Growlygracepress's Blog

chutney binding
November 16, 2017, 8:26 am
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I am going to go to the allotment and continue the digging I started in the brassica cage. I have evicted all the rubbish Brussel Sprouts and I plant some cabbages and kale. I am continuing to plant salad leaves, kale, onion sets for spring onions in the unheated green houses and I am reading the seed catalogs searching out early carrots and peas for the poly tunnel. I have cleared out the vine leaves and I will plant seed potatoes in the tunnel and I will decided whither to take out the remaining chillies.

I was making chutneys a few weeks ago and I noticed that I approached the actual making of them much like book making. I had all the ingredients at hand and I just made a ‘batch’ no measuring just buy hand and eye. I wanted a tomato and onion relish and it should look and taste like that. Red, sweet, mustard seeds, onions a little bit of sour. It was as satisfying as making a book. Actually it was better and I think it’s because the ‘proof’ as it were was that I used the relish immediately as it had barely cooled down with bread and cheese and it was great. Where as a book languishes around the work area until it has a buyer or is given way and the new owner gives it purpose.

So it’s going to be batches of books, clearly labelled, numbered, with purpose and intention.



walking back to bookbinding
November 13, 2017, 7:57 am
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This is what I am doing to do. I am going to finish putting back my work room, this means making decisions that I have been putting of about the storing of materials and equipment. I am going to write out some targets with the dates and times I wish to accomplish them. I am going to write out a short and clear statement about what my intentions are and how I will know I have achieved them. Baby steps.

Practice makes practice.
September 14, 2017, 8:33 am
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This is another episode in my journey back to bookbinding and I have discovered that I have a new strength and it’s just a little whisper to me ‘it does not have to be this way’  I need to rely on being kinder to myself and make little gains. So I have started making a book which will have all the features that I like. Hand painted endpapers, silk ribbon marker, coloured edges and the boards decorated with flowers.

I have a date in mind where I want to achieve some tasks that I have found massively difficult mainly I need to have a clear out of cupboards and drawers and I need to have an ebay sale to get some money together for materials and I think it’s good to get some tools and equipment back in to circulation.

I know I feel resentful to the collection of books because they take up so much space and I wonder if I’ll ever open them again I am quite sure that I can get them down to one shelf. But I recognise that the books were the making of me and it took skill and dedication to put the collection together and some of them are now quite valuable. I don’t need to make a decision at the moment but at some point I am going to have to get a dealer in.

I am going to engage totally in creating change in my life and I am going to be effective and consistent.


The once and future bookbinder
September 8, 2017, 8:50 am
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So I got distracted by the allotment and defeated (temporary) by the self inflicted chaos in my workroom. I deluded myself that the taking money for the books was secondary when actually I really think it’s important that I get the highest monetary value I can for my work. I have no problems with giving away prototypes in fact I think it’s vital to get them in to the world and I have no issues with giving away the waifs, strays and orphans from attempts of making books to sell in the craft shop. Be free my pretties.

At the moment what I wast to make is books like this


and I want to make books like this



So it’s garden books and memento mori books.


I forgot about this beauty which was a visitors book.

bookbinders block
September 5, 2017, 8:27 am
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and again the little strawberry on the back


I say ‘new work it’s actually a couple of months ago. I seriously think I’ll never get back to fully engaged with bookbinding and I feel ever so slightly and in a tiny way unhappy about that. I’ve got to this position by being really silly about something. I replaced the floor covering in my work area and tried to integrate two tool chests and in the mean time I filled the room up with random junk. On the other hand I had the new allotment and worked at several refurbishing projects which I have finished.

The room is so trashed I know the only solution is to take every single item out of it to a holding area and assess it’s value. I then need to store the tools and materials properly.

Then I am going to do a series of bookbinding, I am going to make ten books which I think would appeal to a person who had a garden. ( a couple of points that are obvious to me) I actually really need the bookbinding to pay I want and deserve a money for the books to make books and not sell them is like collecting cat ornaments. It’s pretty obvious to me that I can make books and I like making them I just need a purpose.

I don’t have a priest, a coach or a friend to go to for this so I am going to spell out the journey back to bookbinding in little steps in this blog which no one reads.

It’s not all doom and gloom at the vegetable show I had two firsts, a second and two thirds.

It’s always about the money.
August 18, 2017, 8:42 am
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I just read a big old blog posting about the business of craft and making. The author  was promoting it and asking for views and I read it and my bullshit detector went off when I seen the lines ‘it’s not about the money’ because “It’s always about the money” 

The business model was the selling of courses about making. Beautiful, lovely, feel good about yourself and you get to express yourself and the proof is you made a lovely thing.

You could be a contender. I make therefore I am.

People who have been a bit curious about mosaics and coming up to retirement do a course and make some stuff and you know thats great but the business is not self actualisation it about the selling of the workshops and if possibly the continued selling of further workshops and mentoring.

I’ve talked to people who ‘did calligraphy last year and will do stained glass this year’ for some reasons I come across a lot of doctors, nurses and health professionals who are getting stuck in craft. I don’t think that they are looking at a way to make money from the things they make but these items do become a currency.

When I used to do bookbinding workshops I knew that for some people it literally was ‘see one, do one, teach one’ because they are art teachers and they are going to go in to class room and recreate it. That’s great because the transmission of knowledge goes on.

I bang on and on about the materials used in bookbinding because it’s important. We sew our books with undyed linen thread that was been waxed from a block of beeswax and that is the correct way and using double knitting wool is wrong and ugly. Absolutely.

I am back to thinking about doing the mythical handout about bookbinding. It’s not been in my thinking because I have not been doing workshops and that I have missed thinking about teaching basic bookbinding skills.

some new work
August 11, 2017, 7:26 am
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I am trying to unite bookbinding and gardening and this book is my first attempt. What I am trying to do is make a book that people want to buy either for their self or as a gift.

I have to consider it a most magnificent and utter failure. Look at it’s glorious faults.


The letters are ‘out’  but it’s a bit good. Love the strawberry all the books I am making this summer and autumn are going to have a strawberry on them.


Again a little bit ‘out’ but that is seriously nice.

But the book still fails because all the little faults add up. Mostly I got the size wrong.

I was reading a cookery book called “The anatomy of pasta” which is a stunning bit of design and I liked the heft of it and decided to make a book of the same dimensions.

I decided to paint the endpapers which were absolutely head over heels stunning.

Then I had this idea to make a book called Garden Diary, thats wrong I decided to make a book called “cultivation’ then I ditched that title for “garden diary” decided for old times sake to do the lettering on the spine because I like it as a bit of design and I hadn’t done anything like it for a while.

The faults and problems then cascaded. I had the wrong book and certainly the wrong endpapers. Some of the leather on lays are the wrong colour and don’t work well against the black. The design was applied ‘live’ as in I had vaguely thought stick some birds at the top.

I had worked with this leather before and it was very difficult in that it behaves like a dog when it’s pasted up and you have to fight it on to the book and fight it hard to stay on. I think it’s very old stock and I should have ‘keyed’ the back.

So I fighting a book, doing a technique that I haven’t done in years and I realise that I need more light on the as it’s dark. But I don’t go and get more lights.

So I get a bit of drift on the lettering.

But now I’ve got a book which is stuffed with promise and I can see what it wants to be.

So I am going to listen to the book as it tells me how to make it.