Summer Market Time

July 22nd, 2015 Posted by Uncategorized No Comment yet

Early summer is always a quieter time for W&A, so I have been taking full advantage of this to get lots of drawing done so that we can have some nice new products ready in time for Christmas. I have also been working on a new logo for a local cafe in Stroud – Woodruffs, the first fully organic cafe in the UK (http://www.woodruffsorganiccafe.co.uk/) It has been really enjoyable designing a logo for such a lovely cafe. Holly, the manager, asked me to incorporate an owl into the logo as Woodruffs also provide the catering for events and weddings at a beautiful country estate called Owlpen Manor; so I used a tawny owl and the herb sweet woodruff as my inspiration for the logo, what do you think?!

Woodruffs Organic Cafe & Catering

I am just waiting on a new screen being delivered now so that I can start printing some new aprons and tea towels for them. It’s always pretty exciting to start printing new designs!

Aside from the logo work I have been creating some new designs for the piped cushion range. These sold really well at shows so I’m very much looking forward to adding to the collection and getting them up on the website soon. Designs will include the hare and badger, and also (after MANY requests) this little guy….

Otter design

August will be a busy month for W&A – I am delighted to be able to confirm that we will be back at the fantastic Frome Independent Market on Sunday 2nd August (http://www.thefromeindependent.org.uk/). I absolutely love Frome and this market, so it will be great to be back and see lots of familiar faces. If you’re thinking about inexpensive things to do during the summer holidays I’d highly recommend coming along to this market, there will be music and free activities to get involved in, as well as lots of lovely stalls to peruse and some tasty food to eat!

After this we will be heading up to my home county of Shropshire for the Shrewsbury Flower Show (http://shrewsburyflowershow.org.uk/). I’m looking forward to returning back to Shrewsbury with Whinberry & Antler, I’m sure that we will see lots of familiar faces and meet some lovely new customers! Shrewsbury Flower Show is renowned for its beautiful flower displays as well as providing a great range of food and gifts. You will find us in the Home and Gifts Marquee, so be sure to come along and say hi if you can! The show opens on Friday 14th and closes on Saturday 15th with a fantastic fireworks show. My father in law is even driving the Major of Shrewsbury into the show to open it in the family Rolls Royce – so watch out for that too!

So we have a busy month lined up – I’ll be sure to add photos of our summer adventures to our Facebook (www.facebook.com/pages/Whinberry-Antler) and Instagram pages. Have a lovely summer everyone!

W&A.

 

 

 

Walking & Drawing… & throwing a ball.

April 16th, 2015 Posted by Uncategorized No Comment yet

Over the past week or so I have been really focusing on doing plenty of drawing. The whole reason for Whinberry & Antler came about because I love drawing animals, I always have and always will. However, sometimes I am so busy printing and making everything that finding the time to draw can slip away… But not this week! So, here are some of my recent drawings. You’ll see that I’ve had a little adventure into drawing some farm life as well as wildlife – I hope you like them!Stag Drawing Robin Drawing Collie and Lamb drawing Mid-sketch horse Horse at the Gate drawing   I’d like to say a really big thank you to everyone who has given feedback on Facebook and Instagram, it really means a lot!

I’ve also been out and about exploring the local countryside. The sun has been shining and the days are now feeling much longer, so I thought that I’d share a few photos from todays dog wander as I’m finding our new local landscape very inspiring. Walking in the Stroud valley is very nice, lots of hills and woodland – even spotting the odd Roe deer – I’d highly recommend a visit.

All set and ready for dog walks around Stroud My favourite styleMy favourite stile!

Spring Blossom Dandelion field Cotswold gateOnly a brief one this time, but thanks for reading. I’ll leave you with one very happy dog and his ball…

Dog and Ball!W&A.

A new home for W&A.

