book artist

Article by Colin Mackenzie, owner of The Butterflies

In addition to Scotland’s most famous mystery, the Loch Ness monster, the mystery of the amazing book sculpture artist  continues with another magnificent donation. The  artist, who has become an internet phenomenon for their free ‘gifts’ of art to libraries in Edinburgh, Scotland, has donated one of her most intricate works of art to a charity. ‘The Butterflies’ is an amazing book sculpture and was sold by the Macmillan Cancer charity during the Edinburgh Festival to a private owner.  This is the only one of the sculptures to come on the open market and the new owner has decided to encourage others to be inspired by the story and by the art by taking it on tour during 2015.

This journey started in November 2014 , at the War Poets Collection, Craiglockhart, Edinburgh. The War Poets collection is a small library on Edinburgh Napier University’s campus, previously a war hospital and the place where the two famous war poets, Sassoon and Owen, met during their recovery from their trench experiences. During the centenary commemorations of WW1 it seemed an appropriate place to take The Butterflies in a spirit of ‘birth and renewal’.

‘The Butterflies’ are currently on view in BBC Scotland’s new high-tech HQ in Pacific Quay, Glasgow. Another appropriate venue as the BBC have given much publicity to the artist (in some areas nicknamed ‘Booksy’, after the famous graffiti artist ‘Banksy’.)

This journey is a not-for-profit enterprise; designed to inspire young and the ‘not-so-young’ with the mystery of an artist who has generously donated time, effort and art for the benefit of others.

The new owners of The Butterflies have organised a tour that incorporates rural Scotland  (including the remote islands of Orkney), local authority estates, and even the Scottish Parliament.


Why does the artist make these gifts? This is part of the mystery. No interviews are given, they do not appear to want to be famous, even for being unknown. They, or more accurately ’she’, as this is known,  has been making limited time consuming work for a number of years, with lots of publicity and never capitalised on it. “These works of art are stunning, the effort enormous and the mystery just adds to the story” says Colin Mackenzie, the owner of The Butterflies. “They are made from paper, not designed to live forever, and should be appreciated by as many people as possible”.

If you are wondering what to do to keep the kids at bay and would like a piece of the artist’s own hand you can download a free pdf  of ‘How to Make a Butterfly’

You can upload photos your family’s paper butterflies and follow the journey at  or Twitter #butterflies OTM



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