Growlygracepress's Blog

winning at making mistakes
September 29, 2016, 8:17 am
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I got lucky and I made lots of ‘mistakes’ and when the experiment is on a sizeable plot of land it’s a bit visible. You will ‘know’ me by the trail of my mistakes. The exciting thing about them is that I am completely unable to repeat them next year because that would be stupidity. I know how some of them happened and thrillingly it was about a weakness in me. I am not very good at a thing called ‘potting on’ that’s when seedling in a pot grows and it’s roots expands and you move it in to the next size pot giving it new compost and food and you do it again and again before placing it out to it’s final growing position.

I suck at this.

I wanted to grow big juicy tomatoes in the poly tunnel that already had two grape vines and a peach tree going on so I stuck in a lot of show leeks and a kiwi fruit, a couple of cucumbers and a aubergine. This was beyond suck and was actual insanity. The vines and the grafted tomatoes had an enormous battle and the vines won the tomatoes then decided that the tunnel was not hot enough and have refused to ripen. I also failed in being rigid at the feeding of the show leeks and was a bit hit and miss.

I am going to have clip boards and charts like they have in toilets in supermarkets. All the vegetables get Sunday lunch. Tick. Initials.

The vines can have the poly tunnel  I’ll set up a new one for the growing of tomatoes specifically I am going to grow English ones with small fruits. The leeks I am going to move to a covered leek trench.

The biggest problem I faced was the explosion of weeds and the containing and processing weeds I have killed. Every thing would be better if for every hour I worked on the plot I actually used a hoe for twenty minutes.

One of my best mistakes was my failure to use multiple seed labels in trays I had lots of seed trays on the go and invariably the one label would become detached from the tray so I would have no idea what brassica I was planting.

So of to the allotment and working on potting on the spring brassicas, creating an area of the garden that has weed suppressant fabric on, that has holes cut out of it and I will then extract some soil, put in a pot filled with compost then plant that pot with the most expensive brassicas in the world.

The plants are my ‘ideas’,  the garden is my mind and the ‘mistakes’ are the feedback.


a spring collection


I think I might give considerable thought to designing and making a spring collection of books and prints.
I think what I could do is pick a date what ever the so called official first day of spring is and develop a themed collection of work.
Present them on that day.

I am still in a relationship with the usual suspects : flowers, early Celtic bookbinding and lettering, Sybil Pye and the reasons for love.

I’ve managed to get some money from a little bit of teaching and I’ve sold some books so I have the materials. I am sticking to small sized books as they don’t spook people out.

searching for the handmade.
July 14, 2014, 8:05 am
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Again another trip to a major city and I can’t find handmade goods. I seen a shop which was piled high with work that looked if it had been made for a sale of work at a church hall in the 1970’s I assume that the makers were all old ladies stuck in a time warp with a lot of vintage knitting patterns.

letters and colour.
March 27, 2014, 11:12 am
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This is a quick try out of my new font with some colour combinations. Think my heart belongs to clarendon but I’ll do some more work with it.

I was talking to someone the other day who was fairly appalled at my ideas of books with Geordie terms of endearment on them. So I know I am right.

Failing better
March 20, 2014, 1:19 pm
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I am now slightly in love with failing, I am getting better at it all the time. The map is not the territory.

I am going to stop designing books for myself.
March 7, 2014, 8:58 am
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It struck me yesterday that I might be in danger of making a massive error in the way I think a book should look like.

I like a book that is covered in black calf, has a big bold title, coloured edges, no raised bands, the title will be in Clarendon and the endpapers will be hand coloured.

That makes me really happy. But if I want to sell books in the craft shop perhaps I should actually try and make a book that might make the people who shop in craft shops happy.

I think I need smaller books, the goldielock book that fit’s so nicely in the hand. Yes to the coloured edges, no Clarendon but more of a ‘don’t panic’ friendly font giving out nice pastel vibes.

On not manufacturing.
February 21, 2014, 9:18 am
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I think it’s important that I make small groups of books, that they are individually made, that their dimensions are whats required for that book at that time. I recognise that in a series of books there will be different sizes and that my measurements do ‘drift’


I think that it’s vital that if I am going to go down the craft shop \ gallery route that I make a group of books.

What I mean is the opposite of a production line. People who make things with their hands should not even begin to emulate industrial practices and methods. I am not in competition with Ikea.


The word ‘artisan’ is currently being flogged to death by being applied to anything and everything. It’s a code to the consumer that ‘this’ item is somehow legit, that it’s ‘real’ it’s made by a ‘person’ no ‘machines’ where involved in it’s making. Weaponised craft.


What I intend to do is offer shops a little group of books, all different ones. Like a layer of a chocolate box.


I have no idea if they would want this. It makes for a good display. They should not be behind glass.

They will be cheap but proud.