Saturday, February 11, 2012

Just when I thought there was very little goodwill left in the world....the mysterious paper sculptures of Edinburgh appeared

I came across this beautiful true story of mysterious anonymous paper sculptures appearing in Edinburgh. The artist left these 10 sculptures in various libraries in the course of 2011 and chose to remain anonymous.  Each sculpture was accompanied by a note of appreciation and support towards libraries, books, writing and creative ideas.

The first one was found during March 2011 in the Scottish Poetry Library.  It was 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?)

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.

Then, in late June, the National Library of Scotland found themselves the recipient of a similar piece.
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

The third one appeared in the Filmhouse.
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. The tag said:
For @filmhouse – A gift in support of libraries, books, words, ideas….. and all things *magic*

Mysterious paper sculptures

Then in early July the Scottish Storytelling Centre found a dragon nesting in a window.
The tag:
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

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.

After 10 sculptures were left all over the city, the artist made it known that the project was now completed with a farewell note saying:
Goodbye Edinburgh! It was fun!

What a beautiful soul this is! It is extremely rare that a person would pour out so much of themselves into a series of exquisite artworks just to uplift and encourage those around them and still choose to remain anonymous.  Are there any more similar stories of inspiration out there? Let's hear them!

Scottish photographer Chris Scott has documented the sculptures in photos and in this comprehensive post on Scottish art site Central Station.
Photos by Chris Scott

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