Growlygracepress's Blog

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.

the good enough work bench
February 7, 2019, 10:04 am
Filed under: Uncategorized


This is one of these posts were I am talking to myself and just posting to say Hello and update on my progress.

I am committed to returning to bookbinding and in producing books that people will want to buy. If you bind it, make it exquisite, make it relevant at a price point that people can ‘do’, in a market place that you have total control (not a craft shop) then surely success will follow. I need ‘sucess’ because that pays for materials. I am not keeping a score and I will make books that give me pleasure. If people want to buy them then that’s even better.

Under the cover of ‘not doing much bookbinding these days’ I trashed my work area and delayed putting it back together. I put in new floor coverings, I bought new storage and best of all I decided to repaint the room all to put off and delay the inevitable. The day would come when I have a functioning work area, all the materials in place, a plan to make ‘magical books’  that time when all around you is perfect and your faced with a bench and a to-do list.

So my work area is today half painted, filled with boxes and crates and cupboards that are dumping grounds for equipment.

So it’s declaration time.

I will clear the area full of boxes and crates.

I will identify all the equipment I want to keep and put the rest on eBay.

I will finish painting the room and make it better. (I have walls that are half deep blue and half white when I say white I mean a million tons of undercoat and primer that I had to ‘knock’ out the blue with never use ‘signature’ colour paints in a whole room the cost of under coating it will bankrupt you. Rooms are white and magnolia for a reason.

I am going to make a significant move in this direction today.


Working with students is always great.
November 26, 2018, 8:01 am
Filed under: Uncategorized


One of the things that did go right for me at the course was that I had brought along a collection of models of book bindings. These are books that have not boards or covers, or have uncovered spines, or have ‘guards’ in every other page (this allows for items to be glued in and for the book to close)

What I noticed was that the group of students that were engaged with the process investigated and worked out what how these structures worked and they shared with each other how the books ‘worked’ and they used their own words and some of them then went on to innovated structures on their own books.

If I was doing a workshop again and that is extremely unlikely. I would do more work with the making of portfolios, envelopes and containers.