Growlygracepress's Blog

my tool of the year.
December 25, 2013, 10:13 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , ,



When I am being charitable to myself I would describe my binding as a bit ‘rustic’


The measurements and weights of the boards, blocks, leather can be ‘out’ and the book is a bit lumpen and it’s ill considered, over engineered and at times quite frankly scary.

Once I had created a book that has in balance.


I was able to take super accurate measurements and recreated the book.

This process had evaded me.

I feel a Hound of Heaven moment coming on!

“I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind; and in the midst of tears
I hid from Him, and under running laughter”

Anyway I am able to take control of dimensions now.
That and I bought very thin grey board and laminate them with kraft paper and pva to get them to a thickness that works for the book.


literarily failed to fix the roof when the sun shined.
December 25, 2013, 9:47 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , ,


When the wretched shed was blown down on the allotment and we needed to dismantle the remains and get rid of the contents. Another allotment holder pointed out that the allotment that was one along from ours was in possession of a combined greenhouse and shed, why didn’t we make use of that until we cold build a shed on our own plot and we could get our vegetables started early in the greenhouse.

This allotment had been abandoned many years ago because of severe drainage problems we had heard that several attempts had been made but it’s utterly and completely broken.
It does have a busted up greenhouse and a watertight shed.

So we stuck our tools and materials in the shed and we would get around to securing the busted bits of the greenhouse. We took a lot of the weeds out and started to clean up the drainage ditches.

We didn’t really do anything about the roof because we didn’t understand the breadth and scope of the problem and in our real world our methods of problem solving come down to getting a man in to fix it, buy a replacement, take it to a man to fix it, don’t replace it and get the landlord to fix it.

There was a storm a couple of weeks ago it took out a pane of glass and it smashed in to the gatepost some yards away. There was now several windows missing and more damage could happen with a new storm.

We had to put in a repair that would last a couple of weeks until we could work out an efficient method to fix the whole roof that we could do for nothing.
We couldn’t fix the problem because we had no experience in the domain and we had no money.
We had been hoarding materials we had taken out of skips and bins and ‘found’ some estate agents ‘to let’ signs, we had invested in ‘greenhouse repair tape’ and staples and we hacked a repair to tide the roof over.

We got some money and bought a big length of thickish polythene and staple it to some wood, wind it around a couple of times and then we will nail it to the greenhouse taking it over the roof and nailing the plastic wrapped wood on the other side.

Thats what we are going to do this afternoon because the weather forecast says it’s going to be sunny.

Because you should always fix the roof when the sun shines.

the little wax animals of desire.


I have a silicon mould that is for making lollipops I use it to make these little wax animals. Waxing linen thread not only protects the thread but it stops it from knotting. But mainly it realises a lovely smell of honey in the air and in a cold January it’s practically summertime for a few seconds.

going up westgate hill road.
December 22, 2013, 9:48 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags:


I used to run a bookbinding workshop for students in the first week in January and around about this time I would walk up Westgate Hill Road to the timber merchants and buy wood and I would buy screws, washers and nuts and I would make these clamps.
The only thing I actually care about in doing workshops is that the people who attend actually walk away with enough tools, materials and working knowledge in order for them to make progress in bookbinding.
I presses allow the for the book to be glued, scrimed and a layer of kraft paper to be applies to the spine.


This is from a class a few years ago.

At this time of the year Westgate Hill is the coldest place possibly in the world and it can be bleak and miserable. I go pass the saw doctors where I used to take my guillotine blade to get sharped, the Greggs seconds shop which sells yesterdays bread and pies and I was once a grateful customer and on to the timber merchants who are incredibly helpful and accommodating.

I am not doing the workshop in January but I am burning to do the pilgrimage. I may just have to create a new press and have some pressing boards cut just to touch base.

On my bench.
December 20, 2013, 4:16 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: ,


I continue to prototype little books that are destined for a craft shop. They are going to cost practically nothing.
I am all right about letting my work go so cheaply because I have not compromised on technique or materials and it’s my best work.

I am going to imbue them with extra handmade goodness and make the little books proud.

All I know about is Newcastle, Allotments, Bookbinding, Dog Walking, Love and Flowers and thats a pretty good list. If I make books that encompass these things then surely I can make a living?

searching for the handmade rebels

Where have you hidden them I can’t find them any where?


I through out a thought the other day and it’s this notion that people are making things that owe more to IKEA’s look and feel but some how bypass that whole made in China in massive factories with computer controlled machines.


Somehow the simple ‘this is the way I make books’ is lost. Short of stamping ‘I’ve thought about this a lot’ on the front of the book I have to just let the simplicity of the materials talk and I have to strive to improve some of the detailing that lets me down.

Outside the craft markets and fairs there is not much handmade about. It’s getting scarce.

My fear is that it’s becoming sinister.

evicted books retuned to ever loving home.
December 18, 2013, 2:21 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,

I mentioned the other day that a couple of my books got evicted from a hive of creative commerce where they had been lounging about proving a bit of colour and terrifying the local virgins.

Babies won’t you come on home!


So proud of that bold Ann Muir marbled jacket.


Again an Ann Muir paper that celebrates the Harmatan goat skin.


Strong colours and thick boards.


Filthy language.


An endpaper so hardcore that it punches above it’s weight.

Welcome home you have been missed.