A library is more than a building of books…

‘A library is more than a building of books,’ the anonymous book sculptor wrote on the note attached to her first gift, a sculpture crafted from the pages of books and left anonymously in the Scottish Poetry Library.

These beautiful book sculptures are a love letter to libraries, and a celebration of the power of story. A paper egg at the foot of a swirling paper oak holds a jigsaw of words to form the Edwin Morgan poem, A Trace of Wings –  a poem which tells us that we see beauty in a flash, a glance, and then it is gone like a flash of a bunting’s wings.

The sixth paper book sculpture: Lost in a good book…

The book sculptures, however, remain a glimpse of beauty and generosity in a world which is so often hard and cynical. One gift depicts a reader lost in a forest of words, the trees cut from pages rising high behind her. What you do not see you can imagine – the deep blue sky in the background as night falls, the crackles and rustles and forest-y sounds which the lone reader is too absorbed to hear, the comforting sense of darkness, the warming sense of cold, the cosiness of the sculpture sings. The black text on the white paper has always made me think of snow.

 

 

The fifth paper book sculpture: Tea, cake and a book

Other gifts are a paper cinema screen from which the characters explode, running towards the enthralled audience; a dinosaur coming boldly to life from between the covers of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Lost World; an old-school gramophone which you feel really is playing the songs of the 1950s as couples dance slowly unseen in the background; a cup of tea and a cake. From the fantastical to the everyday, the sculptor tells us, there is magic in books and stories which cannot be found elsewhere – a cup of tea and a dinosaur are not incompatible, the comfort of one and the danger of the other sing, and herein lies the beauty of stories.

 

The seventh paper book sculpture: Magnifying glass

That the sculptures were gifted anonymously is a sign of generosity not only of the sculptor herself (though this is undeniable) but also of stories – the deep humanity of the words we use to pass stories on from one person to the next, mother to child, elder to younger, author to reader. The sculptures reflect the infinite magic of libraries like Edinburgh Central Library, the National Library of Scotland and the Scottish Poetry Library, where the shelves are lined with books, between the covers of which are endless adventures and ideas, if you dare to open the cover.

 

 

Four of these sculptures are on display in Central Library – works of art for everyone who loves stories, created by a fellow wanderer in the forests of fiction. Stories are what make us human. These sculptures remind us of that, and they are truly beautiful.

This blog post was written by Hope Whitmore, writer and member of the Central Library team. You can read more of her gorgeous writing on her Barnes & Noble Review page.

The last book sculpture: Butterfly Tree and the Lost Child

Bedtime Stories

This August, Sighthill Library has the privilege of hosting the Bedtime Stories Quilt, on loan from the Museum of Childhood.

The quilt was part of a Bedtime Stories exhibition and was created by 60 adults and children from all over the UK. The patchwork features familiar story-time favourites alongside squares inspired by personal memories. More information on the quilt can be found on the Museum’s blog and you can find out more about the Museum of Childhood on their website.


The quilt is on display alongside some of the stories that inspired it, so come along and have a look, before it goes on tour to other libraries in the city including Stockbridge, Fountainbridge, Wester Hailes, Newington and Balgreen.

 

 

A Woman’s Place art exhibition

This month’s exhibition in the Art & Design Library is by Julie Galante and is entitled     A Woman’s Place: an exploration of home and belonging.

Julie is a painter and mixed-media artist based in Stockbridge, Edinburgh. Her artwork focuses on people and places real and imagined. As someone who has lived in several different countries, she is particularly intrigued by the ways in which one’s location can affect a person’s inner and outer life.

The exhibition works started out as a study of the relationships between people and places: how one’s location and proximity to other people affects one’s mental state and well-being. The themes and subjects have grown and developed with the events of the past year. Julie explained to where the inspiration for her work had come from –

“The power of groups of women became evident to me in the women’s marches taking place all over the world, as well as in the close-knit group of female friends who supported me through my husband’s leukemia diagnosis and treatment. His death in April of this year left me reeling, person-less and place-less. Much of the artwork I have created since then is an exploration of my new role of young widow. And finally, many of the pieces in this exhibition celebrate Edinburgh, the city in which I know I belong. There is very little certainty in my life right now, but one thing I know for sure is that this city is my home”.

A Woman’s Place can be viewed within the Art & Design Library, Central Library from   2 – 30 August.

 

 

 

‘What if?’ Art Library exhibition for July 2017

The latest Art & Design Library exhibition poses the question, ‘What if?’

We know that homelessness is not inevitable. We know that together we can end it. In Crisis’ landmark 50th year, Art in Crisis considers the proposition ‘What If’ through the eyes of their clients, with pieces examining the past, considering the present and looking to the future.

