Growlygracepress's Blog

I don’t believe in ‘happiness’
February 14, 2018, 9:39 am
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It’s a helluva thing to say but I’ve been thinking about it and I concluded that as a state of being it’s a bit false. Now I can reconcile things I have said in the past about being ‘unhappy’ about not bookbinding but what I mean is I want to have bookbinding back in my life as a practice and to be engaged with the process as effectively as I can using my ideas and values about books, materials and methods. I don’t have a market for the books but that should not prevent me from making them to the best of my ability.

The trashed work room is getting decluttered and shelfs that were crap magnets have been taken out, I am putting together a shelf of books that have some representation of what I think is my best work. I’ll deal with the rest of them appropriately.

The eBay sales have started and are cathartic I am looking forward to commissioning new tools and buying new leathers and I am going to get rid of a massive hoard of leathers that I don’t want to work with or deal with.

That thing about happiness. I always been aware that some women I talk with are really angry about not being happy and the first thing I ask is how would you know if you were ‘happy’ and it’s always some bull shit about ‘feelings’ and when ever I experience ‘feelings’ I want to close that down.

I am contented. I lead a satisfying life. I am engaged with my practice in the allotment. I have meaningful and deep relationships with people around me. I am not chasing happiness. I don’t believe that clearing out the workroom would make me happy or I have a fear of finishing a task. It’s just a pain requiring focus and decision making (as in this goes in the bin or is destined for eBay)

It’s getting sorted.

I am happy when I have a great big bag of cheese and onion crisps or a sausage sandwich and that’s going to happen maybe a dozen times of the year and thats good enough.


actions and consequences.
November 23, 2017, 9:03 am
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It’s all very well thinking it would be great to have a massive asparagus bed but when you see a great deal on crowns and double up on the order then when a big box arrives I am faced with the inevitable act of digging and preparing trenches. I decided to buy crowns because it dawned on me that the asparagus I was raising from seed was going to need care and shelter for at least two years before I put it in the ground. So now I am going to stick it in the front garden and have lovely ferns.

My next bit of brilliant thinking was I want to take photographs of tulips so I had better buy some and plant them and with in minutes I had ordered a big collection of parrot tulips which I now need to plant in to the ground.

Last year I thought it would be funny to feed a crow with bone shaped dog biscuits ( I always have dog biscuits in my pockets) and with in days the crows were finding me they fly close to me to get attention and I carry a little tin of bird food and dole it out to them. Sometimes I can get them to follow me to the allotment, sometimes they visit the allotment and this week they found me waiting for a bus. The crows sometimes land on the tops of cars and freak out people and just pretend not to know them and this makes it worse.

So I am going to have tulips, asparagus and crows.

chutney binding
November 16, 2017, 8:26 am
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I am going to go to the allotment and continue the digging I started in the brassica cage. I have evicted all the rubbish Brussel Sprouts and I plant some cabbages and kale. I am continuing to plant salad leaves, kale, onion sets for spring onions in the unheated green houses and I am reading the seed catalogs searching out early carrots and peas for the poly tunnel. I have cleared out the vine leaves and I will plant seed potatoes in the tunnel and I will decided whither to take out the remaining chillies.

I was making chutneys a few weeks ago and I noticed that I approached the actual making of them much like book making. I had all the ingredients at hand and I just made a ‘batch’ no measuring just buy hand and eye. I wanted a tomato and onion relish and it should look and taste like that. Red, sweet, mustard seeds, onions a little bit of sour. It was as satisfying as making a book. Actually it was better and I think it’s because the ‘proof’ as it were was that I used the relish immediately as it had barely cooled down with bread and cheese and it was great. Where as a book languishes around the work area until it has a buyer or is given way and the new owner gives it purpose.

So it’s going to be batches of books, clearly labelled, numbered, with purpose and intention.


walking back to bookbinding
November 13, 2017, 7:57 am
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This is what I am doing to do. I am going to finish putting back my work room, this means making decisions that I have been putting of about the storing of materials and equipment. I am going to write out some targets with the dates and times I wish to accomplish them. I am going to write out a short and clear statement about what my intentions are and how I will know I have achieved them. Baby steps.

Practice makes practice.
September 14, 2017, 8:33 am
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This is another episode in my journey back to bookbinding and I have discovered that I have a new strength and it’s just a little whisper to me ‘it does not have to be this way’  I need to rely on being kinder to myself and make little gains. So I have started making a book which will have all the features that I like. Hand painted endpapers, silk ribbon marker, coloured edges and the boards decorated with flowers.

I have a date in mind where I want to achieve some tasks that I have found massively difficult mainly I need to have a clear out of cupboards and drawers and I need to have an ebay sale to get some money together for materials and I think it’s good to get some tools and equipment back in to circulation.

I know I feel resentful to the collection of books because they take up so much space and I wonder if I’ll ever open them again I am quite sure that I can get them down to one shelf. But I recognise that the books were the making of me and it took skill and dedication to put the collection together and some of them are now quite valuable. I don’t need to make a decision at the moment but at some point I am going to have to get a dealer in.

I am going to engage totally in creating change in my life and I am going to be effective and consistent.


The once and future bookbinder
September 8, 2017, 8:50 am
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So I got distracted by the allotment and defeated (temporary) by the self inflicted chaos in my workroom. I deluded myself that the taking money for the books was secondary when actually I really think it’s important that I get the highest monetary value I can for my work. I have no problems with giving away prototypes in fact I think it’s vital to get them in to the world and I have no issues with giving away the waifs, strays and orphans from attempts of making books to sell in the craft shop. Be free my pretties.

At the moment what I wast to make is books like this


and I want to make books like this



So it’s garden books and memento mori books.


I forgot about this beauty which was a visitors book.

bookbinders block
September 5, 2017, 8:27 am
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and again the little strawberry on the back


I say ‘new work it’s actually a couple of months ago. I seriously think I’ll never get back to fully engaged with bookbinding and I feel ever so slightly and in a tiny way unhappy about that. I’ve got to this position by being really silly about something. I replaced the floor covering in my work area and tried to integrate two tool chests and in the mean time I filled the room up with random junk. On the other hand I had the new allotment and worked at several refurbishing projects which I have finished.

The room is so trashed I know the only solution is to take every single item out of it to a holding area and assess it’s value. I then need to store the tools and materials properly.

Then I am going to do a series of bookbinding, I am going to make ten books which I think would appeal to a person who had a garden. ( a couple of points that are obvious to me) I actually really need the bookbinding to pay I want and deserve a money for the books to make books and not sell them is like collecting cat ornaments. It’s pretty obvious to me that I can make books and I like making them I just need a purpose.

I don’t have a priest, a coach or a friend to go to for this so I am going to spell out the journey back to bookbinding in little steps in this blog which no one reads.

It’s not all doom and gloom at the vegetable show I had two firsts, a second and two thirds.