inked up it is then placed on the bed of an etch press (a bit like an old mangle). A piece of paper which has been soaked in water and then blotted to remove excess water, is then placed on top of the plate before putting it through the rollers of the press.

I love etch printing, it is a very hands on form of printing which produces beautifully fine detailed images. Below is a photograph of one of the original Whinberry & Antler etches. You'll see it is a lot more textured than the final screen print.

The etched print is then turned into a silk screen print, so that it can be printed onto fabrics.
To do this, the etch print is scanned onto a computer and turned into a digital image. At this point repeat pattern designs can be made. Once this is done, the image is printed onto tracing paper ready to be put onto a silk screen.

A silk screen is a wooden or metal frame with silk stretched very tightly across it. To put the image onto the silk, a stencil is created. To do this we use photo-sensitive emulsion. This is an emulsion which reacts to UV light. It comes in a liquid form (it looks like blue paint) and a thin layer of it is spread over the silk and left to dry in the dark. When dry, the printed image on tracing paper is laid over the screen and a piece of glass laid over the top, to keep the tracing paper nice and flat against the screen. The screen is then exposed to light. At Whinberry & Antler we use three lamps, each with a 250 watt bulb, suspended above the silk screen. The emulsion which is exposed to the light hardens, but the emulsion that isn't (where the image is) does not, and so when you have finished exposing the screen you can wash it and the unexposed areas will wash away, leaving you with a stencil which can be used time and time again. The stencil can be used as many times as you like, until you decide to 'de-coat' your screen with a special chemical.

To print the silkscreen image, the screen is placed onto a silkscreen table and locked into place so it will not move. A textile screen printing ink is then put onto the inside of screen and then pulled across the image using a squeegee (a rubber blade in a wooden or metal handle). And so the final print is complete. This is a much faster form of printing to etching, and it is very versatile.

Below are some photographs of me printing on my silk screen table- which was tailor made for me by hand by my partner Finn Walton- just before he disappeared off to the Antarctic for the winter.

And that's how the fabrics and prints are created at Whinberry & Antler.
I hope you found it interesting.