Growlygracepress's Blog

‘To give your designs freely and to take friendship in return’.
February 28, 2017, 11:03 am
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I have though right from the very beginning that John Ryder’s Printing for Pleasure is one of the most profound books on ‘doing’ that has been published. As a book it’s a touchstone for me I need to know where it actually is on a shelf at at one time as I might ‘need’ to read it. I have missed train stops because of it.

If I could strip down the fundamental wisdom and rewrite it as Bookbinding for Pleasure it would not have the charm and flow but I wouldn’t mind having a try.

I went down to the greenhouse to read it because I just got an ‘adanagram’ from the wonderful Alan Brignull and I like to read special stuff in good locations.


Espresso pot meet Paraffin stove.



last night a bookbinder saved my life.
February 10, 2017, 9:12 am
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This is going to the usual shopping list of whining and bitching so look away now if you are tired of this shit. I think I am going to give up on trying to make a bound book  ‘product’ to sell in shops. The industrial military complex of craft shops are about the profit margins of craft shops. The craft fares are about the selling of table spaces. I don’t even begin to understand what artist books are about. I don’t like being instructed by artists who are contemptuous of technical skills and who are dismissive of ‘trade’.

So what I am going to do make the books I want to make and give them away. I’ve got tools, materials and time. I will need to do a paper order at some point but that’s about £100 and I might get a workshop which will cover costs.

I am going to stop making the little books and go back to making big massive books with great big bold statements with clear intentions.

I am going to make books with covers that are from the Lindisfarne and Kells gospels.

Now I have that of my chest I am going to the greenhouse and turn off a parafin heater.

When I am not thinking about making books I am thinking about the garden.
January 6, 2017, 10:04 am
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This is my allotment it is uncompromisingly industrial. It has no smooth edges. It is rammed full of materials from building sites. It is at one with concrete and breeze blocks.

It is what it is and the man who created it was not concerned with creating a narrative that is promoting beauty and loveliness he was making a garden that produced prize winning produce. He created structures that could withstand winters and would not fall down.

He made wide open beds and several raised beds. He loved to pour concrete and he never seen a scaffolding pole he didn’t like.  The garden is a temple of Dexion. Dexion is an industrial shelving system and it is every where.

So I have been on this site for one year now and this is what I have learnt.

Restore everything and beauty is a lie.


If you have an allotment with a lot of structure then add more structure. I particularly like the hose pipe control we have added when the man seen it he said ‘does that thing shoot lasers?’ I am going to have another one for the other side.

What I am going to do is reduce some of the noise thats going down. I am going to remove all the rusted Dexion that is holding up the green debris netting  and replace it with wooden fence posts and new netting which is dark. I am going to paint all the rusting scaffolding pole with primer and metal paint. I am going to remove the piles of bricks, breeze blocks and blue water barrels. If it’s broken I am going to fix it. I am going to tone down the harsh yellow of the water pipes that are used to support netting on brassicas.


I am going to paint the shed. I am going to put new netting on the grow house which was used to grow chrysanthemums and change it’s use in to a fruit cage.


I am going to set the wheelie bin free by taking it to a back street and let it be with it’s ain folk. I am going to get stuck in to more paint action as soon as it has stopped raining.

I am going to put a couple of paths on the beds. Because it’s hard to access them for weeding, feeding and taking produce. I’ve been told by an old gardener that I need my arse kicked for doing this but let them kick. A bed this size is daunting and specific.  It’s a ‘five rows of 50’  kind of thing. I am going to put in three paths and and divide that area in to three beds I am going to use rows of chives and lavender to soften things. Weed suppressant fabric  is our friend especially the stuff that has pre-cut heat treated holes because nothing frays like weed suppressant fabric.


This is a traditional leek trench it did have a cover supported with bright yellow water pipe but it had failed in a really bad storm and I dismantled it because I can’t access the bed from all sides. I am going to reduce the height of the woods, repaint them and put up new wind break. The shed is going to be repainted.


Dexion and debris netting and at least ten watering cans. In the summer first thing in the morning I fill the watering cans and leave them out side the garden and when I come down in the afternoon they are at the right temperature to feed and water the plants.


This is the poly tunnel all tidied up for the winter. The two vines have been pruned and the little peach tree has been joined by a fig, olive, pomegranate and a kiwi fruit.


This is the corner of a green house where I have stored some of the summer squashes and I am going to make butternut squash soup for lunch.





I made some books for people.
January 3, 2017, 2:49 pm
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I make two sorts of books. I make books for people I know and these books are made for a specific reason. I am not going to tell you the reasons for these books but I had to make strong and powerful and playful.


Sometimes I introduce books to other books. This a little fuck yeah book.


This book had to be made as well.


Just holding this book is powerful.


I love the idea of recording every meal and snack. What if you kept this book going for years adding everything in tiny handwriting.

The other books I make are for people I will never meet and I have to do my best for the little books so that they will be bought. I went back to the craft shop and gave them my new books and we talked about some new work. The next series of books I am going to make are ‘little book of love’ and I want to have them ready for the end of the month so they are going to be around for Valentine’s day.

how exactly does a handmade object communicate love?
October 28, 2013, 9:09 am
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A couple of things are going on here.

First off the object itself is signalling like mad. It’s positively screaming BUYME!!!!! So we know that it’s a distinctive little thing. It’s a given that it’s little, has to be, it has to be lifted and appraised.

I reckon that the sweet spot in the appraising is the distance between the object in the hand and the distance form the eye.

It has to be honest and show it’s strengths, no weakness on display. It’s got to be strong and it gets it’s strength because all aspects of it are in harmony with each other.

Even before we get to the killer ‘judging the book by the cover’ the book has to feel right in the hand, the best possible materials are used, the leather is not to thick, the boards are balanced. It might not be ‘love’ but at the very least the book has to say ‘I won’t let you down’

I have recently overdosed on the film of ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’ and one of the scenes I come back to time and time again is George Smiley questioning of Toby Esterhase and it ends up with Toby pleading through snot and tears ‘I am loyal’ and perhaps just maybe it’s the promise of loyalty that we as grown up people want.

The little book has to be loyal and it gets that through the materials that it made from. These materials have been respected and the techniques that are used are appropriate.

The construction methods imbue strength and sincerity.

I am off to my bench to make a loyal little book.