A tree growing out of a book, a cap made of wren feathers, gloves of bee fur, a little girl reading a book, blue eggs in a nest…. If you are familiar with the story of Edinburgh’s book sculptures, you will know I’m describing the sculptures we were given by the anonymous artist. Many institutions in Edinburgh have received a book sculpture, from the Scottish Storytelling Centre’s dragon to the National Museum’s T.Rex. The story began here in March 2011, when we discovered the ‘Poet-Tree’ sat on a table on our upper level. We tweeted about it, posted photos online – and the response has yet to die down. People love the sculptures and they love the mystery of them.
This August, the unnamed sculptor pulled off her greatest coup (we know she is a ‘she’, but that’s about it). Thirty packages were delivered to the Edinburgh International Book Festival, each containing specially-made birdcages, including one with a crow that was a tribute to the late Iain Banks. Each bird had a handwritten label providing different instructions as to where to set it free – ranging from somewhere far away, to a writer of beautiful things.
That same weekend, the SPL received a bird and cage of its own, a lyrebird. We too received instructions on freeing our bird on a handwritten label.
We’ve spent the past fortnight mulling over how best to honour the sculptor’s wishes. What we would like to do is set the bird free to ‘fly’ to a school library in and around the Edinburgh area. We want to make sure the sculpture goes to the right place as we’ve become attached to it. So, we want pupils, teachers and school librarians who would like to have it to answer this question:
Why would your school library make a good home for the SPL’s lyrebird?
As the sculpture is a bird, it makes sense to ‘tweet’ us your answers via our Twitter stream, @byleaveswelive. If you can fit in the hashtag #lyrebird, all the better. We’ll run the competition for two or three weeks until we feel we’ve had enough entries in.
And while you’re here, can we introduce our new Learning Manager, Georgi Gill: ‘Hello. Just as the lyrebird is set to leave for a new home, I feel as though I’ve come home to roost here at the SPL; I’ve been attending events and dipping into the collection here since moving back to Scotland a couple of years ago. As Learning Manager, I’ll be developing our work with schools and young people, continuing projects with existing partners and hopefully forging new links. If you have any questions or ideas, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.’
Georgi can be contacted at Georgi.Gill@spl.org.uk