Those tiny, exquisite paper sculptures that began mysteriously appearing in Edinburgh libraries a few years ago are back!
This time, one was mailed to the UNESCO City of Literature Trust, and declared on the wrapping to be “in support of libraries, books, words & ideas.” Inside the package was a tiny paper travelling trunk containing beautifully detailed feather wings, a safety helmet, and goggles to protect the reader during the literary journey. (Everything is made from the pages of old books.) Brilliant.
There is a book out by Birlinn Books now on these lovely little sculptures called Gifted: The Tale of Ten Mysterious Book Sculptures, and I am chuffed to say I had a small role to play in its development.
I have regularly posted about these incredible pieces of art, which were found hidden on Edinburgh library shelves and tucked behind books. A London editor for Birlinn Books read one of my blog posts and tipped off the head office in Edinburgh who decided the story was worthy of a book of its own.
(I’ve often thought it funny that it took a post in a Canadian author’s blog on the other side of the ocean to bring the story to Scottish attention, given that the publisher and the artist live in Edinburgh, but that’s how things often work in this crazy, globalized world.)
Once Gifted was published, I received a lovely note from its publisher, Neville Moir, (who ended up becoming my publisher too, for the UK version of The Beggar’s Opera, called Midnight in Havana, in one of those small world coincidences.) Neville was the one who told me about how my blog post precipitated the book. Some weeks later, I was sent a copy of Gifted, which I cherish. (If you haven’t seen it, get one: you’ll be awestruck at the creativity and skill of these works and the artist contributed a chapter anonymously on how to make one of these sculptures yourself.)
Anyway, so glad to see that this brilliant artist is back at work. Writers, libraries (and in this case, the UNESCO Trust) all benefit from this kind of support and so we truly are all “gifted.”