My artwork needs a home!

I have 4 BIG (152.5cm x 123cm) canvases that are too big to get into my attic that need a good home.

The ‘Grow’ and ‘Ha’ ones are yours for free to take forever (or paint over them – I don’t mind!) – just come and collect them.

I want to keep the other two – Colombia Road Flower Market and the Bethnal Green one so they just need hosting for a year.

Let me know – I need to find homes for them by 15 Feb!

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One way ticket to Mexico

It’s definite – I’m off! Ticket booked to Mexico for 15th February! For how long and where I will go….is all to be decided. And it feels good – the unknown and the unexplored and all that potential waiting for me if I am open to letting things flooooooooowwwwwwwww

I’ve been back home at my parents for a week to save money and sort stuff out. I have happily slipped into living the life of a retired person. Only 40 years too early!

  • Having a golf lesson from my dad
  • Writing my will
  • Meeting my old clarinet buddy Eleanor for tea and cake at the lovely arts centre Birnam Institute
  • Watching tennis during the working week
  • Badminton drop in on a Monday morning
And other stuff, not so retirement-tastic:
  • Signing up to Glasgow artist Victoria Evans’ project 28 Drawings Later
  • Trying to sell my lovely vintage sofas in order to get one that has a fire regulation certificate. Anyone want to buy a sofa (or two?) Or got a sofa with a very low back they are chucking out?
  • Booking in viewings of my flat (hope I find someone lovely!)

Making animations in a camera cupboard

Today I got a blast from the past…

11 years ago I lived in Glasgow in a damp basement, sold naff gifts on Byres Road and volunteered at the Glasgow Film and Video Workshop trying to figure out what I could do with my life. I joined the technical team as I thought I wanted to be a filmmaker and that seemed like a good place to start. This was a big mistake as I watched the producers/administrative volunteers busily running round learning stuff while I hung out in a dark cupboard winding cables round my arms.

Whilst in the cupboard, I met Nadaav, who was similarly bored with his choice. So we  made the most of the situation and made a couple of stop frame animations from the equipment we had and the stuff we could find. And he has just Facebooked me out of the blue with the final edited versions! (he since has become a filmmaker – not sure he will put these on his showreel tho…)

(funny that we used Iron Bru bottles on this – very Scottish)

ALSO

Go see Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol– it is brilliant!

PS – Happy Birthday to my wonderful mum. xxx

Tottenham treasures and Escaping the City

Before I gave up my job, I couldn’t begin to imagine what I would do all day if  I didn’t work.

I thought I’d feel guilty, bored, restless. But having time off is JUST BRILLIANT.

I am so lucky that I have by hook or by crook managed to create this space in my life . So, I’ve been busy:

1/ Painting walls in my flat white. It makes SO much difference. I’ve covered up my rather amateur Orla Keily rip off stencil outside the kitchen and it actually looks better white. And just when I got so hungry I could hardly get down from the step ladder, I found some TRANSFORM -A-SNACK spicy crisps on top of my cupboards. I am hoping they are not Cathy’s (who is living in my flat) as she may have stored them up high to prevent temptation. They pretty much saved my life.

2/ Carla and I met in Cafe Oto in Dalston. I always used to cycle past on the way to work and thought ‘one day, I will just hang out there’. It looks really cool from the outside but is a bit soulless with uncomfy chairs inside. BUT we made a new plan to get cheap flights to Mexico and to travel and work/volunteer down through Central America.  And to go on 6 February. A plan that we both feel excited about and that feels right. I am keen to check out The Hub in Oaxaca and meet social entrepreneurs who are based there.

3/ I went to the first Escape the City meet up at the private members bar Adam Street Club and met  a few interesting people  who are doing unconventional things with their lives – Tom from Tomax talks, Umaang – an investment Manager whose Foundation may be able to help projects in Central America and Mark from A Life at Work who is running career retreats for those unsure what to do next.

4/ I have had such fun hanging out on my friend Richard’s Brompton bike. It took a trip with Richard’s partner Guy and their newly adopted son to the very sweet Downhill’s Park Cafe. Downhills Park Café is a social enterprise that supports adults with a learning disability into employment. There aren’t that many nice wee places to go in the Tottenham area, so this is a welcome newcomer. Also, we discovered massive changes at Lordship Rec – a massive grassy park next to Broadwater Farm! Granted money from the Lottery, it is getting an environmental centre, biking loop and city farm! I would like to get involved when I come back.

5/ I have found the Wood Green gem Big Green Bookshop, voted no. 2 bookshop in London and the South East by the Independent! 

Tim West and Simon Key opened the Big Green Bookshop in March 2008, after the big chain store where they worked in Wood Green closed, leaving the area with no dedicated bookshop. They are now hosting little farmers markets, promoting local products, singing workshops for kids and generally being very helpful and nice. They showed me a book about the regeneration of Haringey which would make a very useful read.

Leg photo shoot and further news

 

I’ve been back in London for over a week and lots has happened.

1. I took a trip to Whitstable and had fun hanging with the Oxberrys. David is a professional photographer who has a great blog and I asked him to take photos of my scars from my bike accident last year for my claim against the nasty driver who drove into me.

I also helped David break his detox diet with the consumption of many fried fish and some local ale, followed by cake at the very cute Windy Stores. We watched Archipelago and I triumphed in being the only man standing (well, not asleep). I only fall asleep in exciting, action films like Pulp Fiction not painfully slow and boring ones like that. It was also fun to take a ride to Turkey on Edie’s flying carpet.

