The Writer's Museum, National Museum of Scotland and Scottish Poetry Library were the latest, and, it seems, last recipients of mysterious paper sculptures.
In August we reported that six paper sculptures had been found around Edinburgh, each sculpted from a book by an anonymous maker and mysteriously left in a literary location.
At the end of that month, the Central Lending Library became the seventh recipient of an anonymous work of paper art when the maker left a sculpture of a magnifying glass hovering over a book, with a quote from poet Edwin Morgan. The quote in the magnifying glass reflects the book, and read “When I go in I want it bright, I want to catch whatever is there in full sight.”
At the end of November, The Writer’s Museum staff found a sculpture in their museum: a beautifully detailed street scene sculpted from a copy of Ian Rankin's Hide and Seek. The note left with the scene reads "@CuratorEMG, A Gift. "The stories are in the stones" Ian Rankin. In support of Libraries, Books, Words, Ideas ...... and Writers." Although this was the last sculpture found chronologically, it was marked 8/10.
A member of the National Museum of Scotland Visitor Services team found their incredible paper creation near their famous Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton. Bursting from a binding of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World, a paper T-Rex towers over tiny paper humans, presumably characters from the novel.
The message left with the paper dinosaur was marked 9/10, and 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.” NMS recently launched a 26 Treasures trail, in which 26 writers have been paired with 26 objects from the collection (including the Lewis Chessmen and Queen Mary’s Harp) and have each written a 62 word piece in response to their treasure.
The Scottish Poetry library, recipients of the very first sculpture left by the unknown maker, discovered that they had been gifted a second paper craft sculpture on 23 November. An intricate pile of paper feathers beside a pair of gloves, the craft bore the note “To @byleaveswelive... The Gifts. “Gloves of bee’s fur, cap of the wren’s wings...” Norman MacCaig, maybe sometimes impossible things... In support of libraries, books, words and ideas.” and was marked 10/10.
An additional note left beside their donation was longer, and provides a few tantalising clues, and an ending, to this mystery:
“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 because 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 maybe…….
“A tiny gesture in support of the special places…..”
The identity of the maker remains hidden, in a mystery fitting for another of Conan Doyle’s literary creations, Sherlock Holmes. However, many agree that this anonymity only adds to the charm of these enchanting craft works, which have delighted Edinburgh’s literary community.
View a flickr slideshow of the paper sculptures from user chrisdonia:
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