Growlygracepress's Blog

this is whats on my bench at the moment
August 6, 2015, 10:44 am
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Two Roberts radios. The lovely red one I found in the street! I had just taken out the batteries of the kitchen radio to remind myself to buy new ones when I was out in the back lane going to collect a bag of dog grub with a wheel barrow (as you do) when I found the red radio which works but now needs a new battery. I leave the radios on all over the house and they run out of juice.

This is some of the books I am reading.


This is the newly published book on The St Cuthbert Gospel. It’s just wildly exciting.


This book by the sainted Charles Dowding has actually fallen apart I think either the hot melt glue is at fault or grain direction is out. I am not going to fix it.


Mark Laird writes great big slabs of books I am regretting now not buying his book on Mrs Delaney now as the price of it has gone through the roof.


There never was a better time to read this book!


Some photo polymer plates and a little oak boarded book.


These are tiny little rivets that should look like nails and I am shockingly bad at using them I am going the have to trash a lot of them to get some decent results.


This is my new watercolours.


the care and feeding of craft skills


I haven’t bound a proper book for a couple of months now mainly it’s because the allotment needs my attention. I like the scale of the allotment it’s working with a large area instead of the distance between my hand and eyes and the surface of my bench. The allotment is a big testament to my mistakes.
I cram in plants with a shoe horn it means that I can’t hoe them. So this morning I took a bed and evicted a lot of plants, I hacked back the borage I had planted for the bees as it was a hazard to navigation, I hoed around the plants to get some air in to the soil, I removed dead leaves and I am going to give them a feed of seaweed tonic.
After this I am going to go to my bench and reconnect with my bookbinding and make a book that new and different to me, that encompasses my ideas about decorating book covers and what the experience of how the book functions in the hand. Size and Colour. Function and Form. The outcome is not about selling the book to a client it’s about the model I am going to construct of what I think about when I think about books. Might be a bit abstract but I will know it when I see it.
Then I might go swanning about with my new book and have a cup of coffee.

I am going to bind a book and plant potatoes but not at the same time.
May 12, 2015, 7:08 am
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I am going to chain myself to the bench and produce an original piece of bookbinding. Not a book that I think will sell in the craft shop and it’s not going to be for a commission as I cant attract commission work if my life depended on it.

Its going to be a book that best reflects my idea of what a book should be.

Mainly it has to be handsome and it’s construction has to give pleasure.

I am going to ditch the little goldilocks model.


And I am going back to big scary book as a weapon model.


But before I go and make endpapers I am going to plant some potatoes in containers at the allotment and if do good I am going the timber shop to get some wood to make a cage for the brussel sprouts.

playing at the bookbinding
May 1, 2015, 11:27 am
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I had to wait in for a courier the other day and I decided that I would do put a cover on a book. I had totally forgotten how engrossing the process actually was. I’ve been so busy with the allotment that I have been neglecting my work.
It was great just processing letters, leather and paste.


I make such a mess when I work but that’s all right because I  clean it up.

Today I am waiting in for the courier so I have the ‘to do’ list I drew up for Tuesday.


And I am going to do the rest of it. I did the ‘do some leather lettering’ and I will make dinner and lunch.
The rest of the list looks lovely. I will look at books, try techniques, read all my project notes, prepare plant pots.
But obviously if the courier comes in the next five minutes I am off to the allotment.

experiments for endpapers
February 12, 2015, 1:26 pm
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When I was ranting at the poor architectural students in December I was struck with ferocity of my belief about honouring our ideas with the handmade. This for me is tied up with making a handmade book that outlines my ideas about making books and the act of making books.

The handmade book is all about the endpapers. So I have been looking into methods of decorating the endpapers that makes me happy.

These experiments make me grin like the proverbial alsatian.


Cutting down the trees to see the wood.
January 23, 2015, 12:57 pm
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I’ve been engaging in new working patterns lately I work out what do I most want to avoid and I do that.
I don’t want to improve my gold tooling, I don’t want to work with my new plough, I don’t want to make a tiny little note book in book cloth and I don’t want to finish a sequence or edition of little books. So I have to positively engage with these activities every day and I need to clearly describe what is making me uncomfortable with the processes.

At the moment I am avoiding the massive clear out of my immediate work area which is getting clogged up with unfinished little books I need to clear them away to make more room for more unfinished little books.

One thing that I have discovered is that I have misplaced or lost all my coloured linen thread. I hate that when it happens. I am already in mourning for my little orange scissors that got lost when I was doing the workshops back in December.

Sometimes we have to clear away the junk in order to see clearly.

One of the best books I’ve seen about bookbinding in a while.
January 8, 2015, 2:08 pm
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I am still processing all my thoughts after doing the series of bookbinding workshops in December. I am still struck by my total commitment to the handmade book. I got to thinking what if I can find a really great book on technique that I can use as a text book and work through all the examples make tons of samples and let the workshop students know that this book can let them become the bookbinder they want to be.
This is a great concept. It goes wrong because this book is just a little bit intimidating. Actually its still fantastic but dear God its scary stuff.

Years ago when I was learning to marble paper I was very frustrated that the book showed beautiful photo after beautiful photo of beautiful faultless paper but my paper sucked big style and I had to trash a lot of paper and paint before I got examples that I was happy with.
When I started bookbinding it took a long time before I got books that were good enough to give away to the children I was regularly babysitting. I could not give the books away they were so bad.
I had to make more and more books and work at solving the problems that I was incorporating in to the books. Poor measurements, bad glueing, rough work and the books would not be square.
And I was actually attending college with a good tutor, reading loads and loads of books on technique and it took considerable time and effort to get to a level I was happy with.

This is a great book an outstanding contribution to the craft. I am going to promote it at every opportunity and I am going to say it’s going to be a long, long journey but this book will be your constant companion and you won’t ever get lost.