Gifts and Treasures – a story of mysterious book sculptures in four parts

Books come in many forms – standard hard and paperbacks, ebooks, audio books etc. However, it’s truly astonishing what some books can be transformed into. They no longer contain stories and characters – they become them.


An anonymous artist saw something more in books than just covers and all that was held between them. This artist decided to show everyone the importance of the words books contain.

‘In making sculptures from books I saw a pale shadow of the wonder that is reading, where black marks can become scientific theories, romantic poems… gruesome stories. This raises the question ‘does a book on being read remain a book?’ And so I chose to transform the books into other things…’ quote from the artist

It’s up to the reader to decide what happens to books later. Some will be kept, some given away and some will become a literary world of its own.

10 book gifts were delivered to various locations in Edinburgh. Each one of them crafted with sublime attention to detail. They were magically transformed to visually manifest a meaning of literature, books, libraries etc.


They were all gathered together and currently tour Scotland.

From my own experience I can say that they are not only outstanding pieces of art. They captured my imagination from the moment I saw them. Each one of them has a different story to say. I love them all, but I also have my favourites.


Lost In A Good Book

A girl lost in the world of the book she’s been reading.

I was fortunate to have a childhood filled with books and stories. As an adult I still am that girl who gets totally engrossed in reading from the moment I open a book. This sculpture could be a modern icon of need to encourage people to read – no matter what age and social status. Not everyone can afford books, but libraries are amazing places and they should be supported, not closed one by one.

No 10 Street Scene: THE WRITERS’ MUSEUM

Street Scene

Who is hiding in the shadows?

This one has been haunting me since I laid my eyes on it. Or since I imagined myself walking along that street – hurrying home with a leather-bound book under my arm, the hood of my coat protecting me from fresh snow falling down to cover blood stains on the pavement. There had been another unexplained murder in the area. No one was able to look into the eyes of passers-by.  I love spooky Gothic stories – and that’s how easy it is for me to get carried away. Which story will haunt you – go and see it to experience the power with which this sculptures will draw you right in.

GIFTED The Edinburgh Book Sculptures on Tour 2012

Aberdeen: Central Library – 17/08/12 – 06/09/12

Dundee: Central Library – 07/09/12 – 25/09/12

Wigtown Book Festival: The Studio – 28/09/12 – 07/10/12

Glasgow: Mitchell Library – 09/10/12 – 27/10/12

Dunfermline: Carnegie Library: 30/09/12 – 18/11/12

Edinburgh: Scottish Poetry Library: 24/10/12 – 08/12/12

There’s still time to see them in their home town.


The Anonymous Artist strikes back!

I woke up quite late today – my last day of holiday. I had so many things to do, but as usual, I turned my computer on and that was the lethal strike for my ‘to do list’. I got drawn in to the treasure hunt. Not an ordinary one, though they are fun. The prize for this one was one of the book sculptures.

Adrenaline building up with every clue. With trembling fingers I texted my answer for clue no 3 at 12:33. The reply came two minutes later – I was right which meant I had to go to the location. It felt like being a character in an adventure book or film. I got bus 62, complaining about the slow traffic along Dumbarton Road. When I got off the bus I was ready to fly up that big hill towards the Glasgow School of Art. I wasn’t on my own – my boyfriend was there with me. I think he was there not to keep me company, but to yank my reins of imagination a bit. I was transfixed – adventure like this on Monday? Things like this don’t happen on Mondays! We were early and tried to pass as two students casually enjoying a break from classes – outside, facing a noisy building site across the narrow street.

After a terribly long 12 minutes, I got a text with the final clue. Only then I realised I didn’t know much about the Glasgow School of Art – I didn’t know where the library was. We went the wrong way, realised our foolish steps and went back, then got lost inside before finding the library in question. All the time frantically running about and repeating in my mind the secret password. I came 4th at 14:07. The winner was already holding the prize.

Even though I didn’t win, I was privileged to see the sculpture. It’s wonderful. Another amazing book was transformed to catch you and drag you into the world of Alasdair Gray’s books.

Alasdair Gray - Lanark: A Life In Four Books

Tomorrow I have to go back to work – unless I figure out how to hunt the treasure on my lunch break.


There are so many books around. More than anyone can read in a lifetime. A book which is truly appreciated and loved should be read, lent out, given away and talked about – talked about endlessly. Books are not only a gateway to another world and a chance to become someone else – even if it lasts only until the last page is read – they are a substantial part of the world created around us. They have the power to influence thoughts and let readers experience things which normally would not be possible or readers would not even dream about.

If you have a chance, go and see the exhibition. If you love adventures take part in another treasure hunt – four more this week. Good Luck!


One thought on “Gifts and Treasures – a story of mysterious book sculptures in four parts

  1. Love these photos. Evocative and spooky at the same time.

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