Growlygracepress's Blog

the handsome book.
September 26, 2019, 9:23 am
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I think that in making a book my responsibility is to use my skills to make the book as handsome as I possibly can. The cover is one thing but the endpapers are a gift. I used to always have black laid paper and I would also have a book cloth strip for strength. I have placed the cloth strip behind the coloured sheet. I also like the endpapers to be different at each end. I paint with intense inks on to a good 50% paper and it’s 300 gms which is a bit to heavy as I am going to paste it to the first and last leaf of the block and it’s 220gms.

Things I am looking to change in bookbinding is a new source of paper to bind. At one time paper was the easiest thing in the world to buy. Pick up the phone and talk to the paper merchant and paper would arrive. In fact the paper merchants would phone you regularly just to update you with new papers. But now paper firms are online and the companies have closed down or joined up with others and have new names and worse of all they don’t want to sell small amounts of paper. My local company was happy to sell me 5 reams of Sra 2 and a sales rep would drop it off.

After I tackle of horror of the paper merchants I need to have the guillotine repaired. Again it was easy I would go to the ‘saw doctors’ at the top of Westgate Hill Road beside the Big Lamp and it used to be a bank and I would watch them sharpen the blade with incredible machinery they charged me a few quid and I was good to go. They closed down ages ago.

Now the blade needs to have a new section welded to lengthen it. It actually needs a new blade but it’s very old possibly Victorian and I cant buy one of the shelf nor can I find a company that will make me one for sensible money.

These are not massive problems and if you throw enough money at a thing it will get solved. I am just dragging my feet.



what if I make a book every day?
September 13, 2019, 11:06 am
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I had this sudden idea the other day and it’s this one of my better ones ‘what if I made a book every day’ if you stick to smallish books and have a stash of goatskin and had tons of ideas then would it not be worth the time and effort just to bash them out.

I’ve been doing this three days running and working with a book that has got boards and springs and I have prepared all the cut outs and prepared the leather I can get the cover and designs on in just over two hours.

Part of this new thinking was when I was on my allotment a couple of weeks ago I was struck by the thought that I could easily turn my back and walk away and not come back.

There is nothing to fear about a ‘new thought’ from ‘apparently nowhere’ sometimes allotments are unhappy places people get ill and die, plants don’t perform the way you want them, sometimes it’s hard bloody work staying on top of things and the summer can be ‘short’ and don’t get me started on the politics.

I am going to be more effective on the use of my time on the garden and the bookmaking is coming first. I can be at my bench at 7.30 bind up a storm go off do a bit at the garden and in the afternoon do a bit of preparing book materials, sewing blocks, cutting up stuff.

The other thing I am going today is review all my thoughts and ideas about the teaching of bookbinding, the materials, the tools, the actual practice and how to get better.

You might not need a sewing frame….


back at the bench
September 11, 2019, 9:12 am
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Lots and lots of things happened to my bookbinding the biggest thing was I got a massive great big allotment and I really got stuck in to it. It seemed a lot easier.

Years ago I would get commissioned by artists to make books and it would just tick over I would make the books that I wanted and it was fine. I did some sales in shops and in esty and I didn’t need the money because I am a wife and I do the house, dog and garden thing and occasionally I would get a teaching gig and it was fine. Still is fine.

In the garden I discovered that I really liked the growing to scale I would grow massive amounts of broccoli beds and beds of it. Ridiculous amounts of cauliflowers. I counted 95 tomato plants and I lost 40 of them to blight. Didn’t care about losing them. I will try again next year.

In bookbinding I found out that I rather liked making loads of books at once. I was making groups of books and I would not finish them because until the leather goes on its just paper, glue, boards and linen thread. Costs next to nothing. The leather is where the money is and I could not use the leather on books that were not going to be sold.

But I started again and I put calf leather on this little book and fact is it’s a little bit rough I need it to be a little bit smother. But it’s going in the right direction.

So I am going to go have a quick look at the tomatoes then I am going to make some more books.