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GUR CAKE EDITIONS

Artisan publisher based in Dublin

 



Gur Cake Editions was established in 2007.

Gur Cake publishes one artisan book per year, in a limited edition and not-for-profit.




The rationale of Gur Cake :


the text or the author must have a connection with Dublin   

the text must have a personal angle for the author - biographical/autobiographical/etc

the text must be somewhat difficult to publish elsewhere – because of its format/ medium/ content/ etc. 



Our books are designed to match their content, in a collaborative project between editor, binder, and designer. 

Each  Gur Cake  project seeks to create a work of art that is original and affecting. 

In order to make every book special, in addition to the hand binding we introduce an element unique to each volume.


 

A “gurcake” was a type of cake made in Dublin with the cheapest ingredients, often recycling old cakes, chopped up between two layers of freshly made pastry, and cooked in deep trays to be later cut in big squares (thus somewhat resembling a book in its appearance). ‘Gurders’ was a word applied to impoverished Dubliners in the early twentieth century. ‘Gurs’ was sometimes used to refer to the homeless; charitable institutions would give them a cup of tea and a square of gurcake to keep them going. Gur Cake Editions seeks to offer some imaginative, loving, modest help to homeless books.

 

Gur Cake books are conceived as gifts, true gifts. For projects 1-5, and 7, each edition consists of twenty books, of which eighteen are given to the author free of charge, so that he or she may give them to friends or like-minded people, on condition that the books are never bought or sold.  For project 6, a limited edition of 100 books of a play script was produced to coincide with the play's premiere, with all income from sales being donated to Burn to Burn productions, the not-for-profit community group responsible for staging the play.


One copy of each Gur Cake edition remains with the publisher, and another one is stored in the Special Collections Library at Dublin Public Libraries.


Gur Cake has no assistance with funding by any institution or individual; it is produced on a small budget for the love of art and literature.

 

 

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BOOKS PUBLISHED


1. Clarity, by anon. (2007). POETRY, with original artwork.
2. Days to Forget, by Gerald Cuddihy (2008). SHORT FICTION, with original illustrations.
3. Postcards from the Damned, by Katsuhiko Shiota (2009). JOURNAL.

4. The Punk Connection, by Eugene Dillon, with an afterword by Anto Dillon (2010). COMIC-BOOK.

5. Sappho in Dublin, by Gur Cake (2011-12). DOCUMENTARY CALENDAR, with original photographs.

6. A Pair of New Eyes, by A. L. Mentxaka (2013). PLAY.

7. Getting off the Island, by Annie Holbrook (2014). 'MEMOIR', with original illustrations.

8. Grainne: A Play, by J. Costello, K. Doyle, L. Errity, and A.L. Mentxaka (in print). PLAY.

9. The Light in November, by May Garland (2017). SHORT FICTION, with original illustrations.

 

 

 
 

 


gur cake

    editions

     dublin

 

 

 

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POSTCARDS FROM THE DAMNED
by Katsuhiko Shiota.
Dublin: Gur Cake Editions, 2009


Featuring: hand-carved solid oak cover, exposed hand-crafted binding, hand-written page numbers, and hand-made paper, in a a box-like design. Accompanied by a purpose-designed book-marker, and an original postcard with a printed quote from the book.


SUMMARY of Postcards from the Damned

Postcards from the Damned, by Katsuhiko Shiota, is a personal journal written through seven years, during which the author lived in a number of cities in four continents, including Dublin.

This journal records the often uneventful but always immensely rich journeys of a young man who feels alienated from the culture he grew up in, a man who seems adrift in a world of hard facts and pointless routines. Postcards from the Damned does not chronicle experiences, but their distillation into meaning. In this Journal, the unremarkable gains extraordinary significance, seductively promising a template to decode life and death, a promise which can not be fulfilled. This is the portrait of a young philosopher who is too much of an artist to let ideas go past him without chiseling them into a beautiful shape, often epigrammatic and always poetic. The man in this book may be wandering on a hopeless quest, but he has found a home of the imagination, in his love for the Existentialist thinkers, and in the meandering, open-ended, process-oriented approach of Gilles Deleuze. Nothing can be discounted, discarded -the Journal seems to say-, human awareness of self and world (and of the distance between them) is more epic and spiritual than any heroic deed or any act of renunciation. Equally, thinking and feeling are aesthetic experiences, and the very self is a work of art, endlessly in the process of being made.


