Announcing DARKLIGHT

October 08, 2018

Darklight comprises a suite of new poems by John Fitzgerald surrounded with an etching by Dorothy Cross. The concept of the book in both its subject matter and in its materiality centres on the darkness of night.

About the collaborators: 

John FitzGerald is a graduate of University College Cork (BA in English and Philosophy, 1983), University College Dublin, and the University of Wales at Aberystwyth. Following some time working as an IT specialist in the private sector in Ireland and the UK, and as a librarian at Trinity College Dublin, he became University Librarian at University College Cork in 1996, where he also currently holds overall responsibility for the Cork University Press. John is the winner of the 2014 Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Prize; he was shortlisted for the 2015 Hennessy New Irish Writing Award; and in 2016 he acted as a jury member of the Poem for Ireland campaign, launched by RTE. His poetry chapbook ‘First Cut’ was published by Southward in 2017. He lives with his family on a farm in Lissarda, County Cork.

Dorothy Cross' work ranges from object to opera: working with sculpture, photography and video. The themes of her work have dealt with memory and inheritance, sexuality and desire, and the position of the human in nature. Her work came to mainstream public attention with her solo show Ebb at the Douglas Hyde Gallery, Trinity College, Dublin in 1988. This was followed by several major shows: Powerhouse at the ICA Philadelphia (1991) and Even, at Arnolfini, Bristol, England (1996). These shows were made up of large sculptures that often contained found objects both from her family and from studios such as the Pigeonhouse power station in Dublin Bay where she worked for four years in the early 1990s. She represented Ireland at the Venice Biennale in 1993 and the Istanbul Biennial in 1997 with her Udder series. Her best known public work is Ghost Ship, where she painted a de- commissioned lightship with phosphorous paint and moored it in Dublin Bay, where it glowed at night for several weeks in the winter of 1999. In 2013 An Post released a stamp celebrating the Ghost Ship. In 2005 a major retrospective of her work was held at the Irish Museum of Modern Art. Dorothy now lives on the coast of north Galway.

The type has been hand-set in 14 and 24 point Méridien, designed by Adrian Frutiger. The image by Dorothy Cross has been produced in two variants; the etching that covers the standard book was printed by Suzannah O’Reilly Mullaney, the phosphorescent images that accompany the deluxe book were first silkscreen printed by Jordan McQuaid before intaglio printing by Suzannah. Both image variants were printed on 54gsm Japanese Tosa Shi. Darklight has been printed in an edition of 80 copies. The bindings will be executed by Tom Duffy and family in Dublin’s Five Lamps area. Housed in a transparent perspex slipcase, copies marked 1 – 50 have been printed on and will be bound in handmade paper commissioned for this book from the Velké Losiny Mill in the Czech Republic. Copies marked A – Z have been printed on the Velké Losiny paper and will be bound in full Pentland goat, presented in a Japanese cloth covered solander box. 

The task of producing the phosphorescent image by Dorothy Cross is very tricky. The phosphorescent layer requires silkscreen printing to achieve the rich glow and to keep an even tone (I’v made phosphorescent ink for letterpress in the past and it’s very troublesome). The silkscreen is water-based and will try to warp the paper. The intaglio image will be produced at great pressure onto paper dampened for a second time. Then the paper will need to be flattened once again. I want it to be delicate and thin like only handmade Japanese papers are. So, it will need to be produced in two parts, first silkscreen printed by Jordan McQuaid in Dublin City before intaglio printing by Suzannah O'Reilly at Parallel Editions in Limerick. The paper for the image has been sourced from Kawanaka, Japan. I’m very excited to see how these processes work out.

The book is currently at the bindery. I hope to launch the book during December 2018. The books will launch at €1250 (deluxe) and €450 (standard). A small number of both standard and deluxe copies are available now at a pre-publication discount of 20%. Please enquire.