April 1st, 2015 Posted by Uncategorized No Comment yet

The fresh signs of spring have arrived and it’s been all go here at Whinberry & Antler. At the end of February we packed up our home and the studio and moved from Somerset up to the hilly Stroud valley in Gloucestershire. We were sad to say farewell to Nunney, but are now very excited to discover more about Stroud and it’s creative community. Moving home and a business at the same time was not easy, but with the lovely help of family and friends we managed to get it all done in one week. Our new home even has a purpose built studio in the garden, so now I actually have a journey to work in the morning!

Photo 01-04-2015 11 29 21 With lovely views out over open fields and lots of nice countryside for dog walks, I think that we shall be happy here for a long time to come. We even managed to spot a herd of deer whilst sat in bed drinking a Sunday morning cup of tea!

There wasn’t much time to settle in before I headed off to London for the Country Living Spring Fair 2015. It was great to be back at the show, I really enjoyed building and decorating the stand. Although I must say that at one point I was surrounded by many many cushions…

Cushions cushions cushions!

Meeting customers both old and new is the highlight of shows and fairs. Chatting with people from all over the country (and world!), I even met one of my very first customers from when I exhibited at the Country Living Spring Fair in 2012 (my first show ever) who came by to say hi and that she still really loves her custom made purple ribbon badger cushion. So much has happened in three years! I must say a big thank you to Natalie from Natajaq  (www.natajaq.co.uk) for once again letting me take some of her beautiful handmade lamp bases, they certainly attracted a lot of attention.

Country Living Spring 2015

I also met some other small business creatives, such as Rachel from Misty & Boo (mistyandboo.tictail.com). Her fun and colourful designs are screen printed onto fabrics to make very cute items for little ones!

Misty & Boo

I have had quite a few enquiries over the past week since the show from other designer makers who are thinking of taking a stand at a future Country Living Fair. My advice would be to visit first if you can (although I must say that I didn’t!) But if you can imagine your products being in the magazine, then it could be really great for you. There seemed to be a lot more original designer makers there this year than there have been in the past, which is fantastic. It is a great opportunity to get your brand and products out there, plus you’ll get great feedback from all the different people and traders that you’ll meet!

Well, I’d better travel back up the garden to carry on with some screen printing! I’ve set tomorrow aside to get drawing and being creative, I’d quite like to get into painting again, something that I haven’t really done since I was at college. And we’ll be back at the wonderful Frome Independent Market this Sunday for our first Frome market of the year, so if you’re in the area I can guarantee that it’ll be a great way to spend your Easter Sunday!

For now I’ll leave you with a quick little painting that I did a few weeks ago… not quite British wildlife, but I do love a polar bear. See you soon!

 W&A.

Polar Bear

Back to the making.

January 16th, 2015 Posted by Uncategorized No Comment yet

After a couple of months of spending days at Christmas markets and wrapping orders the time has come to get back to making. This week I have been in the print room printing tea towels. Tea towels were very popular over Christmas so quite a few designs had sold out or were running very low… not anymore! I’ve changed the ink that I use too. Whilst at university we always used Daler Rowney acrylic ink for screen printing, so I naturally carried on using this when I started making Whinberry & Antler products. It’s nice enough to use, and particularly good if you’re printing onto both paper and textiles, as you mix either a medium for paper or medium for textiles into the acrylic ink (colour pigment). After quite a few chats with other screen printers though, I have had the Permaset Aqua range recommended to me many times, especially as I print exclusively onto textiles… so I’ve given it a go.

Permaset Aqua Ink Photo 16-01-2015 12 28 38

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These inks are really nice to use; they are a bit runnier and don’t seem to dry on the screen as much (always the danger when screen printing with water based inks as this will cause the silk screen mesh to get blocked… which isn’t good.) They are also really environmentally friendly so I’ll be sticking with Permaset from now on.

So, seeing as tea towel stock was running pretty low, I got started with printing some wandering hedgehogs for the first printing session of 2015!

