Growlygracepress's Blog


A beautiful box of watercolours
November 13, 2015, 11:56 am
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I like playing with paints and I am trying to get a bit more consistent with my practice. I found a paint brush I liked and a paper that I liked but the actual paints are harder. I started of with Windsor and Newton artist quality but I don’t like half pans and I didn’t like the colours. I didn’t like working the paints within the actual paint box and I really hate mixing them. I bought some Kramer watercolours and I loved the quality and the colours but they are expensive.

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I wanted a lot more colours, and I want more pigment and I see the point of using tubes but liking pans. So when I seen the Japanese watercolours being offered by one of the big suppliers I was quite keen and even better when I discovered that on ebay the Japanese suppliers were offering more colours.

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It took over three weeks to get here but this is just brilliant.

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I think it was about £68. Think I’ll rush in to town and buy some paper.

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being so good they can’t ignore you in the craft shop
November 6, 2015, 8:23 am
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My books are in one craft shop and because it never occurs to me to find some where else for them. The goal was get some books that would appeal to the some one shopping in a craft shop and I did that. The down side was that I hated to see them in the shop and if the shop was filled with customers I would become very over the top saying they were the work of genius and the best things in the room.

I had reached a conclusion that I will remove the books and just not bother with the craft shop. But seeing the little group of unwanted books it occurred to me that the people who have decided not to buy them are actually right and what I need to do is make them something they want to buy.

The lovely member of staff told me that she has heard people giggling in the corner where the books are and that’s brilliant because I can work on that.
the other thing is the remaining books are black and dark I need colour and light.

Think it will involve titles.



don’t call it a hobby.
October 27, 2015, 10:30 am
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Someone asked me how my bookbinding was ‘coming along’ and I replied that I consider it a colossal failure but I am reasonably all right about it and he said so it’s going to be a ‘hobby’ and I was immediately defensive and clear that my what ever I consider my relationship with bookmaking I rate it more life enhancing than hobby.

A new craft shop has opened at the top of my street and I dared myself to walk in and talk about my books and prints and pointed out perhaps to excitedly that I was indeed a very local maker and my stuff is really good and as I was touching a piece of embroidered felt book marker I realised that I wanted the ground to open me up and swallow me.

The bookbinding is just fine and I suck at promotion and I am fine about that as well.

I have at least one workshop coming up in December and I think I shall go and do some work on my handout.

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I currently do have a bookbinding commission.

I am going to investigate bookbinding structures that I believe ‘work’ but can be made for very little money and I can give them away.

It’s not a hobby.



Clarity and Vision are our true friends
September 10, 2015, 10:00 am
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When I am engaged in commissioned work I seldom notice the mess that builds up around me but in times of no work I surround my self with unfinished and barely begun projects and the ghosts of books that are still born and they stack up on each other and then I have to get stuck in and take them to the bin.
Sometimes I don’t even recognise them. I have destroyed far more than I have created.
I think that ‘Creativity’ and ‘Originality’ are the kin of Kipling’s Triumph and Disaster impostors. What I want is the discipline to finish the task.
I would also like to be able to experiment more. A mistake I constantly make is thinking I need to make a whole book fully covered in leather in order to ‘work’ on a technique where what I should be doing is creating a protocol where I can test my techniques and understand precisely why I believe why it has failed and what I need to do in order to ensure that I can see improvement.
I am clearing up my work area and doing quick autopsies on dead books and saying quick prayers for them.
Then I am going to write up what I am going to do with Clarity and Vision.



I made a flower press from bits and pieces from the pound shops.
August 21, 2015, 7:52 am
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I finally got around to making a flower press after procrastinating about it for years and years as I am finally getting around to producing some ‘art’ and it gives me much amusement. I made the press from two decking tiles which I bought at ‘Pound-land’ in between I have layers of cardboard, blotting paper, absorbent cloths (floor cleaning cloths from the pound shop) and its held together with two luggage straps again curtsey of the pound shop.
It’s filled with chard, cabbage and beetroot leaves. I pulled some out the other day and rolled them with some printing ink and printed them.
It’s a start.



How does it fail?
July 28, 2015, 8:12 am
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I really must start to pay more attention to the reason and lessons of why a particular piece of bookbinding / making has failed. It’s not enough to say ‘failed’ and not articulate the precise reasons of how the total package has not produced the intended effect.
It’s not enough to say “it sucks because it reminds me of other things that suck” This is not scab picking it’s just trying to be unemotional about work.

Look at this site A Printmakers’ Flora
This with out a doubt is the most handsome book I have ever seen and it pushes me to be better because I know why its great.



I had a great experience.
July 13, 2015, 7:46 am
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I had such a wonderful time the other day I was making the little books for my course and I was thrilled to be in the process of making books for a reason. I had realised that it was absolutely all right that the ‘hand out’ was going to be two sheets of A4 and that I had failed to fit the ‘hand out’ material in to the book. I am not and ever have been a typographer and I believe with ever fibre of my being that unless that page has been signed off by a designer who has serious chops it will be rubbish.

My little books are a work in progress. I wanted to give them to the people who came to my workshop to show them just how effective a simple technique like five hole pamphlet stitch can be. Also I tipped in the little colophon label.

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But mostly I was thrilled to be engaged with the process. This is practice beyond technique. The work flow was exciting and I was very pleased with the end result.