Growlygracepress's Blog

Just how do relationships breakdown?
November 1, 2021, 10:45 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

You do realise I am going to just continue to spraf bullshit on this here blog and twitter feed because I am trying very hard to get back in to my bookbinding life and thoughts occur to me and I am going to type it.

Apparently according to the photo library in my WordPress account that technique / method of the little blocks against painted backgrounds got to this stage of a pair of endpapers which went somewhere I sense that I am displeased by the pink / purple boy where as the orange is strong.

I will write down notes about how I achieve things.
November 1, 2021, 9:08 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

This was a try out for an idea for endpapers and for reasons I can’t quite understand I wrote the experiment off as a failure. I committed a major crime against art as I failed to write down the process and how I achieved it. I can guess the materials because I have become predicable. I guess the paper is a 50% cotton. Guess I applied the colour with a sponge. What I am at a loss to understand is did I apply a Japanese paste to the paper before hand and allow it to dry before I applied the colour and then the little blocks. So I am going to have to do the whole thing again and write down the formula and send it off in a letter to myself.

When I look at the photo it does look a bit good.

Handsome endpapers try outs.

the hinny books
October 31, 2021, 11:04 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

The green book is the original hinny. It was from a series of books on Geordie terms of endearments. In the course of this work I came to realise that my ability to cut of letters by hand had become impaired I was getting older, I needed reading glasses and my thyroid condition blah blah blah but wasn’t happy with what I has doing so I developed new methods and this photograph show the grey and black hinny with the little die to place the letters in the correct place.

So far so good.

I made these ten hinny books and on a fateful day went out to Newcastle to show them to a couple of galleries and it was shit. Worse than the time with that cow from the arts council dismissed me as a person who performs services for artists.

I was in this now defunct gallery and I has treated quite badly by some young people and I crawled out to walk to the next struggle session and I goes in to the gallery and I could not face it and I seen a regional arty magazine and I knew a friend who was interviewed in it and I am reading with out spectacles as you do and I seen I am referenced in it and I felt a bit better so marched out the gallery. Stormed up Warwick Street pledging that the first person who knows me can have the whole series.

I did not meet a single person I literally could not give them away. Could not get arrested as a bookbinder.

In fact I did go on to sell two of them. the other eight I gave away.

The size of the books are so right and the weight and shape of them in your hand are perfect.

I went on to think about how to get the position of the lettering better.

And that’s why I have started blogging again. Because that technique is being tried out right now on a redesigned press with new metal plates and glues and is is called ‘seed book’ and I am going to make ten of them.

One of the original seed books with a little Crawhall block.

Going to look in the press now.

things that made me great at the bookbinding
October 31, 2021, 9:21 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

having a good work light.

having pretentious ideas and promoting self pitying drivel

having to many tools

the glorious hinny books and when I realised that I could not give them away!

I loved the printing of labels for little books and printing on hand coloured paper

I am just messing about here getting to understand how much wordpress has changed and how it works.

I’ve got a pasted out leather on the bench to try out my ideas on putting letters on to leather.

back to life
October 31, 2021, 7:13 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

I have decided to get back to blogging.

This is just one of the things I am committing to do. The other is to resume bookbinding at my bench and to make books that I thing pass some kind of standard of what constitutes craft bookbinding and a viable product in the market.

I am going to become one of those people on an allotment site that just pays the rent and comes very early on to the site and leaves before anyone else comes on. I have decided to clear up the site and close it down for a couple of months. In reality that means coming down to check for damage and making sure it’s secure.

I am going to get back in to letterpress and simply print stuff.

When I look at my relationship with the allotment I see that what I was committed to doing was a course of ‘doing it right’ and I reckon I succeeded at making a tradition English allotment which was productive, weed free and maintained. It’s the observation of the ‘doing it right’ aspect that causes the grief. It swallowed up a lot of time, there was to much talking to people and frankly the politics that goes down absolutely suck.

When I had the other site I would bookbinding at my bench until ‘The Archers’ came on radio 4 followed by the afternoon play and it would be my signal to flee the house.

What has happened in the past three or four years is that Radio 4 became absolutely unlistenable I could not go to my bench and tune in I tried Radio 3 didn’t work for me, I listened to Planet Rock until it turned all classic rock to mush.

The bookbinding I was engaged with principally making books for artists had dried up. I was not teaching any workshops at galleried and colleges. The craft shop outlet was awful. I just couldn’t do the craft market book fare thing because my appearance is a bit off-putting and frankly I have zero sense of humour.

The lockdown happened and my husband started to work from home and it was better that he took over the whole of the study for work and I decamped to the living room with a massive wooden bench and a ton of equipment.

The blog entries became a succession of ‘I am not dead and I am still here’ so that was no fun. For anyone.

One of the problems I face is WordPress became a bit rubbish. Another was I liked to take a photograph for the post and my camera developed problems and I have refused to embraced the suck with is the mobile phone which I loath. I want a camera that looks and feels like the tool that I have been using for at least a million years. So that’s a problem I am going to have to fix.

The whole ‘yeah but’ in all of this is that I am not quite finished with bookbinding as in ‘make a book to the best of my abelites for it’s righteous price’ It goes with out saying that off course I become a bit less precious about making.

And yes I am going to write my glorious return to craft with my blog. You lucky people.

I am going to become a ghost on the allotment site.

Assumptions about materials.
January 29, 2021, 10:32 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

At this stage in the game it’s a bit of a surprise when a tried, true and tested substance fails. But fail it does.

I use super pva in bookbinding. I prefer to buy it from the high street because it’s a ten minute walk away I have never used special conservation grade glues and pastes because I can’t buy them in Wilkinsons.