Screen Printing Hedgehog Tea TowelsScreen Printing Hedgehog Tea Towels

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Country Homes & Interiors Blog photo

 

Country Homes & Interiors Magazine got in touch recently to do a quick Q&A about the making processes here at Whinberry & Antler. The interview is now available to read on their blog. I must say a really big thank you to Tara King from the magazine for getting in touch and to the magazine for sharing it on Facebook and Twitter, it’s been lovely to read peoples comments and see their likes (3.5K so far!). Just click on the image to the left to take a look at the interview…

Well, I’d better get on with some printing (Hares are next), but thank you for reading. If there is anything that you would like to ask or hear about here on the blog, please do get in touch – info@whinberryantler.com, it’s always nice to hear from people!

Have a lovely weekend, W&A.

 

 

How fast a year goes by.

January 6th, 2015 Posted by Uncategorized No Comment yet

So here we are in 2015, Happy New Year!

How fast a year goes by. At the end of each year I like to take a bit of time just to cast my mind back over whats happened over the past twelve months. Whinberry & Antler reached the end of its third year back in November, and what a busy twelve months it was! It’s easy to forget how things have moved forwards and changed which is why I think it’s important just to remind ourselves sometimes of what we’ve achieved. And so here’s a look at some of the highlights for W&A in 2014…

The year started when I attended workshops set up by the Frome Independent Market organisers, which meant that 2014 was the year that I started to make a lot of good friends and connections in my local town of Frome. Frome is such a hub of creativity, so meeting like minded people who go through the same experiences and emotions as other self employed designers was fantastic. I then went on to set up Makers Meet (@makers_meet), so that we could all get together once a month to offer each other help, advice and support.

Makers Meet

2014 also saw many new product lines added to the Whinberry & Antler collection. After finding the right supplier and manufacturer, the W&A ceramics collection was created with the beautifully shaped cream tankard mugs. The mugs sold incredibly well over the Christmas season which was brilliant, so a big thank you to everyone who bought one! I shall definitely be adding to this range in 2015. I also printed a collection of bedding, all of which is manufactured within the UK. These also sold very well, but as each set consists of 10 individual prints they are a little time consuming to make hence why they are not always in stock.

with teapot

bedside-table1

Fox Greetings Card

stag badger

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2014 also saw the arrival of the napkin and greetings card collections. After finding a small company that manufactures and prints cards in the UK using FSC rated card, I thought that it was worth giving them a go! They did well, so I’d better hurry up and order some more….

The year came to a very busy end from late October through to Christmas. We kicked off with our first time exhibiting at The Spirit of Christmas Show at Olympia in Kensington, London. We had a great time using our new stand design to showcase new products and meet lots of lovely new customers. My husband Finn came along to help me again, a slight change from his day job of restoring vintage cars!

Whinberry & Antler at The Spirit of Christmas, London, 2014. Finn and a customer at The Spirit of Christmas Fair

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the end on November we went up to do the Country Living Harrogate Show for the very first time too. My mum came along to help and we really enjoyed being in Harrogate, it is such a lovely part of the country. As a child I spent quite a bit of time up in North Yorkshire visiting my grandparents in Robin Hoods Bay, so having the chance to revisit North Yorkshire was great. Showcasing Whinberry & Antler into a new area of the UK was brilliant.

With the end of 2014 comes the fresh feeling of a new year with lots of potential and possibilities for W&A. I already have a few ideas of what may be ahead for the next twelve months, but for the near future we’ll be back in London at the end of March for the Country Living Spring Fair (18th-22nd March) so there’s lots to be getting on with!

Christmas time on the Stiperstones

A Christmas walk in the snow up the Stiperstones, home to the Whinberry!

So a really big thank you to everyone who helped make 2014 a great year for Whinberry & Antler, it wouldn’t have been possible without the support of all my family, friends and customers! I hope that 2015 is a great year for you all!

