Growlygracepress's Blog

The problem with “craft”
March 23, 2012, 9:55 am
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This was posted in the Telegraph blog the other day and I think it’s great.

I think this get so close to the bull shit that is inherent in the craft market, the unwritten rule of because its made by hand it has some higher mysterious intrinsic value. When all that happens is the “gift” becomes weaponised, because its hand-made it can’t be disposed of. It’s a case of “Great ! An ugly book that won’t open or close properly thanks it’s just what I wanted!”

When I talk to students about bookbinding I always bring along a collection of books that have lamentably failed and I point out why they suck and this can cause such upset and unhappiness with the little students.

I started writing about how I wanted to “change” my bookbinding style which automatically should suggest that I will “know” when I have achieved that goal. Now that’s more than a bit wooly thinking even for me. What I am currently toying with at the moment is a rejection of the style of bookbinding that is associated with “Designer Bookbinders”.

I can’t do that stuff, I don’t have the tools, the materials, the teachers/mentors and whats more I don’t even like it. I think drooling over the books at the exhibition was just a little exploration of self hate putting on a “kick me” sign. The grass is always greener…

My bookbinding is possibly or even technically good enough. I should embrace the suck and get stuck in and sell some books.


Dutch Gilt
March 1, 2012, 3:00 pm
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Have I mentioned J & J Jefferies of Edinburgh? They make decorated paper for bookbinders and one of the unique things they can do is this. By all accounts this is a lost process but they have discovered a way to do it.

They are astonishingly good people and I wish that their work was better know. Might give them a ring!

Grown up women need proper stuff.
March 1, 2012, 10:30 am
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This buying of stationery is just displacement, it’s pocket money buying and the paper is rubbish and the sizes don’t work. Meet the new cult stationary same as the old cult stationery.

Overly graphically designed.
March 1, 2012, 9:40 am
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It appears that it’s not enough to make an object and make it well, but “it” has to have be “branded” by a licensed graphic designer. Your wedding or business card “needs” the magic touch of graphic designer.

Craft shops have become curated lifestyle shops with the items selected by trend watchers. Everything should blend together. The tyranny of “indesign” is every where.

I think what I would like to achieve is to make a book that is totally free from it, no branding or even the suggestion by association of a brand “it looks like a moleskine” a book for book’s sake.

I was talking to some small children this morning they were excited because it’s “World Book Day” and they were quite specific about why the books they had chosen were great : “there is jokes in them” From the mouths of babes! I love the idea of a strip “tipped in” to a book with a joke or a line of poetry hidden in the back that the user finds it. Now maybe I have contradicted myself about the “branding” but it’s just a nice idea.

Some books doing what they do best.