 

2. I met Carla for a Colombian lunch in Brixton market. We worked at Futureversity together and have always dreamed of doing something together, in South America. She has a background as a product designer and made this cool foldable seating. We met when we made a  sculpture of London out of food, during Eat London by LIFT. We are thinking of starting out in Chile and seeing what we can make happen. We are looking to use workaway or wwoof to find our first base, where we can help an existing eco-business and learn some practical outdoorsy skills while we conceive our own ideas. Exciting!

3. I cleared out my attic and took clothes to Traid in Wood Green. I left some old shelves outside my flat, for the taking, and within minutes a man drove up in a Thames Water van and asked if he could use them in his garage.He is a big collector of vintage objects, has a classic convertible and 3 domes used in 1960s petrol stations. It was a great chat – a daytime chat that is just not possible when you’re doing the 9-5.

4. I avoided a gas explosion in my flat.

5. I went to the Grayson Perry exhibition with Claire. It was beautiful, innocent, clever and inspiring. 

I loved his pot about contemporary trash culture – a sacred physical relic of our crazy culture to be cherished one day by our descendants.

6. I met the lovely Felipe at Hub Kings Cross, who has conceived of the website Pangea Sostenible which maps best practice in the fields of social technology – agriculture, fair trade, finance and eco-tourism.  He has spent the last 10 months touring South America interviewing the creators of interesting projects. He gave me loads of contacts in South America and confirmed my first place to go – Chiloe – an island off Chile – which has a very strong sense of community and a burgeoning eco-tourism industry.

7. I made the decision to rent my flat for a year. Eek! I can come back earlier, of course, and stay somewhere else for a while. But I’m going to give my new life a real shot.

8. I spent a lovely day in Dorking with 3 of the Portugal crew, hosted by Tom Smith. He took us on a walk up a hill and to meet his eccentric friend Jeremy who shared his passion for Number Stations – crazy spy talking over short radio waves.

 

My flat for rent

Hey folks

I’ve decided to rent out my beautiful flat while I go to South America and am looking for a lovely tenant. Here are some photos….

£925 month available from the beginning of April. Bills not included.

Pros:

Furnished with lovely vintage furniture (though I can put anything you don’t want into the attic) and a comfy Warren Evans bed

Wooden floors

Bright and light

Near great Turkish restaurants and cheap fruit and veg shops, a good butcher and bakery, a superb veggie Indian restaurant and a great pub

5 min walk to  a nice little park with tennis courts

10-15 min walk to both Manor House and Turnpike Lane tube (Piccadilly line) and buses to Shoreditch, London Bridge, Camden and more from Green Lanes

Nice neighbour downstairs

Attic storage available and room for a bike in the hall downstairs

I have a fantastically efficient new boiler and boiler care if anything should happen you can call them out for free

Cons:

No access to back garden, but the front little garden is yours to play with!

The area is ‘up and coming’ though safe and full of families

Let me know as soon as possible if you are interested on juliaharriman@gmail.com and you can come and see it.

Street kid designers

When I lived in Cusco, Peru, there were loads of street kids selling postcards to tourists. The reason tourists didn’t buy many was that the pictures were faded and old and not something you’d want to send your loved ones back home. But you wanted to help the kids, whose families relied upon the income to survive. The kids selling the postcards were doing that instead of going to school, so they were missing out on an education.

I’ve had an idea for a social enterprise project which would allow the kids to design their own postcards, which would be more attractive to tourists so they would sell more. Most of the profits would go into buying food, education, clothes etc. for the kids and their families. This is one of the ideas I’d like to pursue when I go to South America in a few weeks.

Kids art is so great. Hal and Betty, my friend Susie’s kids, made these fabulous thank you cards over Xmas.

I think designs like these would work well as postcards.

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The designer Ella Doran had a competition in Tower Hamlets primary schools to design trays to sell in her lovely shop on Cheshire Street, with a cut of the profits going to that school. I think this is a great model and the products are gorgeous. Read an interview with her about it here

Art from tupperware: Choi Jeong-Hwa

Just discovered the installation artist Choi Jeong-Hwa thanks to Colossal and love how he uses junk and old and found materials to make art.

I love absolutely love the aesthetic of this: Doors

This is what he says about his practice: ‘I couldn’t really draw so I didn’t think I could become a painter, but I really liked walking. So I used to walk between streets and narrow alleys and discover garbage piles and construction sites. I realized that “normal” people built and created things better than artists or professionals. Plus, what they were making was more natural. I decided against becoming an artist and decided instead to be an ordinary person who thinks like an artist.’

‘I like working with worthless materials. I like doing things outside of art museums. I dislike the whole pay system of museums and prefer working and interacting with people outside.’

His other projects include Happy Happy – sculptural installations in bright colours made from tupperware

and Gather Together – art installations made from the junk consumed by spectators at the Seoul Olympics

Highland Train station enterprise

Waiting for my train for London at Pitlochry train station, I popped into the Pitlochry Station Bookshop.

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Run entirely by local volunteers, the bookshop sold 50,000 books last year, raising £10,000 for charity. It is a brilliant example of social entrepreneurship and creative response to an opportunity (Scotrail donate the premises to the enterprise as part of their ‘adopt a station’ scheme.)

The books are high quality and cheap (many best sellers just 50p).
I bought three for my journey south to help ease me into 2012- a trashy read (Twilight) a health read (Maximum immunity) and a business read (Mavericks at work). But first, a little look out the window at the yellow light and fir trees and eating my packed lunch before midday…

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