Growlygracepress's Blog

what ever happened to the rainbow list?
February 26, 2013, 10:55 am
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I was asked this morning what was happening to this list I posted last year in no particular order:

“Do the mechanical slotted technique” : don’t quite know what this refers to so obviously I’ve done nothing.

“Write up the St Cuthbert project” Obviously I didn’t write it up but I have taken the book “St Cuthbert, his cult and his community” out the library again and I have done some Lindisfarne lettering on books. But no I have not “written” up the “project” unless this counts : “Stick some Lindisfarne lettering stuff on the cover of a book for great profit” Epic Fail.

“Make two “Baby books” a week and advertise them in the “lit and phil” Again did not do anything about it. Stupid as it’s my best hope.

“Make a series of books on florilgum.” My second strongest card again I have done noting about it.

“If I was invited to give an academic paper?” Oh I love this one because I did do something about it. I thought good and hard and worked it out, I will never be in the position because I am not an intellectual and the primary purpose of the state is to employ the intellectuals in the state’s universities. I have a trade.

“Consider coptic binding” This is one of the things that just vanished from my thoughts.

“Find more teaching” I did put some effort in to this and worked a few things out. One is that I can deliver several types of workshops : I can do a morning / afternoon. I can do a full day or I can do my preferred one week. I have contacted all the colleges and universities in the immediate area and I don’t get a reply. I am not an intellectual. I have a trade.

“Clean press and do a printing!” Yes I did a printing and I am going to do it again, next time with a clear and precise list of what I am going to print. There is an awful temptation just to scribble and doodle with the press. It needs consideration.

Plan an edition of 20 “garden notes” This is that consideration thing again! I did order the blocks and I didn’t do it.

So that rainbow list : well I did nothing about it but it’s still a valid and good list of intentions. I stand buy every last unfulfilled word of them and I am going to hang this particular albatross around my neck and have another go at them.

and while I am possessed by william morris It needs saying that
February 26, 2013, 10:07 am
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laser cutting sucks. It’s doesn’t get more industrial process than using a laser. I have never been Morris’s biggest fan but you don’t ‘do’ craft with lasers.

When I have no commissions I am not really a bookbinder.
February 26, 2013, 9:13 am
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I am just waiting for a reason to make a book that some one is paying money for, and I am only really motivated by the proper rate. If you are on a “mate rates” with me it’s going to take time, in fact it might not even happen.

At the moment I am going to say “no” to one proposal on the table in kinda “silk purse versus pigs ears” argument in which I am the purveyor of the “ears” It’s not often I invoke William Morris but when I ran the proposal past my inner William Morris he was roaring “have you no self respect woman!” and I can’t quite turn him off now. Shame because the money was good.

I have a couple of “suck it and see” commissions kicking around which will be strangled at birth as soon as I say the magic money numbers. Shame because I would like some money.

If I had “a money” I would be buying parchment coloured leather probably the Harmattan Biscuit goat skin and I would do some more Lindisfarne stuff. And I would buy paper obviously! I’ve seen a major piece of equipment I would like but it’s serious money and I would like to commission some tools for the tooling. I seen a course I would like to attend. Just to break the numbers on that : I would want to spend £100 on the leather at least, paper £50 to £75 and thats nothing special, the equipment £800 plus another £200 at least, tools for the tooling £100 to £200 and the course is £350 plus travel. The paper is ‘nothing’, the leather would be good if I spend more take it to £200. On a bang for buck analysis the one to do is the tools for tooling because it’s a new area for me and my idea is actually really good. The major workshop equipment buy is really going to be £1,300. But with it I take over the world. No really.
I would like to do the course but in the world of “rock paper scissors” materials and tools always win.

I have no money, no commissions, no workshops, I don’t even have a bull shit c.v. and equally bull shit ‘statement’ I am only as good as my last paid piece of work.

I have a couple of ideas and one of them is really strong. Strong enough to shut William Morris’s beardy mouth.



outrageous green leather covered book with script
February 18, 2013, 5:35 pm
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I reckon the Lindisfarne Gospel is the greatest works of art ever made. It might be considered a bit bonkers to take random bits of lettering and stick them on a cover but I reckon if I put a bit of work in this I am going to get something good eventually. If any one want to buy it get in touch.
It was essentially a try out for that red dot technique and I have to say it was successful but I did lose my will to live and I used a lot of paste on the leather which is going to take a lot of polishing to take off. Hopefully an episode of Midsummer Murder, mucho gin and tonic, a duster and polish will take care of it.






Collie dog frolicking in the snow.
February 13, 2013, 5:33 pm
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Grace likes the snow to such an extent that she suspends her chop slapping of other dogs (particularly rude spaniels) and she has fun. She has been even known to “play” with other dogs but hostilities are always just around the corner.






bookbinding exam paper
February 12, 2013, 10:21 am
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I think it would be very worth while if I tracked down all the bookbinding examination papers I can find. The sitting of written papers show how of how knowledge is tested.

the practice of practice
February 11, 2013, 3:31 pm
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it is perhaps my biggest problem, I don’t practice nearly enough, I don’t break the task down to smaller chunks, I don’t isolate the part that I am failing in and correct it my repeating the task over and over again until it becomes habit. At my most ridiculous I will not only refuse to practice but I will make a complete book in order to execute a design idea. It’s unnecessary and uses up materials and leaves me with a book that orphaned it has no buyer.

I am not going to write a book on how to do bookbinding (I think) but if I did I would really push critical assessment : how do I know it’s “good”? 

The other thing “Learn you a bookbinding for great good” book would have is a time line, how many hours practice you should put to understand and demonstrate a particular component on making a book. I should be able to see consistant improvement over a time scale. I start here and I want to go there. This is practically a mathematical equation.

At a workshop I gave recently I understood while looking at a students work that the basic foundations are there and told him that he was 80% there. Now this is not plucking a number out the air but it’s a metric that is going to be useful for him because nailing the remaining 20% is where the practice comes in.


This is a ‘practice’ note that it’s not on a book, it’s on a bit of board. It’s got it’s flaws, principally the black lettering is calf and it would be better as goat, biggest problem is the red circles / dots  are to big, the lettering needs better cutting and I did not consider the coloured infils and stuck in leather which came to hand probably explains the calf as well.

So I am going to practice it again.

got their marbled coats on.
February 5, 2013, 6:03 pm
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This is a nice little series of books, the marbled paper is exceptional, the binding is fit for purpose and the edge colouring is really rather good. The big lesson here and it’s a big old lesson : if you are specifying a series make sure you are happy with all aspects of it before you replicate the mistake ten times. 

If I was going to do them again (and I will) I am going to make that faux raised bands a couple of mils smaller it’s looking a bit shall we say “rustic” I might even abandon the raised bands altogether and put in a thong to wrap around the book. 

I am going to stick them on big cartel to get the material costs back once they have had a final paste down.