Friday, 25 November 2011

Paper Sculptures - Gotta catch them all!

Yesterday afternoon staff at the Writer's Museum found something atop the donations box in the Robert Louis Stevenson room.

Paper sculptures - 8 of 10

A wonderfully atmospheric street scene with what appears to be a silvery moon with wisps of cloud hanging from it. This tag reads:

"@CuratorEMG A Gift
"The stories are in the
stones" Ian Rankin
In support of Libraries, Books,
Words, Ideas ...... and

And the 8/10 in the corner, confirming that we've found them all!

Paper sculptures - 8 of 10

The cover says, "the stories are in the stones / Ian Rankin" ...

Paper sculptures - 8 of 10

...which is fitting as it has been sculpted from a copy of Ian Rankin's Hide and Seek.

Paper sculptures - 8 of 10

Inside the book are an array of people with birds on wires and a streetlight...

Paper sculptures - 8 of 10

Paper sculptures - 8 of 10

There are even goings-on visible behind some of the windows, as well as a pentagram scrawled on a wall in red with the signs of the zodiac around it.

Paper Sculptures - 8 of 10

Along the front of the scene have been placed the words, "commingled out of Good and evil;" Misha Hoekstra pointed out that this is a line from Jekyll & Hyde, "I have observed that when I wore the semblance of Edward Hyde, none could come near to me at first without a visible misgiving of the flesh. This, as I take it, was because all human beings, as we meet them, are commingled out of good and evil: and Edward Hyde, alone in the ranks of mankind, was pure evil," and that Ian Rankin has said of Hide & Seek that he was hoping to create an updated, Edinbugh-based version of Stevenson's story.

Paper sculptures - 8 of 10

The curators are looking into ways to display this piece although it's possible that it will have to live in a different venue due to considerations of space - the Writer's Museum is absolutely packed with stuff! They're terribly happy with it though; apparently they had been hoping to receive one and now feel very lucky to have had one of the last three.

So this seems to be the end of the story. There is talk of organising some sort of exhibition but so far it's just an idea. Some of the 'gifts' are viewable anyway - those in the Scottish Poetry Library, the Scottish Storytelling Centre and Central Library (the gramophone in the National Library seems to have been temporarily displaced). The rest will hopefully find a place in the public eye and I'll keep an eye on them as I have grown rather attached.

Many thanks to whoever has been crafting and distributing these magical objects, and thanks on behalf of the creator to those who have followed their discovery with such infectious delight.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Paper Sculptures: The final chapter

"It's important that a story is not too long ......does not become tedious ......."

There was a flurry of excitement when someone at the Scottish Poetry Library spotted this note in their guest book:

Paper sculptures - the end!

"Hopefully next time I'll be able to linger longer - I've left a
little something for you near Women's Anthologies X. In support of
Libraries, Books, Words and Ideas...."

A quick dash into the library led to the discovery of another gift.

Paper sculptures - the end!

The tag on this read:

"To @ByLeavesWeLive.......
THE GIFTS "Gloves of bee's ful,
cap of the Wren's Wings......."
Norman McCaig
.... maybe sometimes impossible things...
In support of LIbraries, Books, Words

And with the suspicious addition in the corner reading 10/10.

Paper sculptures - the end!

So here we have a cap made of a wing.

Paper sculptures - the end!

A wing, of course, made of exquisitely crafted paper feathers.

Paper sculptures - the end!

And with it a pair of paper gloves...

Paper sculptures - the end!

... made in the texture of a bee.

Paper sculptures - the end!

And an explanation!

Paper sculptures - the end!

"It's important that a story is not too long ......does not become tedious .......

'You need to know when to end a story,' she thought.

Often a good story ends where it begins. This would mean a return to the
Poetry Library. The very place where she had left the first of the ten.

Back to those who had loved that little tree, and so encouraged her to try
again .......and again.

Some had wondered who it was, leaving these small strange objects. Some
even thought it was a 'he'! ....... As if!

Others looked among Book Artists, rather good ones actually.......

But they would never find her there. For though she does make things, this
was the first time she had dissected books and had used them simply be-
cause they seemed fitting....

Most however chose not to know..... which was the point really.

The gift, the place to sit, to look, to wonder, to dream..... of the impossible

A tiny gesture in support of the special places.....

So, here, she will end this story, in a special place ... A Poetry Library .....
where they are well used to 'anon.'

But before exiting ...a few mentions. There could be more, because we
have all colluded to make this work....... Just a few though.

- the twitter community who in some strange way gave rise to the idea in
the first place

-@chrisdonia who gave the story a place, a shape and some great pictures

- and not least @Beathhigh whose books and reputation have been shame-
lessly utilised in the making of a mystery ........

...... But hold on. Someone's left behind a pair of gloves and a cap..........?

Cheers Edinburgh It's been fun!


A wonderful end to a wonderful story and a lovely mention for a humble photographer! But talk of ten sculptures had everyone a-flutter. There were only eight we knew of, what of the remaining two? Could they have been lost? stolen? or worse, thrown away by someone who didn't realise what they had found?

Mercifully the answer was forthcoming the next day. The National Museum of Scotland had received a gift, found on the plinth under a skeletal stag. A consciencious member of staff had found it and passed it to his supervisor, thinking it might be something more than average lost property. It soon made its way up the chain of command until it came to rest in the Director's office for safety.

Meanwhile the museum staff were abuzz with the imminent arrival of their millionth visitor since reopening (which was a surprise as that wasn't really expected until about August 2012) so they didn't have time to tell the world about it until that had died down.

And so another is unveiled!

Paper sculptures - 9 of 10

A Tyrannosaurus Rex, bursting from the tattered leaves of a book. And what book could it be other than Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World?

Paper sculptures - 9 of 10

The tag here reads:

"For @NtlMuseumsScot A Gift
Your friends at @edbookfest
suggested you might like this.
.... In support of libraries,
books, words, ideas and those
places that house our treasures......"

And in the corner, 9/10.

Hidden amidst the tattered leaves of the book are tiny men with weapons that probably wouldn't do much damage to the beast, as its bloodstained jaw seems to prove.

Paper sculptures - 9 of 10

Paper sculptures - 9 of 10

Paper sculptures - 9 of 10

The museum hope to exhibit this to coincide with the 26 Treasures series.

And what of the last?