Growlygracepress's Blog

Breaking down the walls of craft ache.


This is what I am going to be working on in the next couple of weeks if you want me to make you a book (I guarantee you that I am a gazillion times better than moleskine or any mass produced book in the market place)

More Geordie terms of endearment, letterpress cards of Thomas Bewick and Joseph Crawhall engravings, a rash assortment of books with ‘fuck’ on the boards, a series of books that are about the phoney baloney surrounding artist books, going back to my roots with a series of ‘thinking is drawing’


more of this as well


and lets get stuck in to some righteous Books of Hate.


I failed miserably to get a table at the local church craft faire. I was planning to bind up a storm for it as well.



painting endpapers
May 22, 2014, 9:38 am
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I like painting endpapers as I want the endpapers to be as dramatic as an overture. I think I will make some printing plates so I can get some big bold Alexander Girard shapes on to paper.

I will also be looking in to photographs printed on to canvas as well but thats for another time.

I have these which I shall use to make a new and different type of book.


What I mean by different is I am going to go back and look books where I was initially excited by the design or concept but for some reason I failed to make progress. Probably because I fear of being exposed for poor workmanship or I got colours really wrong.

My name is Deirdre and I have the best ideas in the world.


I have spent the morning preparing to do some printing only to discover that I had actually had started the project and had put it aside like some piece of knitting.

Annoying it was unfinished and I still have to do some more work on it but I was pleased to see that the plates I was setting up to print were the same ones that I had actually printed.

I own gazillions of photopolymer plates of Bewick and Crawhall engravings I play with them like children play with toy cars and I treat them the same way as well.

So proof that my ideas are strong and can survive not being written down and have an action plan. But it would be so much easier if I had a register of my ideas and a tick box if I have actually finished them.

This morning I went out to buy washing up liquid to clean the press and I was thinking about the church craft fare and I thought about a little book I could sell at it called “my fucking amazing ideas” and I was really excited about the little book but it took a bit to register that perhaps this might not be the best venue to launch it.

I love my ideas and if I could get paid for coming up with shit it would be great. Perhaps the next best thing is to put the ideas on a book and sell the book.

I know that I want to make a series / edition of books and I don’t know where they could be sold. I know that they are bookshops that specialise in selling artist books but I am not and never have been a book artist.

I think the artist bookshops might be the better fit for my books. So I have got a pile of photos and prints together and I think I need to write a little bit of what I do and I’ll send it off and see what happens.


I am going to go out and have a dig but I will be thinking really hard about ‘my fucking amazing ideas’


Strike a pose.
May 21, 2014, 7:52 am
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When I tell people that I am a bookbinder they very rarely understand or comprehend what bookbinding is. I explain that I sew folded sections of paper and cover the boards with leather. This can cause more confusion in that think that I then write in them and they can’t get their silly heads around that idea of a book with blank pages.

I have seen people become quite agitated at the very notion of writing ideas and thoughts down in a bound book.

The other week I told a young man that I was a bookbinder and he looked really confused and spoke to me like I had special needs and said that he had a couple of books that could do with a repair and I could fix them if I wanted. Like I was a sad old thing that needed help.

Obviously I told him where to stick his broken books.

I am seriously thinking of doing a craft fare in a local church. If no one challenges the established craft market with it’s rank rubbish then they win.

I am a novelty act.

There is a way to be good again.
May 20, 2014, 9:13 am
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I came across this book I made ages ago. I like books to be good, honest and true. I want the title to state it’s case clear and precisely.

I am going to go about my business today thinking precisely about the way to be good again and I am going to get back to you on it.

the rule of the bland
May 19, 2014, 9:56 am
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I got all excited there I seen a tweet about a shop selling hand picked and hand made items and I thought perhaps I can sell my books there and when I looked at the site it has a riot of twee and beige. Well I say riot more like an ‘under whelming’ of recycled kraft paper and objects with bloody birds on them and way, way too much use of a sewing machine.

I fear I am going to end up as an ‘outsider’ bookbinder like a woman who has far to many cats I am going to have too many leather bound unsaleable books each of them getting madder and angrier.

Strengthening the spine.
May 16, 2014, 7:54 am
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My responsibility in making a book is to strengthen the weaknesses that are caused by the materials and construction techniques. I do this by using the most appropriate materials for the job, materials that have not been messed around with by which I mean unbleached canvas and linen.

I build up strength in the spine by layering it with scrim, kraft paper, canvas or leather. Sometimes I have repeatedly add layers of pva.

I am developing my techniques and methods of producing ten books at a time. I think I would benefit from a press that will allow me to work on the spines or I could colour and burnish the edges.

So I went off to buy some wood to make a glueing press and I also bought a big pile of pressing boards as well. Today I am going to go on a trek to buy the threaded bar to hold the whole thing together.

One of the most useful things you can have in bookbinding is stacks of pressing boards and stacks of metal sheets.

‘Cockerell’s remarkable handbook’
May 14, 2014, 10:35 am
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Sybil Pye taught herself bookbinding from ‘Bookbinding and the Care of Books’ by Douglas Cockerell first published in 1901.

I have just bought a new edition of it mainly because my copy is a stinky and nasty edition printed during the second world war it’s horrid and is going in the bin as soon as I find it. Death to Books!

I am going to submerge myself in my new edition.

I am going to think about how I can bind a book which is the polar opposite to the kind of book I am making now.

How would I recognise it?

What qualities would it exhibit that my current style doesn’t have?

Would I like it?

handsome chaps in new leather covers.
May 13, 2014, 10:30 am
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The leather gods were smiling on me yesterday and I managed to get the leather on these two books even though I began the job late in the afternoon.
One I’ve got the leather on, the corners sorted, the groves pressed with a knitting needle, the head caps moulded and the spine tied up I leave the books to settle.
Then I wait until a 90 minute long television drama comes on preferably with a very smart old women solving a crime and I get the books, some gin and tonic and I polish them.

a good and useful tool.
May 13, 2014, 8:56 am
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Work goes well if the tools are functioning properly and they need to be sharp. What I like about it is that it is small enough to fit in my pocket.
I need a new pocket knife and I am just starting to look at potential candidates. All my folding knives have silly little blades useless for cutting anything on an allotment.
“Call that a knife?” springs unbidden to my mind.