To capture these symbolic images, Crisis clients and local photographer Alicia Bruce were inspired by classic Dutch still life paintings and still life photography.

The Art & Design Library exhibition forms part of Art in Crisis’ national programme of public events presenting compelling, original artwork made by artists experiencing homelessness.

‘What If?’ exhibition by Art in Crisis runs from 4 to 29 July 2017.

 

Art and Design Books of the Week

The Art & Design Library recommends some reading from their series of Books of the Week:

Australia’s Impressionists
Australia’s Impressionists focuses on the paintings of Tom Roberts, Arthur Streeton, Charles Condor and John Russell.

This beautiful book challenges our preconceptions of what is meant by Impressionism, enriches our understanding of Australian art and reveals the international nature of art historical movements and exchanges in the nineteenth century. The story is framed by unmistakably Australian subjects and location, a preoccupation with light and colour, and the context of Australian identity and sense of nationhood.

The Global Contemporary
The Global Contemporary and the Rise of New Art Worlds documents the globalisation of the visual arts and the rose of the contemporary over the last twenty years. Lavishly illustrated, with colour throughout, it tracks developments ranging from exhibition histories and the rise of new art spaces to art’s branding in such emerging markets as Hong Kong and the Gulf States. Essays treat such subjects as curating after the global turn; art and the migration of pictures; the end of the canon; and new strategies of representation.

Jacob A. Riis: Photographer & Citizen
Riss’s images of the slums of New York have influenced every subsequent generation of photographers, while his insightful exploration of the problems of urban life continues to be education for societies around the world. I know of no contemporary work of this general character which gives such an impression of competence, integrity and intensity.

All items are available to loan. Reserve online or pop into Art & Design, Central Library to see what else is available.

Explorers at the Library: Edinburgh Art Festival families programme

This year the Edinburgh Art Festival’s Explorers families programme comes to Central Library for free weekly creative art making sessions suitable for ages 8-13. These sessions are inspired by the EAF artist commissions programme and the ‘Making of the Future’ theme. Join us weekly or drop in for a one-off session to creatively re-imagine your city.

“Tower” by Toby Patterson, Dunfermline 2014

Each session will look at a different artist and include 2D and 3D arts activities such as building a miniature bothy inspired by artist Bobby Niven, designing a modernist city after artist Toby Paterson and creating inflatable giant flower sculptures inspired by artist duo Walker and Bromwich.

All sessions will be held in the George Washington Room within the Central Library

Thu 6 July 2-4pm
Explorers at the Library: Walker and Bromwich
Create your own inflatable sculptures and model dragons inspired by Walker and Bromwich’s Dragon of Profit and Private Ownership.

Thu 13 July 2-4pm
Explorers at the Library: Bobby Niven
Design and build your own miniature bothys and dens inspired by Bobby Niven’s Palmhouse.

Thu 20 July 2-4pm
Explorers at the Library: Shannan Te Ao
Make musical instruments and write your own musical score inspired by Shannan Te Ao’s use of Maori songs and proverbs.

Thu 3 August 2-4pm
Explorers at the Library: Toby Paterson
Make your own 3D collage of a fantasy building, drawing on Paterson’s modernist architectural influences.

Thu 10 August 2-4pm
Explorers at the Library: The Making of the Future
Design and build a miniature installation in the library, of a future Edinburgh city centre inspired by the “grandfather of town planning”, Patrick Geddes.

In celebration of the children’s work the outcomes of each workshop will be exhibited in the Children’s Library for the last week of the festival, 21-27 August.

These sessions are free and all materials are included. Booking is recommended, but not essential. To book call  0131 242 8040 or visit www.edinburghreads.eventbrite.co.uk

Yarn Bombing Ratho

Ratho residents awoke to a colourful sight last week, as the village was transformed into a woolly wonderland! Ratho Library’s guerrilla knitters have been secretly working hard for the last few months on woollen lengths of many patterns, and have created hundreds of brightly coloured pom poms.

Photograph of Yarn bomb

Ratho Yarn Bombs

The Ratho Library knitting group were helped by knitters at Sighthill Library and by many other members of the community, eventually producing enough material to create cosy trees, decorate the fences and plant a field of pom poms! Children from the village helped with the decoration, and local teenagers have agreed to keep an eye on the knitted creations, so that the efforts of our knitters can be seen by all. Ratho Gala Day, which was on Saturday 10th June, is a day where Ratho residents celebrate the fantastic spirit of community that exists in their village, and through the yarn bombing efforts, our library borrowers have played their part in ensuring that Ratho is looking it’s best for this special day.