 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 

Photographs by A.L.M.

 

THE DESIGN of Postcards from the Damned

Size: Because this is an intimate text made up of small entries, the book is small and easy to carry

Wood jacket: The journal brings together brief but precious observations, and the look of the book seeks to resemble a treasure chest, a private jewellery box. Wood was chosen to enhance the organic, lived quality of the journal, because wood is a breathing, porous material. We also wished to add a sense of warmth, encouraging a physical interaction between the reader and the book. In addition, given that the passing of time and the very nature of time are recurrent themes in the book, the wooden covers were left unvarnished, to encourage the ‘aging’ of the material, which will become darker with the touch of human hands.

Hand-carved design: Because of the text’s non-linearity, and because of the author’s preoccupation with life and the life cycle, the cover shows a simple organic folk design in a circular shape, suggesting leaves and therefore natural processes. The cover also invites an analogy with the slow carving of the entries in the Journal. The ‘rough’ quality of the unvarnished carving, and the artisan’s deliberate refusal to smooth out tiny mistakes, are in consonance with the trial-and-error aspect of lived experience as recorded in the Journal. A hand-carved cover was also chosen to enhance the home-made and hand-crafted quality of the Journal.

Hand-binding: The hand-binding is a key feature of the book, emphasizing the craft in the publication. The binding had to be adapted to the unusual shape and weight of the wooden covers, which required internal and external reinforcement, while retaining a lightness and organic feel.

Paper: This specific paper has been chosen because of its pleasant feeling to the touch. The ‘soft yellow’ colour of the paper enhances a visual continuity with the wooden cover.

Text font: The font has been chosen because the original draft had used it, and it was part of how the author envisaged the Journal. There is a tension between the old and the new in the text, which is nicely communicated by ‘Book Antigua’ Font.

Hand-written pagination: The marking of the page numbers by hand, using a pencil, underlines the hand-made feel of the book. It also provides a further source of visual ‘ageing’, and frailty, because pencil marks respond to touch and are erasable.

Additional features – Translation of French Text: A French language editor was commissioned for the book, because the manuscript included a number of quotes in the French language. The French language editor and the General Editor chose the option guarantying minimum interference with the original text, and decided to respect the Journal’s inconsistency in its use of quotes originally written in the French language. For this reason, it was decided to add an appendix with the relevant translations from the French, translations prepared specifically for this edition of Postcards from the Damned.

Additional features – postcards: The book includes two postcards, a small one which could be used as a book marker, and a bigger one which could be sent either by the author to one of the readers about to receive a copy as a gift, or could be sent by those readers themselves to someone. The Journal was written in a number of different countries that the author was visiting for the first time, and the title of the book suggests that each entry is a little observation that could be placed at the back of a postcard. In the context of a Journal which is deeply philosophical and has a sense of urgency and nakedness, we wanted to exploit the irony of the generally trivial comments jotted down by tourists in postcards they send to family and friends. The postcard included in this edition, therefore, is a sort of ‘anti-postcard’: a) the quote printed in the card (chosen by the author), is the opposite of what one would expect to receive from a tourist, b) Postcards is a very private book, but postcards expose the author to the scrutiny of the world, c) the cover photographs on the postcard are the opposite of the predictable, recognizable, and pristine ‘sites’ on tourist postcards.

Additional features – photograph on the cover of the postcard: A photographer was commissioned for the project. The set of four photographs on the postcard was selected by the author of the Journal from a number of options. The set is part of a series called Broken Things, where the photographer documents the ‘remains’ of life and experience in objects which have lost their original use, as a visual meditation on the nature of things and beings (the limits of the self), a self-defeating quest to record and celebrate the abandoned and forgotten.

 

"Postcard from the Damned"
 selected photographs from the 'Broken Things' series (1999-2009), by maken

 


 

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The book A PAIR OF NEW EYES: A PLAY was published as a collaboration with the theatre company Born to Burn productions, in a  SPECIAL LIMITED EDITION of 100 books only. 

The book consists of the FULL SCRIPT OF THE PLAY, including Author's Footnotes and Director's Notes. The book features a giant magnifier in its book-cover.

As is customary with Gur Cake Editions, this is a not-for-profit publication. 

All proceeds from the sales of this book 

go to Born to Burn productions, a not-for-profit theatre company based in Dublin.

