Writing from East Anglia: the box set

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Take a closer look at our Tales from the East box set, which celebrates writing from East Anglia.

Since the launch of our first book, Est, Collected Reports from East Anglia, in 2015, Dunlin Press has been a champion of writing from East Anglia.  Our commitment to publishing fresh and original writing from the region has continued over the years with the publication of two books by East Anglian-based poets, MW Bewick in 2017 and Alex Toms in October this year.

We’ve created a special edition curated box set containing all three books. We’ve also added some extra surprises that will only be revealed when you buy the box set.

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In Est: Collected Reports from East Anglia, contributors including filmmaker and novelist Chris Petit, ‘Hookland’ author David Southwell, poets Wendy Mulford and Martin Newell, and a host of other writers, create a kaleidoscopic vision of an East Anglia.

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Est is a unique collection of prose, poetry and reportage that spans the Wash to the Thames and the Fens to the German Sea. The texts merge psychogeography, social history, personal memoir and travel writing with discourses on local fable, art, archaeology and conservation. The collection explores the salt marshes and creeks, the sand and shingle beaches, the remains of Roman and Anglo-Saxon dwellings, the giant skies, interior geographies and, perhaps most of all, human histories, to paint an enigmatic picture of East Anglia today – while referencing more than 260 places in the region.

EST: COLLECTED REPORTS FROM EAST ANGLIA £9.99 DUNLIN PRESSThe book has received critical acclaim. Here’s just some of the kind words people have said about the publication…

‘Strange, reflective, memorable and odd as the region itself’
Libby Purves, Country Life

‘Books like Est must be able to be written again by the next generation’
Caught By The River

‘Uniformly excellent… well-edited, well designed, and unbreakable’
Ken Worpole, author of The New English Landscape

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Scarecrow is the debut poetry collection of poet and Dunlin Press co-founder MW Bewick. The poems transfigure contemporary landscapes of the city and the countryside in an unsettling flux of fractured narrative time and atomised human agency. Here, a panorama of gleaming towers and blood-red cranes mirrors another of overgrown flora and shorelines collapsing into the sea.

SCARECROW, MW BEWICK, DUNLIN PRESS

At the book’s heart is the figure of the scarecrow – a monad, feet cemented, ragged legs flailing, unable – or unwilling – to act as the world rushes by.  At turns wistful, angry, and touched with remorse, this inventive and thought-provoking volume brings together registers of folk, baroque and the surreal to confront a 21st-century sense of existential crisis.

MW Bewick is a writer of poetry and fiction. He works, and is widely published, as a journalist. He lives in Wivenhoe, Essex.

SCARECROW, MW BEWICK, DUNLIN PRESS

Writing contemporaries have been enthusiastic in their praise for Scarecrow. Here are some choice snippets…

‘A seriously good poet – fierce, political, able to capture industrial and post industrial landscapes with precise and sometimes painful imagery, tender about the natural world – love it!’  Kate Foley, poet

‘If I ever write anything half as good as Scarecrow or have something that lovely looking published, I’ll be bloody happy’  David Southwell, author Hookland Guide

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Our final book is the latest release from Dunlin Press, Lessons for an Apprentice Eel Catcher by Alex Toms.

In her debut collection of poetry, Alex Toms introduces us to a troupe of curious characters to explore themes of love, womanhood and sex. At the centre of this collection is the eel catcher, a shadowy figure who lives on the fringes of everyday experience. The eel catcher weaves willow traps, and tales of folklore and magic, evoking an East Anglia inhabited by poachers, witches and ghosts.

Lessons for an Apprentice Eel Catcher, Alex Toms

In her poems, Toms skilfully summons the uncanny, and out of it draws a slithering sense with which we are all familiar. Here are all the snares of life, and also perhaps, a spell that could set us free.

These wonderfully evocative poems are accompanied by specially commissioned individual paper-cut illustrations and bespoke photography.

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As this book is so new, it’s currently out for reviews. However the Alex’s collection has already impressed fellow writers, with poet Martin Newell commenting, “These poems are not just clever, they have depth and originality. I hope it’s a big success”.

Alex Toms is a repeat winner in national poetry competitions and in 2015 was Manchester Cathedral Poet of the Year. She is widely published in magazines, journals and anthologies.

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You can buy the box set at our Dunlin Press shop.

New book! Lessons for an Apprentice Eel Catcher

Lessons for an Apprentice Eel Catcher, Alex Toms. Published by Dunlin Press
Lessons for an Apprentice Eel Catcher, Alex Toms. Published by Dunlin Press

Dunlin Press are delighted to launch Alex Toms’ debut poetry collection, Lessons for an Apprentice Eel Catcher, at The Wivenhoe Bookshop on Thursday 11th October 2018.

In this stunning, otherworldly collection of poetry, Alex Toms introduces us to a troupe of curious characters to explore themes of love, womanhood and sex. At the centre of this collection is the eel catcher, a shadowy figure who lives on the fringes of everyday experience. The eel catcher weaves willow traps, and tales of folklore and magic, evoking an East Anglia inhabited by poachers, witches and ghosts.

