Barneby Gates

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Working from their Wiltshire studio, Vanessa Barneby & Alice Gates create fabrics with a quintessentially English feel, giving classical ideas a contemporary twist. They incorporate subtle metallic finishes and often a wry touch of humour, that will make you look twice.

Ex Vogue Living Editor, Vanessa Barneby graduated from Edinburgh University in 1999 and went on to study decorative painting, trompe l’oeil and restoration at Hampstead Decorative Arts in London. Her passion for furniture, textiles and print led to a position as an interiors stylist at House & Garden for 5 years. From 2004 until 2009 Vanessa was the Living Editor at British Vogue where predicting and writing about upcoming trends in design, styling shoots, and examining the correlation between fashion and interiors were all part of her job.

A fellow Edinburgh graduate, Alice Gates went on to study figurative painting overseas before achieving a Masters in Fine Art at The City & Guilds of London Art School. Her vivid, often narrative paintings, rooted in fashion illustration, have been exhibited worldwide and featured in numerous publications including Vogue, Tatler and The Saturday Times Magazine. She has also collaborated with the fashion label Libelula, designing prints for their ready-to-wear collections.

All Barneby Gates papers are designed by Vanessa & Alice and printed at one of the few remaining print works in the Midlands using traditional printing techniques. A combination of processes has been used to achieve the different effects:

Surface Printing was used in the Bugs & Butterflies and Wild Meadow designs to give the lovely painterly quality. It is a mechanised form of block printing in which the inks used are thicker than most printing processes, and give a beautiful hand painted feel.

Flexographic Printing is much like surface printing but uses less ink. This means the ink dries quickly allowing the machine to run at high speed. The finished product has a very smooth finish with crisp detail – as seen in Deer Damask, Carpe Noctem, and the bugs in the background of Bugs & Butterflies.

Gravure Printing is a technique that allows for very fine detail and the reproduction of images with photo quality, so this worked well for This Other Eden and Promenade. Copper printing rollers are engraved with the design, with a separate roller for each colour. The depth of the engraving determines the strength of the colour, which means that each roller is capable of printing tones of that colour. Thus, photographic levels of detail can be achieved with a wonderful 3-D effect in certain light, unlike modern digital processes which tend to look flat. All the papers are PEFC accredited. This is the Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification and is a mark of forest stewardship that shows the paper comes from well-managed sources.