Growlygracepress's Blog

The loveliness of Jeffrey papers on a book.
March 30, 2015, 8:04 am
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These papers are just beautiful and I can not do justice to them.

my bench on a Monday morning
March 30, 2015, 8:00 am
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It’s a bit of a mess. What you can see is my recent experiments with oak boards and metal patches. You can see my latest and most perfect ‘toy’ the most beautiful box of watercolour paints that was ever made. There are random packets of seeds as I have stated to plant seedlings for the allotment.


Once I have cleared away the clutter on the bench I am going to go down to the allotment and prepare the poly tunnel for the all the little pots of vegetables I have started and the house is bursting at the seams with tomatoes, chard, cabbages, Brussels sprouts and peppers and I need to clear away the space so I can start even more stuff.
I got given a greenhouse last year and we dismantled it and put off the truly awful task of levelling the ground and creating the foundations so we could put it up. I really understand hindsight now. I have a deep appreciation of how when I finish a greenhouse task I can thing of at least three better ways to have done it. The steep learning curve that was provided by brick laying is a case in point. The shed building is child’s play in comparison. When you see a man lay bricks he makes it look so easy and it is the very opposite. It’s very difficult and don’t care how awful it looks as long as it’s level and I can stick some wood on the bricks and then attach the base of the greenhouse to it then put the greenhouse back together.


The good thing that happened with the green house is that I scored a couple of teaching gigs way back in December and I can afford to put polycarbonate panels rather than the evil that is greenhouse glass.
Will rant about bookbinding techniques for plastic.

recent work.
March 30, 2015, 7:24 am
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Here is six little books with flowers. Although I am absolutely in love with black leather I think people may be put off by it sombre quality they don’t exactly sing out with joy. The next series of books will be overflowing with radiant joy.

We don’t have enough Paisley Pattern in our lives.
March 10, 2015, 8:21 am
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I found this remnant of fabric languishing outside a vintage shop yesterday it cost a £1 I am going to back it with a strong paper and use it either for a cover or for a cloth joint on ‘made endpapers’ it depends how much it frays.

making hand decorated endpapers on a Monday morning.
March 9, 2015, 9:52 am
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These are endpapers I am putting together for a ‘beauty book’ they are hand painted and stamped and are asymmetric and they are a start that I mean to go along.

These are the books I am excited by this week.
March 6, 2015, 10:55 am
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It’s a good solid series of books. I am in love with one of them so much I may have to go out the house with it and have a cup of coffee in a cafe. Me and the book would be on a date.

So get your coat ‘English bookbinding styles 1450 – 1800’ you have scored.
For the very life of me I don’t know why I have not read this book before. I was kinda vaguely aware of it but never made the time to get to know it. It’s beautiful and unfortunately now very expensive so I will never own it. I shall keep it out the library a very long time and I shall introduce it to it’s proper soul mate.


I am unashamedly utterly captivated by Emily Dickinson and I am now going to build a collection of books for my shrine. I have started with ‘The Gardens of Emily Dickinson’ because I seen it at a great price and I have a vague intention to do some ‘stuff’ with flowers.

I have just bought ‘Bound’ am searching for a entry level bookbinding book that I can wave about at a workshop, tip out a bag of books I have made from the book and suggest that the students go and buy the book, these here tools and that there materials and teach them selves how to bind books. I don’t care for exposed spine sewing and I hate that whole recycled, reworked vintage shit but it floats a lot of boats for some people. The instructions on sewing alone is worth buying for. Clear and precise most excellent.

I have “Under the influence John Deakin, photography and the lure of Soho” this is one of the most beautifully photography produced book I have seen in my life there is such honour on show here that it makes me want to cry.

The power of making.


I have taken it for granted for so very long that when it comes to sewing a book I sew on to tapes which I cut from a sheet of tyvek and I don’t need to use a sewing frame. I have a very proper and ancient sewing frame it’s an absolute monster, a positive whopper and it lives on the top shelf with lots of other heavy bits of equipment.


There it is lurking at the back. Being awkward.

One of the reasons why bookbinding equipment is so expensive is that it made to be used in a professional setting and could mean that the equipment could be in use every day so the sewing frame needs to be robust, have the capacity to allow for the sewing of very large books and that the binder might want to sew multiple books one after the other on the same sewing supports. Hence the the ‘awkward’.

I want to sew little ‘beauty books’


And I want to sew on to ‘cords’ so I need a sewing frame and I decided that I would just bash one together from the ‘materials at hand’ this means that all the materials must be at hands length from the bench and no comparisons or considerings. Just bash, bash, bash and job done.
So I made this.


I thought of how it would work and what size it should be and how I could solve the hardest part of it and proceeded to manufacture it.
It’s not pretty and I can’t saw straight but it will do the job I intend it to do. I might at some point make a beautiful one but then again this one works.

When I thought about the process of making the sewing frame what I found surprising was that it was the making of the allotment shed that made it possible. It’s possible to view shed building as a deceleration of war or at the very least a statement of intention. I seriously recommend that you take the opportunity to make a big structure that is water tight and secured by a door. It’s massively empowering one of the best learning experiences I have ever engaged with. I have never have felt the need to swim with a dolphin or climb a mountain but I believe these to be over rated compared to the simple pleasure of building a shed.