Growlygracepress's Blog

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.

The deliberate construction of an artefact that they want
July 28, 2017, 12:33 pm
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Growlygracepress's Blog

fuck art

It would have exposed spine sewing.

The book it’s self would be untrimmed.

The dimensions would be a fold down form A4 maybe A3 at a push.

There would be no use of adhesives.

Grain direction? Thats for experts!

Might have some buttons and beads in the mix.

If it has leather it’s going to be the whackiest leather that can be sourced. Upholstery hides in hideous browns.

If the medium is the message, this object is weaponised, it’s a missile, it’s can’t be destroyed because it’s been made in to a fetish, it’s very handmadeness makes it live forever.

The halflife of a handmade object is a quazillion years.

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Back at the bench.
July 10, 2017, 12:28 pm
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I was stuck in the house all day waiting for an engineer to sort out the hot water again and a man who wanted to test some bit of a wall for asbestos again. So there is only so much enforced cleaning the house I can take and I decided to play with some tools and I got this little strawberry on to some righteous purple leather and was knocked out by it. This morning I got this cover on to a little book and I am really pleased with the results.

This little book feels absolutely great in your hands and I am very encouraged by it.

I may even get a little group of books together and go and pimp them out at a craft shop.





So I bought a telescope and a painting of a dog at the charity shop.
June 9, 2017, 9:21 am
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My most favourite scientist in the world is my doctor. She interprets the results of my blood tests and makes recommendations I  listen and agree with her. That whole experiment with the pork pie making has had the inevitable but unintended consequence of driving my cholesterol levels up and I am going to have to take action to get it down.

The doctor and I talked about her coming retirement and what she was going to do. I was telling her about the importance of getting the ‘toys’ in place. For me this is helping my husband manage his guitar collection. He loves the whole experience of falling in love with a new guitar and then he finds a new guitar and he falls in love with it. My job is to dispatch the ‘failed’ guitars because by ‘hanging around’ he becomes conscious that buying guitars ‘might’ be a waste of money. I actively encourage him to buy them because the falling in love with them gets results.

So I fessed up about the lard, lurpak, goose fat habit I got in to in the last 18 months or so and what I am going to do about it and I told her I was going direct to a charity shop to buy a telescope that I had seen last night and didn’t buy because it was junk. But on the other hand it’s a design of telescope I like and it’s £7 and if I use it and decide I need a better one which is going to cost several hundred pounds then I have made a good choice. I bought dog painting for £2  because it needed a good home and I recognise and appreciate the undoubtable skill in the execution of it.

My doctor told me she wanted to learn wood work and to be competent using tools I told her to go and find a young man who has a furniture making business and buy some one to one tuition.

I am going to go out to buy a joint of beef, parsnips, red wine, king Edward potatoes and cheese for a last hurrah.

June 9, 2017, 7:43 am
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Since I was a little child I have loved printing and books. It is a constant force in my life.

This is a scrap book I made to collate all the prints I make.

the task in hand
June 9, 2017, 6:41 am
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The task in hand is to function as a person who binds books and has a large allotment. It does not matter that the books can’t reach their market it’s enough that they are ‘made’

The point of the allotment is to create to the best of my abilities a traditional English allotment which means as I understand it to produce vegetables all year round and to be effective in my practice.