Growlygracepress's Blog

Where I am getting clues.
March 30, 2013, 12:50 pm
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I came across this site and this guy is producing some of the best work around it’s so confident and strong and in his biography is this statement “Produced 52 editioned books to date since 1985” That continuation of a life’s work is why he’s an outstanding artist.

I used to think the fine press book people had all the fun making editions but I think it would be really useful for me to go down this route. For the past couple of years now I have been engaged with making series of books. It allowed me to work out the working methods when making ten or more books. The down side was that I would “get stuck” with a pile of books and because I didn’t have an outlet to sell them they would remain on my shelves.

I can turn my perceived negative in to a positive. It’s a closed edition.

Reasons to be cheerful.
March 30, 2013, 12:25 pm
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I am in my 50’s so I am undoubtedly wise and no longer a threat to the beautiful young girls (if indeed I ever was but I get amusement at speaking truth to their power)

I am cool that I can’t get my books in a craft shop because I except I have no business being in them in the first place.

I except that one of the reasons that I can’t get to teach workshops in any of the university and colleges is that I don’t have an art degree and I am not an intellectual.

I am going to stop being apologetic and coy about the price of a book. It’s going to cost £150 and thats going to rise.

I am going to do some letterpress work this weekend. I fell seriously out of love with printing I think I succumbed to rampant fear uncertainty and doubt. Get over myself.

I am going to round up all the half made, finished, unfinished books and get them sorted put them either on sale on big cartel or folksy or in the truly unwanted get them in the hands of students form previous workshops. Get money and buy Harmattan calf skin and Fabriano paper.

and the cow from the arts council said.
March 29, 2013, 4:07 pm
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A few years ago I had a meeting with an arts council official. I was looking for funding for some equipment and the meeting came to an abrupt end when she said “you perform services to artists” she stood up and left and even the girly who was taking notes got a surprise. I was left in the middle of an open plan office and didn’t know how to get out. To this day I have never felt so dismissed, so diminished, so utterly inconsequential. When I got outside I was leaning against a wall for support. I was devastated. I foolishly thought that the books I made had merit, that they were valid. But the cow from the arts council put me firmly in my place.

I don’t really mind about providing services to artists, I’ve been paid really well for it in the past, I would prefer if it was not Arts Council money because frankly even us service providers have standards. Sometimes a artist has a book in an exhibition and you get a credit for it, sometimes really up front and forward, sometimes my name is not connected with the work at all and thats were the money balm makes it all better. I get paid, the artist got a book did I mention that I got paid.

I remember once a art teacher at a local college left an invite for me to come in and meet her students and they “could discuss their requirements with me” the saucy cow!

I think that well all is said and done I would prefer not to provide services to artists.

Are you ready for your primitive?
March 27, 2013, 9:05 am
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See this here agricultural implement. I reckon it’s the greatest piece of British Art (T.M) that has ever been. It’s worn by the farmer and he “broadcasts” the seed in the field, it’s design has taken hundreds and hundres of years to evolve. The maker and his ancestors have become invisible and the object has transcended it function and is now form. Glorious. 

I am going to make books that primitive. Not “arts and crafts playboys”.

this is surface of my bench
March 25, 2013, 8:58 am
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I love my bench like I love my bed. We are made for each other. When I do bookbinding at a workshop it feels wrong because I am sitting down. I stand up at my bench and it’s hight has been adjusted to the right level for me.

See that big light box it’s grubby with spray mount and I take it so for granted that it’s invisible to me. Every day I come and stand at my bench and put the light on and I start bookbinding. I have Radio 4 on as well. The light cost £8 in a charity shop and it’s used to treat seasonally affected disorder (SAD) I am not sad but I thought it would make for a good work light and it’s fantastic. If you have any spare money get one of these. Bench and light.


These boys are getting pasted down and in to a press today.


This is ‘sparrow’ her snap back is weak, I am going to remake it and all her brethren’s spines anew and if this means losing their boards so be it. I’ll make them new boards. What I like about this series of books is they are going in right direction. Light, good in the hands and non scary.
Buyer friendly rather than putting the fear of God in to them.


I will fix these.



Found these, absolutely no idea what so ever I was intending to do with them no doubt proving a point that I don’t need to make any more. The repeating the experiment that I insufficiently framed. I’ll get them sewn up and take a view. I’ll take some of the sections out to make them a bit more friendly. Not so thick.

choice and sinner
March 21, 2013, 3:58 pm
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The cover of this book was a test for some leather and I have a few problems with it, I’ll be talking to the people to see what has caused the speckling meanwhile if you love it and want it it’s yours for the postage or a cup of coffee in Newcastle.


I was sitting in a group of people last week and we were doing the “round” and person after person was saying how they were “bad” how they had “failed” how they tried to be “good” and I wanted to jump up and down demanding to know how they would know “success” because I am pretty sure it’s about the positive decision. I choose not to fail. I am open to the possibility of success.


This little book just works for me. I think It will be my last “title” book I’ll be doing for a while as they may just be a trifle pretentious for some one who does not have a licence to practice art. I am going to choose to make some money.

I am changing.
March 17, 2013, 9:34 am
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The problem I have been had with some of my bookbinding lately is more than perceived ability and practice.

It’s about some of the ways I think people will buy my services.

It’s about the whole of the craft industry.

And it has made me realised that “I” really do need to make it better.

I am working on it, but I need to keep going, go further, move quicker.

I need to become so good I can’t be ignored.

I know that the more I work with British sourced materials the better my books become.

I am going to make sure that all my leathers, linens, paper, wax and boards comes form the UK and Ireland.

And now I am going to move on to the colour pigments.

By July I will have found a new way of selling books. 

Because bookbinding is what I do best.

I know this because of books I have made in the past and because the price of my books have continuously rised.

But I think the traditional market place for craft is the wrong place to be in.

I know that, no matter what you spend this will be the best crafted item you can buy.

Every one deserves the best.

I know this will only work if I am open about the way I make the books.

And if your not happy, tell me.


This is it.

I am changing.

(with apologies to Tesco’s)

Here in the UK it’s been uncovered that horse meat was entered the food chain and the biggest supermarket chain has launched a campaign of damage limitation. One of the things they did was a this “we are changing” which reads beautifully like it’s been written by some one with poetry chops, it’s sincere and direct and to the point.    




I think these bookbinders are the best around.
March 13, 2013, 8:48 am
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I admire the work and really like the direction they are taking bookbinding.
Which is dragging it by the scurf of its neck and giving it a good shaking.

Abandoned in a charity shop.
March 12, 2013, 2:33 pm
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I have found some astonishing things in local charity shops but I was really surprised by this beauty. I don’t know why it got taken to the charity shop I presumed the owner had either died or the owner had taken a violent dislike to the person who gave it to them as a gift. Maybe even they wanted Oxfam to bring about world peace. Whatever.

I have never bothered to own it because it really expensive and the Lit and Phil luckily has a copy but over the New Year when the library was closed I got deranged trying to think of a reference form the book that I was prepared to email the author and ask her.

I will do justice to these books.
March 12, 2013, 2:22 pm
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This is the little group of books I have assembled that will guide me through the techniques I want to understand so I can make little books that will be irresistible to ladies of a certain age.
Little expensive things darling. Exquisite. Hell if I could get jewels on them like a treasure binding I would.