Last week I took three books I am making out the press. The books had made endpapers attached to the first section and the gluing out had spectacularly failed resulting in air pockets. So I wrestled the endpapers off and stuck them in the bin. Wrote the whole thing off as me being a bit slap dash and when I was fighting the books I deducted marks from myself as I seen that the sewing stations which I saw cut were not the level of work I wanted to achieve. In future I am going to pierce the signatures before sewing.

So big learning experience. Except I had a nagging feeling that something is wrong.

Earlier I had found a ‘spring’ I had made was failing to dry properly and the cloth joint had mould growing on it. I remembered that I had stood at the bench and smelled something odd and my husband had said I can smell glue and I didn’t connect until now. The pva is ‘off’

I was unhappy with the glue’s performance and was giving deep though to getting my heated glue pot rewired and tested by an electrician so I could use a ‘hot’ glue. I am just going to buy more pva because the husband is going to object to me using hot glue in the living room. Sad but true.

Some times thing fail. Move on.

I am still here.
August 16, 2020, 10:06 am
Filed under: Uncategorized


I am still kicking about still trying to get back to regular bookbinding. I’ve moved the bench in to the living room, I have a number of books that just need covered and I have ‘proof of concept’ in truly exciting style of book which makes me very happy.

I am really excited by an ‘edition’ of gardening journals I am going to make.

On the other hand I let the garden ‘get away from me’ just as ‘life comes at you’ gardens can. A combination of heat then rain then heat caused an explosion of weeds, I was over ambitious with my refurbishments and needed extra pairs of hands and they were not available.  So in order to save the allotment I had to destroy it. That sounds very dramatic but it’s not by clearing it out I can replant for the winter and I had seen the signs about six weeks back and I ordered plants from a nursery which I’ll get in mid September, I ordered seeds that I start this week in a greenhouse, I cleared one of the greenhouses of tomatoes and chillies gave them away to a good home and this will give me the space to start off a lot of seeds for next year mainly leeks, onions and spring onions.

I am obsessed with growing leeks and because of reasons I actually have at this moment at least 200 leeks that I can plant. So the garden will be blooming again.

This week I had to pay wordpress the hosting fee so I am going to commit to getting this blog back to healthy productive growth. I shall write a blog next Sunday morning and tell you what I have achieved.

I will finish one book, I will prototype the journal, I will start the eBay sale of bookbinding tools and equipment that I am not using and I will weed the front of my garden.

actually it is enough to slap Celtic illuminated letters on the cover of a book.
May 12, 2020, 9:57 am
Filed under: Uncategorized


I am still drowning in tools, materials, equipment and half thought out projects but that’s just my regular bookbinding life my allotment life is a lot better. I have had a massive refurbishment of the plot I have instigated a new series of beds, I have a wildly exciting salad bed, a massive brassica bed, a new amazing polytunnel, a new method of growing seeds and it’s going to look amazing.

Bookbinding is actually very exciting because my husband is going to be working from home he needs the study all to himself and I have booted myself out and into the living room! I am in love with my bench and my tool boxes and I have installed them in the living room they look so handsome and I swoon like a teenager when I gaze on their beauty.

I own too much equipment and I am going to have to sell it, I need to decide what to do about my guillotine it needs a new blade or the old blade extended I need someone to tell me what to do.

I am sorting out books, drawings, papers and photocopies and I had my hands on a copy of a script and it was a book experiment I always liked and I placed it on a book and I realised that I wanted to remake the book. So I am massively enjoying the process. The work area is really, really dark and I need a plug board to get some work lights on the bench but I am making progress.


I still have the die I made to place the letters on the leather. I can make the book again.

DSCF6500 Right off to the allotment to have a dig.

allotments, bookbinding and who your friends are.
March 25, 2020, 10:26 am
Filed under: Uncategorized


When this shit is over there is going to one all mighty reckoning.

I am fine by the way, it’s been an intense month and I am happy enough. I decided what my priorities were and worked around trying to be effective at fulfilling them.

The book I was / am currently working is in great shape and I have made a decent break through in a construction technique, I identified a great calligraphy teacher and press ‘pay’ and I am going to create a work space specifically to do lettering.

I am going to make a ‘baby book’ for a baby who is about to be born it’s going to be all about green and trees and I have a new easel so I going to paint the endpapers on the allotment where green is bursting through.

The many fruit bushes I bought last winter and parked now in my massive refurbished fruit cage.

I decided the best thing I could do for the allotment people was to grow a serious amount of vegetables.

I am learning to use the phone but I would prefer a camera.

I am going to post in my phoney baloney blog a lot more. You lucky people!

I am still here.
March 2, 2020, 10:26 am
Filed under: Uncategorized


Not going anywhere, still binding books, still messing around on a massive allotment, still playing with paints, trying to come to grips with my phone, still bemoaning the lack of a camera and totally not getting the phone camera might be the greatest camera in the world but I like a camera with a view finder and I like to insert a wire in to the phone in to the computer to get the pictures across.

Look at the state of this bench it’s an outrage and the picture is soft just to rub salt in to the wounds. What you can see is a mess and there is a book in the process of being made. The other thing is broken tools. In the making of this book tools fell apart in my hand. A hammer and two glue brushes trashed themselves in the service of book making. A glue brush managed to pull it’s self together and made a brave stand only to fail again. Poor thing.

This morning I was making boards for the beauty book and I am being really serious about making the boards I lined the boards with paper last week and kept them in a press today I was in the process sticking them together and I am struck with the overwhelming desire to make a totally new book. I could ‘see’ the type on the boards, I could see the painted endpapers I could feel the weight on the book in my hands.

So I did the right thing I put my boards in the press to dry. I removed myself from the bench, I wrote up this nonsense and I am going to finish the book I am suppose to be making and when I get the type on the boards and the leather on the book. I am going to make the book that I was thinking about.