Growlygracepress's Blog

surprising myself
March 21, 2016, 9:30 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: ,


I’ve been to London for a quick visit where I did a serious amount of art galleries. The stuff I had worked out for my self in my early teens is still solid thirty years later. I knew I was right then and I am still right now. I am absolutely fine about dropping out of my art history degree. I  would have not gained anything after the first year and the morsels I got have sustained me for decades.

When it get right down to it EH Gombrich is wasted on teenagers you need to live a bit to totally get it, where as I can’t read John Berger at all now but at the time when I was very young I felt that he saved my life.

When I was at the British Library I went to see the Gospel of  Saint Cuthbert because I have just stepped off a train from the north east and it would be rude not to say hello. I had a little ‘hinny’ book because I show it to my sister (I took her hostage to shops and galleries) and it felt totally all right to take the little ‘hinny book’ and compare and contrast it to the heart stopping beauty of the little gospel book. I was reaching out to the bookbinder who made the book and wanted to gain an insight in to how to develop my techniques.

It was a bit bold but the insights I gained are priceless.

I seen a Sybil Pye binding I have only seen photographs and I was shocked by the size of it. I had assumed that her books would have been massive but the one I seen was small I just was not prepared for the size.

I’ve been occupied by the new allotment and I have not been at my bench. I would love to have a proper, full fat and real commission. I can just about imagine what it would be like to make a book like that and perhaps I can do it.

I think I am going to to pretend I am the bookbinder who made the gospel that was placed in the grave of St Cuthburt. and there no harm in pretending that.


While on the train I did read over my notes on the mythical bookbinding handout and I’ve really done the writing part I just need to type it up.



love bombing at the bookbinding workshops
March 9, 2016, 8:04 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: ,


On my next bookbinding workshop I am going to give the people who attend a little pack of  book plates / title labels and they are going to be all lovely and embossed.


Best off all I am going to make a little envelope to contain them.


My lovely sister is taking me to London for a jolly jaunt and I have a first class ticket on the way back. This means that there is the slightest possibility that I might do some work on the legendary bookbinding handout. ( I can only ‘work’ in first class carriage when I get complementary gin and tonics)


My usual excuse of not having a copy of ‘word’ on the computer has failed as I understand that my husband’s new mac has it installed. I really must do my hand out it would be a bit of a laugh.



working with tools
March 7, 2016, 9:22 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,


Sometimes it takes effort to practice with a new tool. I have a tendency to treat a new tool like a toy and have a quick play with it and put it aside and I rediscover it and wonder why I haven’t done any thing with it. Sometime I know the tool with expose some ropey technique and I have not put in nearly enough practice and I am exposed as a rubbish bookbinder! All I have to do is love the task a bit more.

Towards the end of last year after thinking really hard, reading a great deal and then spending some money I invested in a new piece of equipment and I considered myself well and truly sorted. I was elated I was going around actually telling people that I had made a massive breakthrough in an approach to bookbinding and I was really excited by the results.  As I was working through a series of experiments and exercises other problems would present and a solution found by buying another piece of equipment and that requires more time to get it’s use integrated in to my practice.

This means that I have equipment, tools, a new model of working and I am trying to generate ideas and models at the same time I need to actually finish a sequence of books and plan the next one.

Around all this bookbinding excitement I got a new allotment.

On one hand I have an emerging new bookbinding paradigm on the other hand I have been given the best allotment in the world. I am obviously exaggerating and ‘paradigm’ is way to fancy a word to use when all I have done if found a way to cut out leather with a die and have bought a new paring machine.

I would post photographs of the allotment but they will not do it justice. Allotments are sad things at this time of the year, they are still asleep and are just a whole big heap of maintenance tasks. I can see about 500 little tasks that won’t make any difference at all.

I just look in a direction and see the next task and I go to Wilkinson’s and buy part of the solution. I made it more simpler by asking how they solved a problem and I just go and buy that.

Rusty dexion strips in the greenhouse staging that’s easy go buy a can of Hammerite and paint it. You need to grow hundreds and hundreds of plants that’s easy go and buy packs of plastic cups 100 for £1. Yes that is capillary matting being used as insulation behind the bubble wrap on a greenhouse wall.

An allotment is a great big area of demonstrating techniques and ability and practice.

The garden has to be fully planted and the beds have to be clean and free of weeds.

The paths must be free of clutter. The buildings must be fully maintained.

One of the things I inherited is a collection of old gardening tools and when I go down to the allotment the first thing I do is I take a tool, sand down the wooden handle and treat it with linseed oil. They tools have been selected by someone who had a keen eye for unusual tools that do a specific task. I win. The tools live to fight another day.

I have three wheel barrows. One is fine, one needs it’s tyre inflating the other needs a replacement tyre. I know where the pump is and I have been given the tyre replacement.

So far I have counted ten watering cans but that could change.

Before I go down for a session of metal painting I think I am going to make a book with skeletons on the cover.

I smell of Jayes Fluid and paraffin.