Growlygracepress's Blog


In the palace of righteous crap.
September 8, 2016, 7:44 am
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Last week I walked out the house and went directly to the carpet shop and bought and arranged new floor covering for the study which means that every thing had to come out and will have to go back in. I then went to the computer technician and gave him a pile of computers and asked that he makes them all better and do a factory reboot. I am just about to press ‘pay’ on a tool chest.

I am way to tolerant of the multiple of duplications of items I own. It’s the problem with living with some really good charity shops I am on auto command to buy when ever I see them : Royal Worcester evesham dinner service and le creuset pots and pans. The dog eats and drinks out of le creuset and I can do a medium banquet with the prissy plates decorated with asparagus, corn, plums, pears and brambles.

I have a slush pile of hand bound books. I think I might have a fondness for about half a dozen the rest are just taking up space. I have decided to redistribute them amongst a couple of people I know who have children under ten. The books I think as B+ will go to someone who reached out to me.

I am going to assess every tool and decide it’s fate, every single sheet of paper will live or die, every prop I have bought to create a narrative that I may have signed up for but really wasn’t prepared to do the deep down dirty hard work. I give you calligraphy, floral painting, typography and watercolour. It’s all going to go.

Shops are great store houses and if I am overwhelmed by the need to draw I’ll go and buy a pen.

I am sitting in the living room and the study contents are rammed in and I can see four lying presses and five ploughs and I know I have at the last count three band nippers.

The playing around with watercolour paints taught me how to buy good quality paints and what paper I like to paint on. I believe that the handmade book is made better by having hand decorated endpapers and I enjoy the rush of putting colour on paper.

I got to ‘here’ by thinking about the space around me and the tools and the materials when I am making a book and I want the tools to be stored appropriately and to be in good order. I want to materials to be the best I can access and stored appropriately and not hoarded.

I went past a house yesterday that used to be home to some eco / social justice warrior types and a team of men were just tipping every thing out, smashing it up and fling the remains on to the back of a van. My heart cheered that the horrible mosaic plaque which featured at the front of the house had met it’s grisly fate. I hate bad art.

But I did like the men taking out the rubbish.

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churning out the Bewicks
February 13, 2015, 2:43 pm
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I have been printing some Thomas Bewick cards today. I believe in bang for buck so I print on the envelope and I added a beautiful feather as well.

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Tomorrow I am going to print up a storm with the Joseph Crawhall blocks.



My name is Deirdre and I have the best ideas in the world.

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I have spent the morning preparing to do some printing only to discover that I had actually had started the project and had put it aside like some piece of knitting.

Annoying it was unfinished and I still have to do some more work on it but I was pleased to see that the plates I was setting up to print were the same ones that I had actually printed.

I own gazillions of photopolymer plates of Bewick and Crawhall engravings I play with them like children play with toy cars and I treat them the same way as well.

So proof that my ideas are strong and can survive not being written down and have an action plan. But it would be so much easier if I had a register of my ideas and a tick box if I have actually finished them.

This morning I went out to buy washing up liquid to clean the press and I was thinking about the church craft fare and I thought about a little book I could sell at it called “my fucking amazing ideas” and I was really excited about the little book but it took a bit to register that perhaps this might not be the best venue to launch it.

I love my ideas and if I could get paid for coming up with shit it would be great. Perhaps the next best thing is to put the ideas on a book and sell the book.

I know that I want to make a series / edition of books and I don’t know where they could be sold. I know that they are bookshops that specialise in selling artist books but I am not and never have been a book artist.

I think the artist bookshops might be the better fit for my books. So I have got a pile of photos and prints together and I think I need to write a little bit of what I do and I’ll send it off and see what happens.

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I am going to go out and have a dig but I will be thinking really hard about ‘my fucking amazing ideas’

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the rule of the bland
May 19, 2014, 9:56 am
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I got all excited there I seen a tweet about a shop selling hand picked and hand made items and I thought perhaps I can sell my books there and when I looked at the site it has a riot of twee and beige. Well I say riot more like an ‘under whelming’ of recycled kraft paper and objects with bloody birds on them and way, way too much use of a sewing machine.

I fear I am going to end up as an ‘outsider’ bookbinder like a woman who has far to many cats I am going to have too many leather bound unsaleable books each of them getting madder and angrier.



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’

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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.

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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.

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

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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.



Art students don’t trust the printed book.
January 7, 2014, 1:54 pm
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I could have picked any book on any of my shelves but this one will do. It’s taken me years to fully appreciate that teachers at secondary schools have taught them the precise methods to get the grades necessary to get in to university. The force feeding of bite size knowledge, served up via the internet has damaged the any pretence of scholarship and the absolute joy and thrill of learning.

Because the students are unable to tell if the book they are looking at is going to be of any value to then, how could they tell? how do they judge it?

This book would be rejected out of hand.

When I do the bookbinding classes I always do a whole song and dance about the celebration of all thing book and demand that they bring in books and tell that book’s story as to why it is important to them.

I worked out that as art students they would have been particularly attracted to children’s picture story books and I was right. Your average art student will swoon with delight when given the opportunity to talk about a much loved book.

But they are not reading much else.

Is there anything better than fish finger sandwiches in pulpy white bread and lashings of butter?



On the nature of the synthetic.
December 29, 2013, 10:13 am
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I buy mostly food that is on the sell by date and I cook three meals a day from scratch. I very rarely by ready made meals if I do it’s because I am going to hack it in to something more substantial which is not bland and is properly seasoned.

I bought a massive prepared trifle the other day for 50p and I was not disappointed. I got a trifle experience in that the colours, tastes and smells were an approximation to what we experience trifle. It’s just a trifle.

I think the same thing is going down in the art industry today or what I experience of the work of the emissaries from planet art school.

I gave the remains of the trifle to the dog and she left the jelly and sponge.