Growlygracepress's Blog

small but perfectly formed.
September 25, 2014, 8:53 am
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This fresh batch of tiny books are actually quite good.
I am given to the thought of making some that can be used as Christmas tree decorations. Because people need a reason to buy an item. Hanging a little book from a Christmas tree can be that reason.

I took your love, not your life.
September 25, 2014, 8:28 am
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This was a series of books I made last year and I was really happy with them. That ‘was’ is a bit of a weasel word. But I really ‘did’ love them. They have the best ever edge colouring I have ever achieved.




The marbled paper on the sides is I believe the best in the world. The leather is the best goat skin on the market and the raised bands truly suck big style.

So I killed them.


I am going do some more sanding and filling and I’ll come up with a cover design that at least honours them. These books strength come from their size and weight.

When I pulled the leather of them I could see that the ‘raised bands’ I intended would have been much thiner and not as rustic. The leather was a little bit too thick.
I should have known.

Practicing my practice.
September 22, 2014, 8:22 am
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My husband is having guitar lessons and his teacher told him on Friday that he expects that in a years time if he keeps on course he will be able to play the solo in ‘Black Dog’

If I thought I could get a teacher like that who could teach me bookbinding I would sign up in heartbeat.

This is what David is doing. He practices every week day morning for over an hour, he practices when he comes home from work in the evening. He has long practice sessions on a Saturday and on a Sunday. He practices what his teacher wants him to work on. He uses dvd’s, books and computer software to augment his development. He is serious, motivated and committed to making progress.

I have been thinking how this approach would work for me if I had a similar bookbinding teacher. In the discussions leading up to committing to lessons I would out line what I wanted to learn, where my strengths, weaknesses and skills were and what I want to achieve.

I would identify that bookbindings that I admire and I would set out to achieve them with the assistance of the teacher.
If I practice the skills and develop an understanding of the techniques and I put the time in and my progress is critically accessed by a teacher each week and if I am committed to learning and to progress. Then I might be able to knock out a reasonable copy of a design that is similar to Sybil Pye who is the Jimmy Page of bookbinding.




I think I can develop this concept a bit further and I think that I might get some insight and I will certainly get results.

I hope the dead rat has gone away.
September 19, 2014, 8:21 am
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I found a dead rat out side my poly tunnel entrance yesterday afternoon. The only plastic bag I had was one of the dog’s ‘poo bags’ and they are really thin and cheap and really nasty. They are bad enough to use for picking up dog poo so picking up a cold and stiff rat is going to be right out of the question. I did think about getting a shovel and launching the poor dead thing in to the deep long grass but it’s not very lady like and what if I got the trajectory wrong and somehow it landed on me. It could happen.
So I am going to go and deal with it now.

I shall come back and contemplate the books on my bench I shall be giving though to book murdering.

On weather vanes
September 18, 2014, 9:09 am
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The best art I have seen in ages was deep in the bowels of a museum in Edinburgh in a section on religion I happened on this.

It’s a bit good. Its a weathercock from St Ninian’s Church in North Leith. This goes with it.

They have been made from copper sheet and originally would have been gilded. It dates back to the 17th century.

It’s a helluva thing.

Now I have been getting steadily alarmed by the near extinction of people who make things by hand. I am a novelty act. You want a big book with a dirty talk on the title look no further I am your woman.

This is what I’ve been reading this week.


“the unsophisticated arts” by Barbara Jones this is a collection of articles from the Architectural Review in the 1950’s She is recording and drawing all sorts of items that were at one time commonplace.

Shop signs, fairground rides, narrow boats decoration, love tokens, butter moulds, puppets, horse brasses the list goes on and on.

The other books are English popular and traditional art by Margaret Lambert and illustrated by Enid Marx.

Same ground is covered it’s obvious that in the 1950’s and 60s this stuff was about to be swept away with a vengeance.

And so it came to pass.

either toe the line or blow it.
September 18, 2014, 8:19 am
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This is the leather which has been pressed with a plate I have made of a reverse of the letters for the title. I can see where I can place the letters and then I will back pare the leather.


The letters have been pasted on and need to dry out a bit before I trim the leather down.
Yes I know what you are thinking it’s ‘questionable’ and ‘poor taste’ and I am making it for my own amusement. But I am really charmed by the notion of the ‘truthful book’ I really should be working on a series of little books for gardeners because Christmas is coming and them unwanted gifts aren’t going to made by themselves.
But for today I am going with truth.

How I put a title on a book spine.
September 17, 2014, 10:49 am
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I like great big books, the bigger the better, weapon sized, books of fear and doom, big fuck off books.
I’ve been working on tiny things for far too long.


I mean it’s nice enough and all that but when it comes down to it nothing makes a statement like a big book.


This book was so big that I had to stand on my toes just to sew it up. I want to make books so big that an entire cow is needed to wrap it in leather.


The ruler shows the scale of the size of the book.


It’s thick and has a coloured edge. Always a win.


This is some of the cut outs that I’ve done for the title.

I am going to cut out the title in a thinly pared leather.
I have made a die where I have cut out the letters and placed them on a strip of board. I have reversed the letters.


Then I am going to dampen covering leather, place the die and some cling film on the leather and give it a quick nip in the press.
So I will have a guide as to where I am going to place the set of letters that I have cut out and will stick on to the leather.
I know it sounds so confusing. I cut out two sets of letters of glued down card and one set of letters on pared down leather.


I will explain it all over again when I do some more work on it.