Liberty London – The British Design Open call 2014

September 1st, 2014 Posted by Uncategorized No Comment yet

Well I had a very busy day on Saturday. A couple of months ago I discovered that Liberty London was putting a call out for British based designers to register for another of its open call events. The Open Call is a fantastic opportunity for up and coming designers to try and get their work into Britain’s most iconic design focused department store. Whilst at university studying Fine Art much of my work was influenced and inspired by William Morris, so I have always been very aware and interested in the history and brand that is Liberty London.

I had been unsure initially as to whether or not I should apply to register for the Open Call, but I quickly realised that I should not let my nerves get the better of me. I believe in my product and growing a business often means having to take a leap of faith and plunge into the unknown – if I don’t try I won’t succeed! So I filled in the registration form, included a few images of W&A products and clicked send (there was no going back now).

A few days later I got a confirmation email to say that my registration had been successful and that I was invited to come to Liberty with a few samples of W&A products!

The British Design Open Call 2014 - Liberty London

The end of August quickly came around and as it did the weight and importance of this opportunity dawned on me more and more. Each business is allowed to take along up to four samples of their work so I needed to carefully consider these. In the end I decided to take a £32 Badger & Hedgehog cushion, a Hare Lampshade, a Stag Tea Towel and one of the new W&A Fox mugs; this collection demonstrated the range of Whinberry & Antler designs and products nicely. I also did some research into the home ware products and designers Liberty currently stock, taking into account the price points for these. I also looked into some blog posts from other businesses that had attended previous open calls and found a couple of brilliant youtube videos. All this meant that I felt more prepared with what to expect and questions that I might get asked – I would highly recommend doing the same thing to anyone else who may be thinking about going in the future.

A short video about the Open Call, definitely worth a watch – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5LJGFNTwDA0

So I made my way to London on Friday afternoon to be able to join the queue nice and early on Saturday. There are no pre booked appointments, you are seen on a first come first serve basis. At 8:15am I arrived at Liberty and joined the back of the queue, which already wrapped its way around two sides of the building!

Arriving at Liberty London

Doors for the British Design Open Call 2014 opened at 8:30am and the first entrants were seen at 9am. Each pitch was limited to only 4 minutes, so the queue quickly began to move along and we made our way past the front and down the side of the building. I was feeling pretty nervous when I first arrived at Liberty, but quickly made friends with the people queueing with me which was nice and a great way to pass the time. Luckily the sun was shining on Saturday, but I would recommend taking a brolly and wearing smart, but comfortable shoes, as you will be stood up for a long time. It’s also worth taking a bottle of water as it gets pretty warm inside.

Liberty London Open Call 2014 Liberty London Open Call 2014

Eventually we made our way into the building itself! (Another wave of nerves kicked in at this point, I was one step closer to the all important 4 minute pitch!) Slowly and gradually the queue made its way up the beautiful old wooden stairwell. It was really interesting to see the products other people had brought along, at one point a gentleman came back down the stairs, having done his pitch, with a French Bulldog modelling his range of pet clothing! There really was such an interesting and eclectic range of products – there are a lot of very talented creatives in this country.

British Design Open Call (image courtesy of twitter @LibertyLondon)

Upon reaching the top floor at about 11:30am I wrote my name down on a sheet of paper, took a seat, and waited to be called into the next room to make my pitch. To say that I was very nervous by this point would be an understatement! But again, I chatted with the other designers around me and soon the nerves settled. I think that it is very natural to get nervous in this kind of situation, but I just reminded myself that I would do the best I could and to enjoy the experience more than anything else! All the Liberty staff were very lovely and chatty, helping to make everyone feel a little more at ease. A TV crew were there filming and interviewing different people, so it will be very interesting to watch the documentary when it is shown on channel 4.