In her poems, Toms skilfully summons the uncanny, and out of it draws a slithering sense with which we are all familiar. Here are all the snares of life, and also perhaps, a spell that could set us free.

 Lessons for an Apprentice Eel Catcher, Alex Toms. Published by Dunlin Press
Lessons for an Apprentice Eel Catcher, Alex Toms. Published by Dunlin Press

The poems are accompanied by specially commissioned individual paper-cut illustrations and bespoke photography.

Lessons for an Apprentice Eel Catcher, Alex Toms. Published by Dunlin Press
Lessons for an Apprentice Eel Catcher, Alex Toms. Published by Dunlin Press

Alex Toms is a repeat winner in national poetry competitions and in 2015 was Manchester Cathedral Poet of the Year. She is widely published in magazines, journals and anthologies. Find out more about the launch here.

The Orphaned Spaces: Still Lives

The Orphaned Spaces, still life booklet (c) Dunlin Press
The Orphaned Spaces, Still Lives booklet

Our latest book, The Orphaned Spaces, collates a number of different styles of photography and illustration, in different sections detailing the flora and fauna discovered on real areas of edgeland, brownfield sites and waste ground. Still Lives is one such section.

Botanical still life, The Orphaned Spaces.
Botanical still life, The Orphaned Spaces.

Yarrow, ragwort, plantain, mallow… these are the plants we often overlook, but do much to define the ecology of our wilder spaces. In The Orphaned Spaces, we greet them with photography, fine art, illustration and prose.

Botanical still life, The Orphaned Spaces.
Botanical still life, The Orphaned Spaces.

Taking the form of an A5, 148-page book and/or made-to-order box setThe Orphaned Spaces is an illustrated exploration of overlooked areas of natural beauty – edgelands, ex-industrial, derelict and brownfield sites, and the sometimes rare flora and fauna that is found there.

More than a nature book, it is a rumination on life, loss and time, through the prism of liminal spaces captured in moments between dilapidation and regeneration.

Hand-stitched still lives booklet
Hand-stitched Still Lives booklet, The Orphaned Spaces.
The Orphaned Spaces, still lives section.
The Orphaned Spaces, still lives section.

Originally the botanical still life photography was intended for our own personal research purposes. As part of our artistic process, we often make visual records when putting together our publications. We find visual research very effective in distilling a mood, capturing sometimes overlooked idiosyncrasies of a place or object; it’s generally a good resource to draw from when writing or illustrating.

As we’ve mentioned previously, The Orphaned Spaces started off small and has grown into a larger continuing project, as well as the book and limited edition box set.

Botanical still life, The Orphaned Spaces.
Botanical still life, The Orphaned Spaces.

The botanical photographs were created with plants and flowers gathered in the spring and summer from various edgelands and brownfield sites we visited over the course of our research. Inspired by Japanese ikebana, the plants were arranged starkly (sometimes with the help of wire and tape) on a plain, neutral background, to look like they are growing in isolation, and shot quickly.

Botanical still life, The Orphaned Spaces.
Botanical still life, The Orphaned Spaces.

The book and box set feature an edited selection of these photographs, however we are also amassing a growing library of images, now with various pioneer plants and botanicals gathered in autumn and winter. Perhaps these will lend themselves to an exhibition at some point in the future.

You can buy The Orphaned Spaces book and box set at our Dunlin Press shop.

The Orphaned Spaces Box Set

The Orphaned Spaces Box Set
The Orphaned Spaces Box Set

The Orphaned Spaces box set is one of those wonderful examples of how a very basic idea can grow into a full-blown all-consuming project.

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Dated glass bottle reliquary

Our original idea for The Orphaned Spaces was to have a plain paper bag containing fragments of writing, the odd drawing and some landscape photography, all loosely themed around ‘waste ground’. About a month in to the project, however, it had already started to take on a life of its own. In the end, we spent a year gathering pictures and writing for it – and it still continues.

The Orphaned Spaces: Postcards, fine art prints, seeds and reliquary
Postcards, fine art prints, seeds and reliquary

We’ve often described our Dunlin Press publications as ‘time capsules’, embodying the mood and spirit of a place or region at a particular period of human history – like pressing a pause button or taking a picture. The Orphaned Spaces box set is a physical manifestation of this concept.

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The Orphaned Spaces: Hand-stitched journal

This highly limited edition, made-to-order box set, deconstructs the book The Orphaned Spaces, breaking it down into hand-stitched booklets, postcards, archival prints and a reliquary.

