Growlygracepress's Blog

safari so goody
August 16, 2013, 5:16 pm
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These book blocks were made on Thursday and I have developed the ideas further here.


What I set out to find out is how I keep the proportions of the book for want of a better word sweet.

I used a digital calliper to measure books that ‘worked’ and used them as a reference point to create a book.

I turned every thing down, thiner thread, instead of board using good hand made paper, very thin leather used to line the spine, no stiff leaves in the end papers, no lavishing the spine with glue, no painted edges, made endpapers were pasted down with a traditional paste, nipped in a press and left to dry over night using baking parchment for a fence.

The little group of three books are small hand sized books made form a bag of scrap cartridge paper I found on a shelf.

The larger of the books I made was modelled on I book I had picked up to read, the mistake I made with it was to colour the edges and I used my old press which I can’t tighten enough so tiny bit of colour eating in to the end papers.

I have decided not to colour the edges of the group of three, thats a radical step for me. I think the edges look a bit raw with out the colour.

The next step is to make very thin and very strong springs for them, I think I need a mix of Japanese and watercolour papers and I’ll be attaching the spring to the block with tyvek. The boards will be made with 1mm mill board, lined with 50% cotton paper.

If I deal with all the excess weight and turn every thing down while ensuring that strength comes from creating layers of paper and paste, with good pressing and rubbing down with bone folder using a clean sheet of paper I think I am going to create something interesting.

this is what I am going to do right now!
August 15, 2013, 9:35 am
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I am going to go to my bench and make a little book so beautiful and wonderful that a person who is holding it in a shop (I’ll get to that problem / issue later) has to buy it.
They would be unable to walk away from it.
This book is sticky.
It has to be so good it’s can’t be ignored.
Anyone who sees it falls in love.
Buying this book as a gift is going to be loved.

I don’t have an outlet for it nor do I know of any.
This is possibly problematic.

I don’t know what a look book is either, I have no staged photographs of the books besides willow pattern plates or on a little side table with a vase of roses either.

I don’t have a back story that will sell them except that I use natural materials bought in the UK.
When I make a series of books I name them : puppy, kitten, foal, star, ducky and so on.

The little books have to do it all themselves.

learning to solve problems.
August 13, 2013, 12:15 pm
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So we got an allotment and it looked like this.


What I wanted was a learning experience and some vegetables. I view the whole enterprise like an enhanced open university course only cheaper.

The main thing I want to learn is how to solve problems and the allotment is a plane in which ‘problem solving’ is applied and then evaluated and accessed. There is success and failure and judgment. How do we know we are being successful?


This was the allotment yesterday.

We have dug it over and planted vegetables which are thriving. He have put in some raised beds. We walk around the all the allotments at least once a week and we see how people are solving their particular problems.


This is the site that welcomes us in the morning, we call this ‘The Shire’ because it reminds us of Lord of the Rings!

We access what we have done all the time, mainly by walking about, gesturing and pointing. The biggest surprise is that it’s not about growing stuff, it’s about building and construction. Birds eat cabbages so beds have to be netted.


Weeds grow and have to be taken out, so nets have to be removed and reapplied. Butterflies get through the nets and lay eggs they hatch and eat the cabbage. Meanwhile the air is filled with seeds that land on the ground that you have spent all week digging over.


You learn by making mistakes and you learn by recognising that it’s a mistake.

The evil shed.


I think the wasp nest in the window is just about visible here, we asked the wise old men around us and got the ‘wasp is the gardeners friend and they will die off in the winter’ so we attempted a truce with the wasps except David got stung and my baldy head might become massive target!
Meanwhile the nest was getting massive. So we killed them at 4.00 in the morning. Murdered them in their waspy beds.
As soon as you know that it’s a wasp nest deal with it.


One of the things we noticed when we walked around was that men and women gardened in different ways.
Men’s allotments were machines for the growing of vegetables or the raising of show produce mainly leeks and dahlias. Women have allotments which get picturesque and have little photogenic moments, or have flower borders filled with plants for the feeding of bees.
I want the business of the allotment to be about fruit and vegetables if I have borders filled with flowers I can’t have vegetables.


The timing of getting the allotment was bad and there is nothing we can do about that. We managed to get the tail end of the growing season and we are able to put in some stuff for the winter. We recognise that what we are engaging in is gesture, that we are showing massive commitment, that we are making progress.


The one thing I am not going to do is hoard building materials on the allotment. Every thing must be in use.


Thinking is Drawing.
August 11, 2013, 11:24 am
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“Learn to draw! If you don’t, you’re gonna live your life getting around that and trying to compensate for that.”

Saul Bass.

I can’t remember a time when I couldn’t draw.
I suck at it now because I don’t practice it but for years I took strength from the knowledge that I could draw.
Not being able to draw is like not being able to cook.

maker centered coaching
August 11, 2013, 10:11 am
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In what seems like a million years ago I was deeply involved with psychotherapy.
I loved it and every thing to do with it.
The history, the personalities, the training, the hands on stuff, having therapy.
I loved it all.

I moved away from it as I realised that there was really effective new methods that really did work and were effective, they did cure people in a session.

Back then every one was wannabe counsellor every one was becoming a person.

My biggest insight about the human condition is that a lot of women are angry that they are not happy.
Back in my twenties women went to client centred therapy, before that they might have gone to a conscious raising group.

Now women are getting in to craft and becoming a brand.

The councillors are business coaches.

Women are still furious at not being happy and whats more they have spent a fortune at “Hobby Craft”

What is passing for ‘craft’ is formulate exercise in box ticking.
If what you are trying to achieve as a maker is an item that would look at home in John Lewis you’ve lost.
Because that was made on an assembly line in China.

the crumbs that fall from the table
August 11, 2013, 8:44 am
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I once something on television and a man was calling the pigs in for dinners and he’s banging metals together to make a clanging noise while shouting “come on pigs”
Thats Arts Council funding that is.

The crumbs fall of the table and we roll about in the mud fighting for it.
Thats graduate artists that is.

All funded arts projects are political gestures.
What passes for exhibitions is no more than the artistic elite talking to it’s self.
These so called exhibitions are c.v. fodder eventually the anointed ones who will get even bigger glittering prizes.

When was the last time you seen something dangerous in an art gallery that wasn’t a health and safety breach?

how the retail craft industry exploits fear and anxiety.



You have to admit as a title it certainly grabs your attention! And now I am going to have to back it up.

I don’t have any answers here and like I say I can’t get arrested as a bookbinder.

When ever I see a list of top tips from experts on how to submit craft work to craft shops and galleries the first thing I want to see on that list is how the shop works out how they mark up the price. How much are they going to charge you for rent?

I am going to out and have a play on the allotment, (thinking of which when was the last time you ‘played’?)
But in between the weeding and construction I am going to think real hard about the fear and loathing and branding in the phoney baloney craft world.