Growlygracepress's Blog

‘To give your designs freely and to take friendship in return’.
February 28, 2017, 11:03 am
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I have though right from the very beginning that John Ryder’s Printing for Pleasure is one of the most profound books on ‘doing’ that has been published. As a book it’s a touchstone for me I need to know where it actually is on a shelf at at one time as I might ‘need’ to read it. I have missed train stops because of it.

If I could strip down the fundamental wisdom and rewrite it as Bookbinding for Pleasure it would not have the charm and flow but I wouldn’t mind having a try.

I went down to the greenhouse to read it because I just got an ‘adanagram’ from the wonderful Alan Brignull and I like to read special stuff in good locations.


Espresso pot meet Paraffin stove.


Allotments look desolate in the winter.
February 28, 2017, 9:47 am
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It is a truth universally acknowledged that allotments look sad in the winter, they look neglected and unloved. Some of them have been ‘left’ since September when the plot holders just walk away only to come back in the Easter bank holidays to clear up green houses of dead tomato plants. The only regulars on the site are the ones who are heating their greenhouses with the evil paraffin heaters.

But this is the busiest time of the year, I am completing massive refurbishing projects, I am painting everything that needs painting. I have insulated the poly tunnel so I can store seedlings at the end of March and they will be safe from frost. I need storage as I am going to grow a lot of onions, leeks and shallots.


Here’s a little robin I seen the other day.

I believe in the creative forces of destruction.
February 28, 2017, 9:36 am
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These are not your granddad’s bookbinding tools. They are on the bench so I could take the photo. I used them last week and had an great time. I wake every morning and address a problem and the one that I wanted to solve last week had been intractable for ages.

I have an upholstered arm chair in the living room that is not used for sitting in and it’s primary purpose is as a crap magnate. At any one time it would be holding many hats, coats, copies of the previous week’s Sunday Times, lunch boxes, books and just stuff. It had to go but it won’t fit in the car and I would have to move many hundreds of books to get it out the door only for the council to take a month to move it and charge me at least £25.

So I decided to take it apart in situ and get it in to car boot size chunks. I got the tools from the allotment shed and put on Radio 4 to listen to the ten past eight interview and went to work I broke of to return to the shed to get another tool and worked cooly and methodically in taking to chair apart. I finished the dissection at 12.30

It was an exhilaration.

I’ve got a difficult relationship with bookbinding at the moment. The work area is still in uproar, eighteen months spent improving techniques and methods brought around the unintentional consequence of slashing my retail prices to the point of not covering my materials costs. I am giving serious consideration of just making garden note books and saying I am going to make a couple of dozen a year stop me and buy one in esty or what ever it’s called.

Anyway back to the slaughter of the arm chair. I cut away all the layers put all the stuffing in to bin bags and hoovered up the work area several times, got the chair down to it’s wooden frame and got all the springs and metal out and then used the saw to get in to parts after that I used the crowbar very gently to break it down some more.

It would have been easy to get stuck in and smash it up but I took my time and had an enjoyable experience in engaging with fabrication, appreciating the strengths and weaknesses.

Sometimes destruction is a force of good.

last night a bookbinder saved my life.
February 10, 2017, 9:12 am
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This is going to the usual shopping list of whining and bitching so look away now if you are tired of this shit. I think I am going to give up on trying to make a bound book  ‘product’ to sell in shops. The industrial military complex of craft shops are about the profit margins of craft shops. The craft fares are about the selling of table spaces. I don’t even begin to understand what artist books are about. I don’t like being instructed by artists who are contemptuous of technical skills and who are dismissive of ‘trade’.

So what I am going to do make the books I want to make and give them away. I’ve got tools, materials and time. I will need to do a paper order at some point but that’s about £100 and I might get a workshop which will cover costs.

I am going to stop making the little books and go back to making big massive books with great big bold statements with clear intentions.

I am going to make books with covers that are from the Lindisfarne and Kells gospels.

Now I have that of my chest I am going to the greenhouse and turn off a parafin heater.