As Christmas fast approaches and you search for that original Christmas gift, we may have just what you are looking for!
Our exclusive and original Limited Edition Portfolio, entitled ‘Hope’ is not only a unique investment opportunity, but is an Irish heritage gift of great beauty and value that will be passed on to future generations.
Intended as a collectors’ item to honour the skills of Irish writers, Listowel Writers Week approached a number of Irish writers, and five: Eavan Boland, Anne Enright, Jennifer Johnston, Brendan Kennelly and Colm Tóibín contributed their personal responses to the theme of ‘Hope’.
I asked our Chair, Liz Dunn, when and how the idea for the Portfolio first came about, and what its reception has been like since the 100 copies were published by Stoney Road Press earlier this year.
“The idea was proposed four years ago by committee member Eamonn Dillon during discussions as to how to facilitate the leaving of a Listowel Writers week legacy, long after we are all dim and distant memories but with the Festival still alive and kicking in Listowel.
“These pieces of writing exist nowhere else in the literary world. They are not taken from a book or from something that already exists. They were written exclusively for Listowel Writers Week.
“The works are loose leaf, and contained in a specially designed protective outer carrier, so it’s possible to frame some or all of the pieces. The ‘first off the press’ (and, therefore, some would argue the most valuable in the numbered collection) has already been framed and can be viewed in the Kerry Writers Museum in Listowel, reflecting the versatility of this project.”
What were the responses of the writers and artist when Listowel Writers Week approached them?
“As Listowel Writers Week is held in such esteem, our invited writers were delighted to participate in this project which finally came to fruition this year. They have all visited Listowel Writers Week and remain excellent ambassadors for the festival. Each author was gifted a Portfolio and their response has been one of awe and delight, not only at seeing their own work so beautifully reproduced, but also at being the proud owner of such a valuable gem.
“Our artist, Donald Teskey was, in consultation with Stoney Road Press, commissioned to produce a Limited Edition print which we feel echoes and enhances the writings. The original image, entitled ‘Kerry Shoreline’, and used for the print is also exclusive to Listowel Writers Week.
How did Stoney Road Press get involved?
“With a collectors’ item of this calibre, it was essential that the portfolio should be printed using traditional methods on high quality handmade paper using both traditional methods and traditional inks. It had to be printed on acid proof paper and, by use of the fine art methods, the collector is assured that the works contained within the Portfolio will not fade or deteriorate.
“We researched Fine Art Printers in Ireland and, after much discussion, we commissioned Stoney Road Press Fine Art Printers in Dublin. They carry a very prestigious reputation both nationally and internationally and the quality of the Portfolio speaks volumes about their commitment to reproducing the contributions. Each print was then personally signed by the authors and artist.”
You met with Minister for Arts at Dublin Castle. What was her response to the Portfolio?
“Minister Humphreys was most impressed by the beauty, quality and content of the Portfolio, as have been all those who have viewed it. We are currently in discussion with the Department of Public Works with a view to a portfolio being purchased for exhibition in Dublin. The National Gallery, along with universities and libraries nationally and internationally, have already purchased a copy for their archives.”
A group from Listowel Writers’ Week took part in the Los Gatos – Listowel Writers’ Festival in California last month, where the Portfolio was exhibited. What was the response in the US?
“Our American cousins in Los Gatos were most impressed and as a result of the Portfolio receiving coverage and promotion at their Literary Festival, we have already sold three Portfolios there. In addition, further portfolios have been sold to private collectors.
“This was a delightfully unexpected result because when people are looking to invest in art such as this, they don’t usually make snap decisions. I think the fact that only a hundred Portfolios will ever be available is recognised by established collectors and archivists.”
“Overall, the response to the Portfolio has been fantastic. It is clearly a collector’s item that can only increase in value and would, therefore make a fabulous Christmas, wedding or retirement gift. The variety of the purchasers reflects this. Some have been purchased rather like we purchase books; just to own it brings fantastic pleasure. To hold in one’s hand, the works of these authors and artists and to know that they have touched them too is humbling.
Can the Portfolio be framed?
“The collection looks magnificent when framed. It also means that individuals and businesses can share it with their clients, friends and family when they come to visit. Collectors can decide
whether to frame and display all six pieces, as can currently be seen in the Kerry Writers Museum in Listowel, or frame their favourite pieces, storing the rest in the special protective folder in which they are held. In our ever mass-produced market place, the original work of our master craftsmen and women is more important than ever.”
Take a look here at Stoney Road Press Printing Brendan Kennelly Original
Housed in a commemorative protective folder, the Portfolio is available at a price of €1,000 excluding p&p. If you would like to purchase a copy of ‘Hope’ please click on the following link
or call Máire Logue or Eilish Wren on 0044 (0) 68 21074.