Growlygracepress's Blog

bookbinding and allotment tools in perfect harmony
April 21, 2017, 9:01 am
Filed under: Uncategorized


Still have not quite got my act together since I replaced the floor covering and attempted to merge the tool boxes. I can’t get the drawers back in to the shelves so I am coexisting with piles of drawers. On my bench there is a bunch of spring onions, plant labels, green house thermometers, a Dryad bookbinding hammer which I can really recommend.

The little book I am making is a book for listing seeds, it has all the things I like in a hand made book. The endpapers are painted, the book ribbons are silk and hand dyed, the edges are painted and the spine is covered in legal buckram. I would move it on but a bit of the book press (car jack) is on the allotment where it was pressed in to service by pulling on scaffolding tubes and dexion which had been hammered in to the ground.

I am not out of love with bookbinding at the moment I just find the allotment practice more rewarding. Obviously I still opinions about what constitutes good practice but I don’t think I am going to do any more classes or workshops. I am going to make books about gardening but I don’t think I will have an outlet and I really must investigate esty and facebook shops. There is two commissions about to come up and I am making a big scrapbook for the allotment associations centenary.

I think what I shall do is clear away all the ‘noise’ about my bench, the stacks of books, paper and tools and have a clean and clear area and get the drawers back in.

The bookbinding tools you really need. The Louet Awl Gauge.
March 3, 2017, 7:58 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Growlygracepress's Blog

Sometimes I come across a tool that is just a joy to use. It does the job it has been made for with such deft and you get a real buzz from using it.


This is the Louet awl gauge. It’s available for the good people at Shepherds and the link is to the left. Under Materials.

There is many kinds of bookbinding going on, I make books with blank pages as opposed to some one involved in book repair or conservation where they are going to resew the book using the original sewing stations.


On the other hand I am making a book with new paper. So I want to make the holes for the sewing and tapes in each signature before I sew it up.


Previously I would stick the book block in the lying press use an engineer’s square to mark the spine up and then I…

View original post 192 more words

‘To give your designs freely and to take friendship in return’.
February 28, 2017, 11:03 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags:


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
Filed under: Uncategorized


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
Filed under: Uncategorized


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
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags:


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.

Fear and loathing and cleaning the kitchen.
January 30, 2017, 9:34 am
Filed under: Uncategorized


I am trying to put off cleaning up the kitchen. I have been to the supermarket and bought loads of cleaning materials some of it quite expensive because I am worth it. I have chased up online orders for my husband that have failed to show. I have even attempted half heartily to do my online tax return which means I have to face up to the hard reality of my failure. I might even run down to the allotment and have a quick look at what I am going to do after I have cleaned the kitchen. I hate cleaning the kitchen.

This is a list of things I am going to do.

I am going to finish clearing up the mess I made in the study when I got new floor covering and a new tool chest. I still have not got the bookbinding area cleared up and ready for work.

I am going to get rid of tools, materials and equipment I am not going to use again. It goes on eBay, in to peoples hands or it goes in the bin.

I am going to photograph every scrap of Jeffery paper I have and then give it all away to the print making department. I’ll post all the photographs on the blog.

Right I am now going to spend the next 90 minutes of my phoney baloney life in cleaning the kitchen. Hopefully there will be something distracting on the radio.