British Design Open Call (image courtesy of twitter @LibertyLondon)

After about an hour of waiting my name was called and I got up to go through to make my pitch! I went into the next room and sat at a table with a lady called Andrea and a gentleman called Simon. They were both really friendly, so whilst I was nervous to begin with, they quickly put me at ease and I relaxed into the pitch. I talked them through my designs and how the items are made. They asked questions about production times, costs, care instructions and sales. Having prepared for these questions before hand meant that I was able to answer quickly and confidently. We had a nice chat about the designs and they gave me some really useful feedback. At the end of the pitch Andrea said that she was interested and asked if I could leave her some contact details. I handed over my trade product guide which had been bound and included thumbnail product images, a Dandelion Hedgehog fabric sample and one of my leaflets; I think that they were both pleased that I had more than just a business card to leave with them.  And so I shook their hands, thanked them for their time and left.

As I made my way back down the stairs and through the door out of the building I felt so elated! All those nerves in the 5 hours of queueing had turned into a very positive feeling and I was so happy to have taken that gamble and push myself outside of my comfort zone! It would be fantastic to supply Liberty London, and it is great that they offer the opportunity for designers to come and get their products seen. Whatever the eventual outcome may be, I am so so pleased that I went and cannot recommend it enough to any other designer makers. Like I said before, if you don’t try, you won’t succeed!

And so thank you once again to Liberty London and all the staff who helped on Saturday. And thank you to the judges for being kind and friendly. It really was a brilliant day and will go down as a milestone moment in the history of Whinberry & Antler.

W&A.

Christmas in July sunshine

July 10th, 2014 Posted by Christmas, fox, July, print, screen, Whinberry antler No Comment yet

The sun may be shining and the flowers in full bloom, but as anyone who works in the retail world will tell you, Christmas is officially now on the radar!


It’s taken a couple of years of learning to understand just how early in the year that attention needs to turn towards the big day in December, but this year I am feeling pretty organised and prepared (famous last words!). At the start of each week I use a weekly planner to write down all the jobs that I need to do on different days – I find this is a great tool for staying efficient and productive. So this week I decided to print off a planner for every week leading right up until The Spirit of Christmas Fair at the start of November! 

It may be 17 weeks (and counting) away, but it’s really helped. I can now easily work out exactly what I need to order (blank tea towels, cushion pads, leaflets etc) and when. I’d highly recommend doing this to anyone preparing for a big event, especially as they always seem to come around much faster than anticipated! 

And so it’s all go to build up stock levels here at W&A over the next few months. Having only traded at one major Christmas show in the past, we’re going to need more than twice the amount of stock to do two!! I must say, that I am a little nervous about doing both The Spirit of Christmas and the Country Living Christmas Fair in Harrogate, but I am confident that we will have a fantastic time at both shows and W&A’s best Christmas season yet!

Anyway, that’s enough of the big ‘C’ word in July for now…

It will be a very busy weekend here at Whinberry & Antler on the 2nd and 3rd of August: we are trading at the Nunney Street Fayre (in our village!) on the Saturday, and then back at the Frome Independent on the Sunday. Be sure to come along to one, if not both, of these great markets if you can!
And so, in prep for these two markets, today I have been printing some more fox tea towels… 


‘Bish, Bash, Bosh!’

W&A.

Sunshine, drawings and a lamb.

June 17th, 2014 Posted by Uncategorized No Comment yet

Everything has been all go since we returned home from our wedding and honeymoon! We had such a lovely and special day – the sun even managed to come out despite the forecasted rain! 
Here we are getting confetti thrown at us! such a fun day with lots of great memories.
Donald the lamb – our guest of honour! He was being hand reared by a relative so he came along to join in on the celebrations!

After the honeymoon I definitely came home feeling refreshed and ready to crack on with W&A. I started by adding more designs to the new mug collection, which are now all available from http://new.whinberryantler.com/product-category/homeware/ceramics/. You will also see that Whinberry & Antler Greetings Cards are available to buy too. These are blank for your own special message and printed onto FSC rated card by a British company. Finding the right supplier for these was a little tricky, but I got there in the end.

