Growlygracepress's Blog

what if I make a book every day?
September 13, 2019, 11:06 am
Filed under: Uncategorized


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
Filed under: Uncategorized


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.

How I put a title on a book spine.
August 19, 2019, 2:22 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

back in the days when I bloged a lot more

Growlygracepress's Blog


I like great big books, the bigger the better, weapon sized, books of fear and doom, big fuck off books.
I’ve been working on tiny things for far too long.


I mean it’s nice enough and all that but when it comes down to it nothing makes a statement like a big book.


This book was so big that I had to stand on my toes just to sew it up. I want to make books so big that an entire cow is needed to wrap it in leather.


The ruler shows the scale of the size of the book.


It’s thick and has a coloured edge. Always a win.


This is some of the cut outs that I’ve done for the title.

I am going to cut out the title in a thinly pared leather.
I have made a die where I have cut out the letters and placed…

View original post 109 more words

I am still here.
June 25, 2019, 7:13 am
Filed under: Uncategorized


I am not dead or anything. I am trying very hard to plant out an allotment. You might think how hard can that even be. It’s very hard. You have to grow the plants, pot them on in to bigger and bigger pots and all this time you are keeping them warm and fed, protecting them from the critters that eat them and them you plant them in the ground making sure the right plant in to the right ground. No onions, garlic, leeks and shallots in that side because that where the ‘onion white rot’ is and the brassicas need to be ‘club root ristant’ except the ones which are not because you have been growing them for months and months and they are in five inch pots and have developed a big enough root ball that they just might be able to cope with the club root. Then when they do go in to the ground the whole bed has to be netted to stop birds and rats.

Luckly I was a bit behind with the planting out of onions and managed to miss ‘onion fly’ which several of neighbours fell victim to.

So what’s this to do with bookbinding? Everything and nothing.

It’s about the practice.

So I am going to go to the garden and plant out a section of dahlias, I am going to plant cauliflowers, the postman will be bring me dwarf beans that I will plant so I can dry them and use the beans for soup, I will be clear a leek trench and plant it with leeks.

I just might have this thing finished in the next couple of days.

When I wake up during the night I think about what I am going to make for dinner, what I am going to plant, the next argument with the allotment secretary and I think about what book I am going to bind and what it wil feel like to stand at my bench and make end papers and fold paper and make little books of the dead.

So it’s chicken stew, plant dahlias, just don’t talk to anyone on the allotment committee and go to the bench take a deep breath and fold some paper.


finding my way home
April 9, 2019, 7:05 am
Filed under: Uncategorized


I bumped in to a lovely woman in a supermarket on Friday and she asked me if I had made a return to bookbinding yet and I was standing there disassembling like mad. I was explaining the half painted room, the clearing out of unfinished books, the breaking up the collection of leather / paper / decorative paper and it came down to me stating that nobody wants the books. I am not bookbinding because nobody wants the books I make . She was saying I want them.

My husband has just left for work and he said I should make some progress on ‘bookbinding laboratory’ just do 20 minutes every day.

So that’s what I am going to do right now.

on the road to exquisite
February 11, 2019, 9:20 am
Filed under: Uncategorized


When I think of the books I want to make I think about ‘exquisite’.

A dictionary definition states that ‘exquisite : marked by flawless craftsmanship or by beautiful, ingenious, delicate, or elaborate execution.

This is a good enough starting point and allows me to progress to the main event ‘how will I know that I have created an object that is ‘exquisite’ and then the devil is in the detail. I am not on the flawless craftsmanship bus.

I love watching the property porn programmes on the telly when the people want the house with the two bathrooms, four bedrooms, big garden, prime location and loads and loads of ‘charm’ and they have a totally unrealistic budget. They can have it all but they need to spend at least £50,000 more and settle for outside there prefered location. Maybe in an up and coming area.

I am not a delicate woman. I don’t have a delicate bone in my body. I am a bit roughty toughty, a bit nippy sweety and I am a bit confrontational. But I have my truths and principles and I’ll but up with a lot of shit before I go in to ‘truth mode’.

I am not a beautiful woman but I understand what ‘beauty’ it means when I handle the very best materials, pigments, gold leaf and tools.

So I am going to busk the craftsmanship, trust the suppliers, practice the gold tooling, continue investigating cutting dies, stick with account book binding and make it small. Keeping material costs down and make small exquisite books.

The work room as Identified Patient.
February 7, 2019, 10:49 am
Filed under: Uncategorized



‘Identified patient, or “IP“, is a term used in a clinical setting to describe the person in a dysfunctional family who has been unconsciously selected to act out the family’s inner conflicts as a diversion. This person, often a child, is “the split-off carrier of a breakdown in the entire family system,” which may be a transgenerational disturbance or trauma.[1]

The term is also used in the context of organizational management, in circumstances where an individual becomes the carrier of a group problem’

So I pressed ‘publish’ and went in to the room and started to move out the piles of equipment and materials and it hit me ‘what if the ‘room’ is my ‘IP’

If I am being true to myself and my values surely I should raise my game as it were and remove all the obstacles that are preventing me from achieving my goals. Because I have ‘checked’ and my want to return to bookbinding is sincere and true. So all that I need to do is make it happen. No magical wand just clear out the space and get lose the ‘stuff’ that I have decided is holding me back.

Just do it.