"Portrait of the Hon. Mary Ward", by Mary Rosse

(reproduced on the cover of the book)

For sales enquiries, please visit:

www.borntoburnproductions.com


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GETTING OFF THE ISLAND 
by Annie Holbrook  
Dublin: Gur Cake Editions, 2014


Featuring: hand-embroidered covers, from a design by the author. 


SUMMARY of Getting off the Island

Getting off the Island, by Annie Holbrook, is an extraordinary 'memoir' by a living writer, recording the jolts and joys of a life lived long ago. 

This remarkable and moving story transports the reader to a nineteenth century life of isolation and longing in rural Ireland. Written in a deceptively simple style, fitting the tale of a deceptively simple man, the words in the book are chiseled out of history. Getting off the Island is the result of a magic conjuring up, by a memory that can reach far back into the unrecorded and forgotten lives of the self. In gorgeous illustrations provided by the author, the pared-down facts acquire a timeless beauty of their own, sketched in clear lines that insist on their right to meet each other in their own terms, just like the protagonists of the story. 








Photographs by A.L.M.


THE DESIGN of Getting off the Island


General DesignThe design of this book is inspired by the setting of the ‘memoir’. The book tells the story of a nineteenth century peasant from rural Ireland, and the materials and the design are consonant to the kind of book which a man of his background may have had access to.

Size and feelThe modest size of the book, and its tactile aspect, are also consonant with the inwardness and longing in the story.

Cover:   The book is covered in a plain but sturdy cloth, of the type that may have been used to make shirts in the location and period. 

embroideryThe style of embroidery is a simple one, ‘chain stitch’. The interlinked, returning-motion of the stitch, echoes both the protagonist’s yearning for connection, and the actual process whereby the story was written. Each book is hand-embroidered in a different colour, which enhances its individuality. 

Hand-binding: The book is hand-bound in a simple and sturdy style, with the binding string matching the soft organic colours of the book.

FontThe font of the text has been selected specially to match the period. 

Print seting: Each page was set so as to be complete in itself, without interrupting the flow by breaking up sentences or ideas. 

Illustrations and cover image:  The book includes a series of black and white illustrations commissioned from the author of the text, who is also an artist. The illustrations are deceptively simple in design, and while they may appear abstract on first sight, they are in fact distilled figurative snapshots, depicting various scenes in the book. One of these illustrations is reproduced and embroidered on the cover, and it shows the figure of a lonely young man by the sea, with seagulls flying above him.


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THE LIGHT IN NOVEMBER
by May Garland
Dublin: Gur Cake Editions, 2017


with illustrations by Maire O'Reilly









Photographs by A.L.M.

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CONTACT


please note that Gur Cake Editions does NOT consider unsolicited material


General Editor: Aintzane Legarreta Mentxaka                                         makentxu@gmail.com

Book binder (Projects 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 9): Sandi Sexton                                sansexton23@aol.com

Designer (Projects 1, 2, 3): Aoife Mooney                                                aoifemooney@gmail.com
Designers (Project 4): maken and Sandi Sexton                                      ===
contact through Gur Cake editions

Designer (Projects 5, 6): maken                                                                  === contact through Gur Cake editions
Designers (Project 7):  Annie Holbrook and maken                                === contact through Gur Cake editions

Designers (Project 8): Costello, Doyle, Errity, and Mentxaka                === contact through Gur Cake editions

Designers (Project 9): Maire O'Reilly and maken                                    === contact through Gur Cake editions

Illustrator (Project 2): maken                                                                      === contact through Gur Cake editions

Photographer (Projects 3, 5): maken                                                         === contact through Gur Cake editions

Wood Carver (Project 3): maken                                                                === contact through Gur Cake editions

Embroiderer (Project 7): maken                                                                 === contact through Gur Cake editions

French Language Editor (Project 3): Emmaleene O'Brien                      === contact through Gur Cake editions

Flower petal collection (Project 9): Harvest Gallery, Meath                  === contact through Gur Cake editions

Printer-setter (Project 3): Loganprint                                                         === Colin Knightley @LoganPrint (LoganPrint is now under new management)

Printer-setter (Project 4): Klee Paper                                                         === Juliane Greene  sales@kleepaper.com  http://ecoland.com/  

Book assembly (Project 5): maken                                                              === contact through Gur Cake editions

Printing and heat-binding (Project 6): UCD Belfield CopyPrint              === cp@ucd.ie

Printing (Projects 7, 8, 9): Klee Paper                                                         === http://ecoland.com/  sales@kleepaper.com.



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