Creative Thursdays have also been very productive recently. If you follow W&A on Facebook or instagram (http://instagram.com/whinberryantler) you will have had a sneak peek at the drawings I have done. The hare in particular has had a great response, so a really big thank you to everyone for your likes and feedback – it is always so lovely and motivating to get such positive comments and certainly one of my favourite parts of the job.

Really looking forward to getting these onto a screen to get creating!

Whilst I am writing about instagram, I recently came across Benjamin Hole. If you do not know him already, he posts the most beautiful photos of working life on his farm and I would highly recommend taking a look – http://instagram.com/benjaminhole. The website for the farm is also beautifully designed and very inspiring – www.holeandsons.com

Country Living Magazine have just launched their very own general store this week. Similar to notonthehighstreet.com, this is a great place to find unique and high quality gifts and lifestyle products. And I am delighted to say that Whinberry & Antler is one of the featured sellers this week – so thank you very much to them for featuring us! http://www.countryliving.co.uk/homes-interiors/interiors/country-living-general-store , it’s well worth a look.

Well, I had better get back on with some work – I have a couple of shop orders to sort out, including one for Simon King Wildlife who will be taking W&A products to Bird Fair this August – a great show for anyone who likes wildlife!

W&A.

A Whinberry & Antler wedding!

April 14th, 2014 Posted by Uncategorized No Comment yet
Hello! Well, I am getting married one week today so I will have to close business for a couple of weeks to enjoy celebrations and then the lovely landscapes of Scotland (must make sure to take my sketchbook)! I will be making the products on the company website unavailable for purchase from tomorrow onwards until the 6th May.  It’s quite tricky when you work by yourself to leave business for a couple of weeks, but once I am back there will be some new products available! See you soon. 
W&A.

Embrace crumbs and settle down for a good brew.

March 28th, 2014 Posted by Mugs badger stag napkins duvet bedding hare whinberry antler No Comment yet

Spring has started with a bounce here at W&A with quite a few new product lines! I am very excited to be adding to the Whinberry & Antler collection, especially as some of these are items that I have wanted to make for quite some time now, but it was essential to find the right supplier.

If you have been following W&A on facebook then you will know that the brand new napkin range is now available on the company website – http://new.whinberryantler.com/product-category/homeware/napkins/. I decided to make these after many requests from customers at both the Country Living Fair and Frome Market. They have had a great response and will be in stock in the lovely shops ‘Sparrow’ in Shaftesbury (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sparrow-uk/379718708724751) and ‘Vintage’ in Shrewsbury (https://www.facebook.com/vintage.shrewsbury?fref=ts) from the middle of next week.

I’m really pleased with how these photographs turned out. Taking product photos has definitely been a learning curve – when I look back now at the first photos that I used I can’t believe how bad they are! My tips would be;  keep it simple and try to get as much natural light as possible! We have a conservatory which is fantastic for taking photos as it allows so much light in from many angles. And never under estimate the powers of photoshop for brightening up your photos! Here is an example of one of my before and after photoshop pics:

Another new product that was quite hard to capture on camera was the new duvet set! These bedding sets will be printed to order in your choice of design. Currently only available in polycotton, I will be ordering some 100% cotton sets too. http://new.whinberryantler.com/product/bedding/woodland-duvet-set/
But I think that my most exciting announcement is the new range of Whinberry & Antler mugs! I have wanted to do a ceramic range for such a long time now and I absolutely love these natural coloured sturdy half pint mugs. They have a beautiful tankard style shape and really have a traditional yet clean contemporary design. I tried out a few different styles of mugs, but as soon as I saw these I knew that they were the ones to use! It has been so lovely receiving feedback about the mugs on facebook, twitter and instagram. I took the photos for these yesterday so now I am just waiting for the stock to arrive next week and then they will be available online too! 

These mugs will hold half a pint which makes them perfect for a good mug full of tea! 
Now…. let’s put the kettle on…
W&A