Lines and Colors art blog

Mysterious paper scultures of Edinburgh

Mysterious paper scultures of Edinburgh
Since March of last year, a series of wonderful and whimsical paper sculptures have been anonymously left on tables and shelves in libraries in Edinburgh, Scotland.

It feels like something from a novel, and may in some way have a connection to the detective novels of Ian Rankin, but there is no indication he is involved, other than perhaps in inspiring a fan.

The sculptures are made from books and pages of books, and extol the virtues of book and libraries. They were often accompanied by notes, one of which reads in part: …” In support of Libraries, Books, Words, Ideas […] and All things ‘magic’…”

There were, over a period of months, 10 sculptures left by the mysterious artist, who on the last sculpture left a note signing off with “Cheers Edinburgh it’s been fun!

Most of the articles I’ve come across refer to images from this Flickr set of photos by Chris Scott.


6 responses to “Mysterious paper scultures of Edinburgh”

  1. OK, I’m going to start something. Destroying books in order to extoll books and libraries. Is there a message? Or are there plenty of books out there so the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one.

    1. A good point, Bill. My take is that there are so many books thrown out/recycled every year that a few sculptures hardly make a dent; and if libraries close, as is happening all too frequently these days, many more will go that way.

  2. Randall Imai Avatar
    Randall Imai

    In my opinion, it is precisely the honored role that books (the object) have in our psyche that makes them a valued medium for art.

  3. This is not a criticism. I used old books for handmade sketchbook covers. The question is about the possible ironic message. Maybe I’m reading too much into it because it’s fun for me. Maybe it’s because I love books so much that there is a struggle in seeing a mangled book as support for a book. It’s not about books as a physical resource, there are an awful lot being tossed aside, but about the visual message.

    The sculptures are beautiful objects and I have seen others do this wonderfully:


    But for me there always seems to be that, what are you doing?, moment. Like I said I’ve used books myself and they are a wonderful physical resource each with its own history. This is not a logical argument just a noticeable illogical twinge.

    1. Yes, a pertinent thought. I’ve also experienced that twinge when seeing other sculptures based on carving or otherwise utilizing books (e.g Sue Blackwell: ), so I know what you mean.

      (I’m also writing from a house that is having some structural issues due to the weight of books).

  4. A lot of books used by artists to create paper sculptures and other works of art are damaged in some way previously.