Growlygracepress's Blog

the christmas tree decorations of doom


I have not forgotten my threat to make Christmas tree decorations although I admit to a heavy heart I’ll move them along this afternoon.


Practicing my practice.
September 22, 2014, 8:22 am
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My husband is having guitar lessons and his teacher told him on Friday that he expects that in a years time if he keeps on course he will be able to play the solo in ‘Black Dog’

If I thought I could get a teacher like that who could teach me bookbinding I would sign up in heartbeat.

This is what David is doing. He practices every week day morning for over an hour, he practices when he comes home from work in the evening. He has long practice sessions on a Saturday and on a Sunday. He practices what his teacher wants him to work on. He uses dvd’s, books and computer software to augment his development. He is serious, motivated and committed to making progress.

I have been thinking how this approach would work for me if I had a similar bookbinding teacher. In the discussions leading up to committing to lessons I would out line what I wanted to learn, where my strengths, weaknesses and skills were and what I want to achieve.

I would identify that bookbindings that I admire and I would set out to achieve them with the assistance of the teacher.
If I practice the skills and develop an understanding of the techniques and I put the time in and my progress is critically accessed by a teacher each week and if I am committed to learning and to progress. Then I might be able to knock out a reasonable copy of a design that is similar to Sybil Pye who is the Jimmy Page of bookbinding.




I think I can develop this concept a bit further and I think that I might get some insight and I will certainly get results.

either toe the line or blow it.
September 18, 2014, 8:19 am
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This is the leather which has been pressed with a plate I have made of a reverse of the letters for the title. I can see where I can place the letters and then I will back pare the leather.


The letters have been pasted on and need to dry out a bit before I trim the leather down.
Yes I know what you are thinking it’s ‘questionable’ and ‘poor taste’ and I am making it for my own amusement. But I am really charmed by the notion of the ‘truthful book’ I really should be working on a series of little books for gardeners because Christmas is coming and them unwanted gifts aren’t going to made by themselves.
But for today I am going with truth.

What I think about when I think about bookbinding.
September 8, 2014, 8:57 am
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I have been away form my bench for two whole weeks, the first week was because my husband was off work and we did stuff or he did stuff and I kept out of his way. Then last week I did a lot of running around and garden stuff. I also had no desk top computer and I could not generate the type for a book title.


So this week I need to commit to some ‘sustained try’

I will go to my bench and clear away all the unfinished books that are loitering without intent and put them on the shelf.

I will make a new book to familiarise myself with paste, glue, linen and leather. Two weeks is a long time.

A couple of weeks back I pitched an idea for an exhibition and it obviously was rejected as it was that brilliant and I was guilty of practicing art with out a licence. But it was as great and powerful idea as I have ever had so I think I might be making that book this week.

I will mainly be thinking about writing the fabled ‘hand out’ for a bookbinding workshop because I have two of them coming up in the next couple of months.

I will be thinking of trying to find an outlet for my little books where they can be comfortable with the other items.

I could try it on with the university to see if they would like me to do a weeks course but I think the answer is no. Refusal can cause offence.


I was in a conversation with someone who thinks that my lack of commissioned work is because I pissed the clients off and he’s wrong.

I don’t see commissioned work because I kept saying no and I am going to keep saying it. The big wake up call I got last year was a deep and penetrating understanding about my value as a maker and how I was deluding myself.

I am only going to make the books I want to.


thats the way to do it
July 16, 2014, 8:33 am
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This is my Mr Punch tool I have absolutely no idea what I am going to do with it but I love him. I reckon that this tool was originally cut so that the binder was able to tool bound editions of Punch magazine.

He’s great.

No show without Punch.

I have a workshop coming up.
June 16, 2014, 8:32 am
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Sometimes I see photographs of other peoples bookbinding workshops and I am so envious of the tidy tables, the beautiful handouts and the lovely papers. My classes are not like that.
I gather up lots of tools, materials, glues, pastes, prints, cloths, threads and we turn them in to books.
I teach pamphlet sewing in three hole stitch them five hole stitch as a warm up and then we turn to the main event with is sewing signatures on to tapes and making a case.

Now chances are that we are not going to get every thing covered that day but I ensure that every one has enough materials to take home to practice with and to continue to explore bookbinding with. I make little clamps for them to glue up spines.


I make blocks of wax for thread I even have a new ‘star wars’ mould for my next class.

It’s going to be great.

This is what I am going to achieve today.
March 24, 2014, 9:43 am
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First of all I am going to evict these books to another place. I have been looking at what problems I encounter when I make a number of books at the same time and closing in on the production problems. I have now got enough answers. So I am going to put these away as they are only paper and paste and I don’t need to finish them.

So I am going to clear up the work area. Plan out the work for the week. Have a play with my beautiful new font.

I am going to do some experimental lettering on leather with some stunning colour combinations. I am salivating at the thought of it already.

I will not even bother with putting this lettering on an actual book and I will just produce an experiment. Bold intentions indeed.

I am going to be thinking of some advertising copy to promote the little books so I can get some plates made.
I seen on ebay a little metal block of a blue bird sold for £23! What ever nonsense I come up with about buying the little books I of all people am going to stick a bird on it!