Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Those of you who don't keep up with Edinburgh's literary world through Twitter may have missed the recent spate of mysterious paper sculptures appearing around the city.

Guardian article, 3rd March 2011.

One day in March, staff at the Scottish Poetry Library came across a wonderful creation, left anonymously on a table in the library. Carved from paper, mounted on a book and with a tag addressed to @byleaveswelive - the library's Twitter account - reading:

It started with your name @byleaveswelive and became a tree.… ... We know that a library is so much more than a building full of books… a book is so much more than pages full of words.… This is for you in support of libraries, books, words, ideas….. a gesture (poetic maybe?)
Mysterious paper sculptures

Next to the 'poetree' sat a paper egg lined with gold and a scatter of words which, when put together, make "A Trace of Wings" by Edwin Morgan.

The mysterious paper tree

Nobody knew where it came from, nor was anyone forthcoming with information in person or online, despite a fair amount of local news coverage.

The mysterious paper tree

It looked like this was a one-off, a beautiful and delicate piece of art created by a fan of the Poetry Library. Until, in late June, the National Library of Scotland found themselves the recipient of a similar piece.

Mysterious paper sculptures

A gramophone and a coffin, sculpted from a copy of Ian Rankin's Exit Music, and again deposited anonymously. The tag in this case read:

For @natlibscot - A gift in support of libraries, books, words, ideas..... (& against their exit)
Mysterious paper sculptures

And soon afterwards, the Filmhouse had a pleasant surprise!

Guardian article, 30th June 2011.

Mysterious paper sculptures

This time the sculpture is a complex scene in a paper cinema; punters arrayed on seats watching men and horses coming alive from the screen and charging outwards.

Mysterious paper sculptures

The tag?

For @filmhouse - A gift in support of libraries, books, words, ideas..... and all things *magic*

Amongst the audience is a figure with Ian Rankin's face, clutching a Deuchar's.

Mysterious paper sculptures

Finally (so far), in early July the Scottish Storytelling Centre found a dragon nesting in a window.

Scotsman article, 11th July 2011.

Mysterious paper sculptures

Once again carved from a Rankin novel, they don't know how long it might have been sitting there unnoticed as it's quite well hidden. Perhaps the loveliest tag so far:

For @scotstorycenter - A gift in support of libraries, books, works, ideas..... Once upon a time there was a book and in the book was a nest and in the nest was an egg and in the egg was a dragon and in the dragon was a story.....
Mysterious paper sculptures

Nobody knows whether there are more to come and if so, where they might appear. Some say the newly opened National Museum, others suggest the Edinburgh International Book Festival. It's all a bit exciting!


Having been on display in the Scottish Poetry Library for a few months, the poetree is now kept behind the counter for safety, but if you ask nicely I'm sure they would let you have a look.

The National Library's gramophone is in a display case near the front door.

The Filmhouse's cinematic diorama is currently not on display.

The Scottish Storytelling Centre's dragon is probably going to estivate during the Festivals to avoid any possible manhandling by infant hordes but will surely make a return in the autumn.

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