Growlygracepress's Blog

Craft Lab!


I take it all back my shining academy on the hill is not going to happen instead I’ll launch ‘craft lab!’ it’s going to have ‘pop ups’ and hang out with the ‘makers’ it will be based in a ‘container’ in the Ouseburn.

It will be funky yet traditional.

The North of England Academy of bookbinding!
October 31, 2013, 9:01 am
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Thats my ‘project’ right there I am going to launch my Academy of Bookbinding, I’ll get to have loads and loads of funding meetings, will network up the yazoo and eventually after a lot of blood sweat and tears I’ll have a shining Academy.

I’ll offer a one year full time bookbinding course make it studio based with the students in little bookbinding dens and lots of little courses lasting a couple of days at a time. I’ll have access course that people can drop in to when they want.

I’ll tie in with the local universities, schools and colleges and I’ll do loads and loads of book art stuff.

It being the north east I will directly link in with the whole Lindisfarne Gospel band wagon with my celtic book division. Obviously I’ll have some calligraphy and illumination going down.

I’ll probably have my Academy in the Ouseburn which will be handy for my outpost at Newcastle’s Lit and Phil which is good for ambiance and dusty old books that need repaired.

Bookbinding will be the new rock and roll in Newcastle!

Obviously I am going to do no such thing I don’t have rocks in my head.

I did think about it yesterday as I had a couple of conversations with young women who having finished their degrees in serious debt still don’t have skills that will allow them to make their way in the world.

Two things came up and one of them is that there is a need for a full time course in crafts that teach just enough skills that you can launch a small business in.
It needs skills, critical appraisal, dose of art and design history and entrepreneur chops.
I’ll through in cake making on a Wednesday afternoon regular choir singing and visits to all the art galleries.
Whats not to like!

I would charge £10,000 for the year and they would have to work really hard. Really hard.

I am going to a meeting in a couple of hours were I am actually pitching something else. But if I was a bit younger, had hair, had some diplomacy chops, if I was actually really nice and caring.

I would have done it.

pleased as punch
October 29, 2013, 8:11 am
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This boy practically bound himself up he was in such a hurry to prove how handsome he is.
And he is.
I just need to ensure that he is not encumbered by heavy and thick boards that will crush him.

He is a bonny lad.

The bench goes on forever.
October 29, 2013, 8:04 am
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I touched on the idea yesterday. How do you approach 100 sheets of A2, a sheet of tyvek, 5 sheets of coloured paper for end papers, 2 sheets of kraft paper, one meter of scrim,
one sheet of bristol board, mill board and grey board.
Tub of paste and tub of pva and leather and linen.

How do you maximise the time to achieve the most efficient work flow?

You don’t make one book after another.
How long does it take to chop up the materials?
What component parts are made first?
Are all the books the same size?
Do you cut the materials to minimise waste?
Should you make tiny books?

apropos of nothing


As I was making up my books this morning a couple of things occur to me.

I am aware that my bookbinding can sometimes be described as rustic. Think wholewheat bread with extra added sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, some pine kernels and a spoonful of molasses for added colour. It’s a bit dense and will keep you warm in winter. It’s not the kinda bookbinding that could be mistaken for refined cucumber sandwiches if thats not pushing the metaphor to far.

The other big thought that happened is that I want to make 100 books all at once.

I want to know how you would start to make 100 books, how look would it take and at what stage would you actually start sewing the books up.

How much would it cost for a 100 sheets of paper, some coloured papers for endpapers, scrim, boards, tyvek, kraft paper, thread, leather a tub of pva and a tub of paste.

I reckon thats at least £50 plus the leather.

Might be a bit of a laugh.

how exactly does a handmade object communicate love?
October 28, 2013, 9:09 am
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A couple of things are going on here.

First off the object itself is signalling like mad. It’s positively screaming BUYME!!!!! So we know that it’s a distinctive little thing. It’s a given that it’s little, has to be, it has to be lifted and appraised.

I reckon that the sweet spot in the appraising is the distance between the object in the hand and the distance form the eye.

It has to be honest and show it’s strengths, no weakness on display. It’s got to be strong and it gets it’s strength because all aspects of it are in harmony with each other.

Even before we get to the killer ‘judging the book by the cover’ the book has to feel right in the hand, the best possible materials are used, the leather is not to thick, the boards are balanced. It might not be ‘love’ but at the very least the book has to say ‘I won’t let you down’

I have recently overdosed on the film of ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’ and one of the scenes I come back to time and time again is George Smiley questioning of Toby Esterhase and it ends up with Toby pleading through snot and tears ‘I am loyal’ and perhaps just maybe it’s the promise of loyalty that we as grown up people want.

The little book has to be loyal and it gets that through the materials that it made from. These materials have been respected and the techniques that are used are appropriate.

The construction methods imbue strength and sincerity.

I am off to my bench to make a loyal little book.


asymmetric tongue extrusion.
October 27, 2013, 12:55 pm
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Grace looking daft.

But I want a lot of things baby!
October 27, 2013, 8:45 am
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One of the things I absolutely hate and detest is business promotional material. I seen a massive big table of it the other day and I was gripped by the idea of getting an enormous big black bin bag and sweeping the whole lot in to it. When I chased the thought back it was because thats what I instinctually do to the stuff that comes through the letter box.

I am pretty sure that is not what the intention of the advertising : I see this piece of paper and I need to put it immediately in the bin. Epic fail.

The photo is my idea of business promotional material.
Now I know what you are thinking, it says nothing of bookbinding and the photo is a bit blurry. But it’s a work in progress and I’ll get better at it and I find away of printing a photo of Grace that works.

I am also going to use this stuff as well.


highfalutin and and pretty pretentious about it.
October 27, 2013, 8:28 am
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This is my bench. It’s amazing that anything is actually accomplished here but there is a method going on.

Years ago when I ran away and worked in a library the librarian would say ‘Go and make the books straight and smart like soldiers’ and I asked were to start and she said ‘000 and work you way around’ and that was my job every Friday morning. I would make all the books on the shelfs nice and it would take till lunch time.

It’s aways good to know were to start and to work around.

I start by what is nearest my left hand and move around.


This is my favourite boy on the bench at the moment.


twin books


awaiting boards



these make me grin like the proverbial alsatian.

I know where am going and Kathleen Ferrier is my homey
October 25, 2013, 7:38 am
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Lets start with a little bit of Kathleen Ferrier on a very cold morning that can only be made better by eating my own weight in toast.

This is my bench this morning, everything is in play and I am making 36 books. It’s easy to just to continue with the journey and delay the destination. The book isn’t really made until it gets its cover on. On of the delaying tactic I engage with is not finishing work. I go and start another series of books rather than complete the one I am working on.

One thing that is beneficial is not making ‘to do’ lists they are a form of tamed hysteria. I am striving to having a cleaner bench but it’s hard and it’s bookbinding not neurosurgery.