Growlygracepress's Blog

Going back to my roots.
November 24, 2014, 9:21 am
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I get surprised when people don’t understand what a bookbinder does. Someone said to me the other day ‘I don’t want to be ignorant but what’s a bookbinder’ part of the difficulty is they can’t get their head around the idea of a book with blank pages, I’ve seen people get really quite agitated that there is no ‘writing’ in the books, or that I have to fill the pages with prints.
I realise that some people have such a fear of thinking or having a record of a progression of thoughts that it just can’t be contemplated.
If I was in the artist book business I would restrict my ‘art’ to the cover / boards and the end papers that way the book might be useful even if it was for jotting down a shopping list.

The Triumph and Disaster Impostors.
November 24, 2014, 9:08 am
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I don’t think I am going to complete this book. I think just cutting out the letters and working with the leather to this stage was enough wound licking. Onwards and upwards.

In the summer time.


It’s damp and cold so lets remember a few months ago.



An allotment cat







My shed building continues to amuse and delight me. I bought some shed felt this morning and it was half price I was practically giddy with the excitement of it all.  I’ve been clearing some of the beds and cooking up the last of the beetroot, I have found some little growing cauliflowers that will be eaten in the early spring and I am going to go down and teach the fruit beds a lesson.

I might have some teaching gig soon so I may be able to afford to buy the pvc for the greenhouse windows and if I particularly lucky I might be able to get a little paraffin heater and some fleece to keep the plants warm.

determination and ambition
November 18, 2014, 11:41 am
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I reckon that if I work a bit harder at the ‘determination and ambition’ stuff I would see more ‘success and perfection’ I have surprised my husband by my shed building activities and he mentioned that he was struck by my determination to build the shed because he sees me as lacking in vitamin determination and he’s right I am determination deficient and I chronically lack ambition.

When I was counting the many ways of my failures the other day I realised that was making a massive category error in that I was ignoring the fantastic success of the allotment where I am insanely ambitious.

I am building a shed even though I have no woodworking skills and it’s going to be a great shed.

If I wanted to seriously study ‘New directions in bookbinding’ for the next three years I know I can.

I am off to town to look at shed felt. I remember I used to do a talk about doing bookbinding to architectural students they had to do a book project for their course and I would strongly suggest that they make the books out of building materials. Might do some shed books with the scraps.

the state of the union
November 18, 2014, 10:56 am
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I used to reread my favourite bookbinding instruction book ever year to make sure that I was doing it right and if I had strayed form the course was I justified. One of the other things I do is a make a book that is the culmination of all the ideas that I like about my own style and interpretation of bookbinding. This book is being made to express that.

It has painted endpapers and these are not matched. It has coloured edges. It has multiple silk ribbons.

It will have a flower on the cover.

New Directions in Bookbinding
November 18, 2014, 10:16 am
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When I was college studying bookbinding I was probably the only person who was using the library and there was this big section on bookbinding 686 if we want to be Dewy about it. I absolutely loved it. After I left college I set about buying the books that I really liked and one of the books that had eluded me for years was this one “New Directions in Bookbinding’ and I managed to buy this copy of ebay for £7.50.

It’s a very strange book. Look at the contents page.


This is the only book I know of that goes seriously looks at just how you develop a design for a cover of a bound book and Philip Smith backs his methods up further by showing the pages of his own note books.


It’s just an astonishing tour de force. It just might be the only book on bookbinding that you would ever need. If you seriously applied yourself to the book and if you could access a mentor then you might just be able to pull it off. It would be like training for the priesthood.

shiney books of leather
November 18, 2014, 9:15 am
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This is my stash of metallic finished pig skin. It’s just horrendous to pare. I am usually scarred by the experience it puts me off using it for years. This time it pared well only becoming objectionable when I tried to cut out the shape.


I have another try at this because I think it has some potential.