The Orphaned Spaces: Hand-stitched journal
The Orphaned Spaces: Hand-stitched journal

The box set contains the following elements:

1: Hand-stitched ‘Journal’
Coverstock: G.F SMith, Colorplan, fuchsia pink, 270gsm. Inset pages: G.F SMith, Colorplan, dark grey, 135gsm. Inner pages: ZANDERS ZETA, Unwatermarked Textured Paper, linen 100gsm,
2: Hand-stitched black and white studies booklet
Paper stock: Hahnemühle, Photo Rag, matte smooth, 188gsm
3: Hand-stitched wild flower still lives booklet
Paper stock: Hahnemühle, Photo Rag, matte smooth, 188gsm
4: 10 pressed plants fine art giclée prints
Printed on archival Hahnemühle, Photo Rag, bamboo, 290gsm
5: Six landscape postcards
6: A glass bottle ‘reliquary’
7: Wildflower seeds include a mixture of annual and perennial wildflower species and grasses.
8: Bookmark using G.F SMith, Colorplan, dark grey, 135gsm

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Hand-stitched still lives booklet
Hand-stitched still lives booklet
Hand-stitched still lives booklet

The Orphaned Spaces is an illustrated exploration of overlooked areas of natural beauty – edgelands, ex-industrial, derelict and brownfield sites, and the sometimes rare flora and fauna that is found there. More than a nature book, it is a rumination on life, loss and time, through the prism of liminal spaces captured in moments between dilapidation and regeneration.

Hand-stitched black and white botanical and insect studies booklet
Hand-stitched black and white botanical and insect studies booklet

The Orphaned Spaces book and box-set are released on 27 August 2018 but you can pre-order it now to get it on the day. If you’re a bookshop that wants to stock it, or any of our other titles, please get in touch with us email us at info (at) dunlinpress (dot) com.

The Orphaned Spaces: Limited Edition pressed botanical fine art prints
The Orphaned Spaces: Limited Edition pressed botanical fine art prints

The Orphaned Spaces: A look at the book

OS_spread_0015OS_spread_0014The books have been delivered to DP Towers for The Orphaned Spaces, which launched on 27th August.

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Taking the form of an A5, 148-page book and/or made-to-order box setThe Orphaned Spaces is an illustrated exploration of overlooked areas of natural beauty – edgelands, ex-industrial, derelict and brownfield sites, and the sometimes rare flora and fauna that is found there.

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More than a nature book, it is a rumination on life, loss and time, through the prism of liminal spaces captured in moments between dilapidation and regeneration. The book is the culmination of a multi-discipline collaboration by poet MW Bewick and artist Ella Johnston. Anyway, here’s more pictures of the book…

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New book: The Orphaned Spaces

Landscape, The Orphaned Spaces (c) Dunlin Press
Landscape, The Orphaned Spaces (c) Dunlin Press

Our beautiful new book, published in August, is The Orphaned Spaces. The book is the latest in a loosely themed series from Dunlin Press that continues our interest in place, time and nature. It is available for pre-order now.

The Orphaned Spaces, MW Bewick and Ella Johnston published by Dunlin Press
The Orphaned Spaces, MW Bewick and Ella Johnston, published by Dunlin Press
Wild flower still life, taken from The Orphaned Spaces (c) Dunlin Press
Wild flower still life, The Orphaned Spaces (c) Dunlin Press

The book is a collaboration between Dunlin Press founders, poet MW Bewick and artist Ella Johnston. It is the culmination of a year of drawing, photographing and writing, making journeys across the UK, walking, gathering, and research.

Scarce Emerald Damsel Fly drawing by Ella Johnston, The Orphaned Spaces (c) Dunlin Press
Scarce Emerald Damsel Fly drawing by Ella Johnston, The Orphaned Spaces (c) Dunlin Press

In diary form, the text records a year in the life of liminal space and is all based on real journals – and conversations with naturalists – made over a 12-month period, summer to summer. The book includes quick brush pen sketches, made in the field, a series of intricately detailed black-and-white drawings, selected ‘waste ground’ landscape and still-life photographs of wild flowers, plus an image collection of pressed ‘relics’.

Relic, The Orphaned Spaces (c) Dunlin Press
Relic, The Orphaned Spaces (c) Dunlin Press

The project is centred on a rumination on life through the prisms of derelict land, brownfield sites and edgelands, all caught between moments of dilapidation and regeneration.

Wild plant still life, taken from The Orphaned Spaces (c) Dunlin Press
Wild plant still life, taken from The Orphaned Spaces (c) Dunlin Press

These often overlooked spaces reveal much beauty: pioneer plants – ruderals – stray species from around the world, brought by boat and train, and rare native fauna and flora. There are profound lessons to be taken from these landscapes, as well as in the plant and insect life that inhabits them – they are orphaned spaces that can come to be loved.

Yarrow drawing by Ella Johnston, The Orphaned Spaces (c) Dunlin Press
Yarrow drawing by Ella Johnston, The Orphaned Spaces (c) Dunlin Press

The Orphaned Spaces is released on 27 August 2018 but you can pre-order it now to get it on the day. If you’re a bookshop that wants to stock it, or any of our other titles, please get in touch with us email us at info (at) dunlinpress (dot) com.

 

The Orphaned Spaces – handmade books

Last week we previewed some black and white sketch imagery for our new project The Orphaned Spaces. Here’s a look at how we’ve put together some of our handmade books for the limited edition box set.

The first film features our book containing detailed black and white fine line studies of wild flowers, plants and insects. Inspired by botanical drawings seen in antiquarian books, the pieces are printed on archival paper.

The second video showcases our collection of still life photographs. These images are of  plants that we gathered on our explorations of abandoned brownfield sites. Again, as with the black and white drawings, they are printed on archival paper for the handmade element of the project.