The Butterfly Tree and Two New Poems / by Linda Eve Diamond

I wrote earlier about the mysterious book sculptor of Edinburgh, Scotland, who has been anonymously gifting extraordinary book sculptures "in support of libraries, books, words and ideas" since 2011. Last spring, she announced that she would be creating her final sculpture and invited submissions of paper butterflies to be included. She received butterflies from book lovers worldwide, from ages 8 to 80.

I posted about the artist, her sculptures, and her call for butterflies here: In Support of Libraries, Books, Words, Ideas...  (Little Bear put up a "Let's Make Butterflies" post, too.)  :)

Using old magazines, book catalogues, and books ready for a second life, I made a small collection to send. Here are some photos I took as I was getting ready to send them off to meet the artist:  Butterflies Taking Flight! For the Love of of Libraries, Books, Words and Ideas... 

The final sculpture, The Butterfly Tree, was revealed on August 13, 2016, for the Edinburgh International Book Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland (running through August 29).  


To see the finished sculpture, visit THE BUTTERFLY TREE photo album, which shows the tree, which is sculpted into a beautiful scene. The artist also included a handmade storybook, also shown in the photos, called "Once..."

Cover of "Once..." - found with The Butterfly Tree (See storybook pages in the photo album here.)

Also see the video "The Butterfly Tree and the Lost Child" by Butterflies on the Move, who collected butterflies for the artist as they arrived. The video begins with another special butterfly book sculpture by the artist and includes the call for butterflies, butterflies arriving, and the new sculpture.


Inspired by the artist, here are two new poems for libraries, books, words, ideas, and the artist, who has me dreaming of butterflies...



By Linda Eve Diamond

The tiny caterpillar nibbles
at storybooks and scribbles.

Naturally, it finds its way
to the library one day—

a colorful garden of leaves
on which to feed.

Hour by hour
the bookworm devours

words and tidbits.

Shedding old skin tickles
and growing new tingles

then an inkling of something divine
feels like stars twinkling inside

as the bookworm whirls on a silken spin
through story threads and explorations within.

Inside, bright colors emerge and glow
as wings flutter and grow—

Forever free in the library’s shining light,
a kaleidoscope of butterflies taking flight!


(Note on the phrase, "Taking Flight": Once upon a time, “taking flight” was a term for reading.)



By Linda Eve Diamond


For libraries, books, words and ideas, the book sculptor sows seeds  
and blows them worldwide, inviting paper butterflies for a tree.   

Flutters of wings emerge from old books and magazines
cut free to fly new designs and found words to the scene.    

Words divine, words that shine, words of desire and intrigue,
words that dance and spin, sing and ring, inspire and breathe. 

We are all lost children, found in reading bits of fantasy,
now gathered here beneath this tree to read, share and dream.

This passage opens to countless connections and stories,
like a book leaf’s metamorphosis to an artisan’s tree leaves...

For the love of libraries, learning and beauty,
books, words, ideas, art and community.


(On The Butterfly Tree sculpture, “in support of libraries, books, words and ideas," by the artist known as Free to Fly)



Along with so many others, I'm thankful to Free to Fly for her generosity, creativity, and the community she inspired with her heartfelt creations, from the first "Poetree," through each special piece, to The Butterfly Tree, which includes every butterfly sent to her.

Here's what she had to say in a BBC interview about inviting butterfly contributions for this final sculpture: "It's been obvious since the start of the project five years ago that there is a world of people who care about public libraries and universal access to literacy... The collaboration was a way of us joining our voices together." On her Twitter account ( for now, still @_freetofly_ ), she also mentioned the importance of including every butterfly sent to her: "Everyone is allowed in a library. That's how it was with the tree. Only butterflies fighting or smoking in the crime aisle risked expulsion."   Thank you, Free to Fly!  xx

Find detailed photographs of the first 10 sculptures, along with the stories behind them, in the book: Gifted: The Tale of 10 Mysterious Book Sculptures Gifted to the City of Words and Ideas.


Here are some links in support of libraries:

Also, follow and share on social media with hashtags #Libraries #LibrariesMatter #LibrariesWordsIdeas and check out I work at a public library (a fun librarian's blog)   :)

By Anonymous

( Photos above: a small fluttering of my butterfly contributions - more posted here )

Find more links and info in my initial blog post about the project here, more extraordinary book sculptures by the artist, with lots of stories and explanations, here, and a BBC story about the final piece here