Tag Archives: Scotland

Are you smarter than a study-abroad student?

I’ve always worried about new grades and schools. I remember being concerned that third grade would have too much “real” work to do, the SOL tests would be impossibly hard and middle school would be a three-year exercise in getting lost and failing algebra. I was nervous about applying for both of my Governor’s School programs and nervous that I wouldn’t get in. Once I did get in, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to distinguish myself. Continue reading Are you smarter than a study-abroad student?

My 18th amendment: Why I don’t drink

I have spent most of this semester meeting new people, most of whom I’ve been lucky enough to befriend. I’ve always thought this initial phase, the time when acquaintanceship starts to deepen into something more real and relaxed, is one of the best times of any friendship — but it comes with a lot of information exchange. Where are you from? What do you do? How many siblings do you have?

Do you drink?

Continue reading My 18th amendment: Why I don’t drink

Going plaid: Why I want to study abroad

I’m not, by nature, a taker of risks. I go to class, go to work, go running, go to the library, go to sleep and go about my business day after day — it’s not exactly the stuff of high drama and intrigue. Most of my excitement comes from reading books; I’ve always liked getting lost in lives other than my own. Continue reading Going plaid: Why I want to study abroad

Mystery paper artist

An anonymous individual has been leaving intricate and stunning pieces of paper sculptures in a number of libraries and museums throughout Edinburgh, Scotland. This mysterious artist has been drawing the attention of international press as masses attempt to unravel the culprit.

It all began last spring without warning or reason; a paper-sculpted tree appeared in the Scottish Poetry Library in Edinburgh. The sculpture was a twisted paper tree mounted on a book. Beside the tree was a paper, gold-leafed eggshell broken in two halves. Each eggshell was filled was strips of paper and, when placed together, became the poem “A Trace of Wings” by Edwin Morgan. Along with the poem was a note on a simple piece of stationery that read: “This is for you in support of libraries, books, words, ideas… ” addressed to the library by its Twitter name.

"Nothing beats a nice cup of tea (or coffee) and a really great book." Photo courtesy of Creative Commons.

Then, another appeared. This time a gramophone sitting on top of a coffin showed up at The National Library of Scotland. The scene appeared to be a visual play on words from Ian Rankin’s novel, Exit Music, the book the sculpture is carved from. The piece came with a note thanking the library for all it was doing to prevent the loss of books and reading.

Next came a movie theater, at one of Edinburgh’s local art film houses. The scene depicts a bunch of warriors seemingly jumping off a movie screen, preparing to attack the audience viewing the film. In the piece, mystery writer Ian Rankin’s face is found attached to one of the audience members. This brought speculation that the author might somehow be behind these pieces, or at least connected in some way.

The next piece made its appearance later that summer. A dragon was found poking its head out of an egg. This piece was found in a windowsill at the Scottish Storytelling Centre. Once again, a Rankin book was used as the source material for the sculpture. With the piece was a statement along with the usual thank you; the statement said, “Once upon a time there was a book and in the book was a nest in the nest was an egg and in the egg was a dragon and in the dragon was a story…” Once more the mystery artist reaches out to those who found his or her piece.

Dragon sitting in an egg on a book. Photo courtesy of Creative Commons.

In late summer, another two new pieces appeared; the first was a tea set and cupcake. The tea cup and saucer were supported on a single spiraling piece of paper. This new sculpture was found at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. The second piece was found at the UNESCO Edinburgh City of Literature. It consisted of a boy, or young man, hiding in a forest. The forest had been constructed out of pages from a book hiding the individual.

This brought the count of sculptures to six. Once again, with these new pieces, the popular Scottish mystery writer Rankin was implicated by the texts used by the mystery artist behind these amazing pieces that had caught so much attention. Rankin denied his involvement, stating that he was not the artist.

A few weeks after a sculpture of a boy hiding in the woods, another piece appeared–a magnifying glass. The glass was positioned carefully over a book where a hole had been made in the cover. In the side facing up on the magnifying glass was enlarged print of the text below. This time the text used was not a Rankin piece. Once more, it had its standard thank you note to the Central Library where the piece was found.

Boy in the woods. Photo courtesy of Creative Commons.

After a brief break, three more pieces appeared. One was in the form of a tyrannosaurus rex being attacked by various tiny human figures. The only hint of this piece was a tail sticking out of the back side of a Land of the Lost book. Another was an artfully done street scene with birds and people. The piece had gone unseen for a while in an infrequently visited room in Scotland’s Writers Museum.

The tenth and final piece was a two-part installation. It was a cap made to look like a wren with delicate paper feathers making up the pieces. With it was a pair of paper gloves, colored to look like bees. These final pieces were found in the Scotland Poetry Library, the place the string of anonymous gifts began. With these final pieces was a note from the creator. While she did not identify herself, she did resolve the nature of her gender, stating, “Some even thought it was a ‘he’! … As if!” She also states that it was to be her last piece, ending the series of gifts given anonymously out of appreciation for all that the institutions did for the public.

What was truly stunning about the series of events is that when given the chance, and asked, the public responded resoundingly that they would not like to know who the artist was. This occurred early on when many were still theorizing Rankin as the creator of the pieces. A local Scottish paper also offered to reveal who they were certain the artist was. When polled, the public asked not to be informed, in a shocking display of respect for the artist’s wish to remain anonymous.

For more on this story, and some extremely detailed photos visit thiscentralstation.com.