Sunday, 16 August 2009

the journey from Procrastinating to Doing

the journey from Procrastinating to Doing from Helen Harrop on Vimeo.

While I was making this I learnt an awful lot about the very worst way to make an animated video ... next time will be a breeze!

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Lots 2, 3 and 4 in my 'book + charity' auction

The Harry Potter first edition triple charity book bonanza was a bit of a flop i.e. I still have all three copies in my possession and raised a grand total of zero pounds for the three charities. Undeterred by this fundraising hiccup I now offer to you the following books:

Musicophilia by Oliver Sacks - Paperback, unread

The Hyper-Creative Personality by Blaire Palmer - Paperback, unread, 1st edition

The Van Gogh Blues by Eric Maisel - Paperback, preview copy supplied for a blog interview I did with Eric Maisel, 1st edition (the corner of one page has been folded over on a page that happens to have the word 'sex' on it ... this is a purely unintentional, albeit rather Freudian, coincidence)

This is how it will work ... you have until 9pm on 18th August to make an offer by leaving a comment below or by sending me a message on twitter (@iamhelenharrop). Each book will go to the highest bidder but the second highest bidder will get a chance to increase their bid (in the interests of raising as much money for charity as possible).

You can choose which charity you'd like the money to go to from the list below or nominate your own preferred charity. You can also choose what percentage you want to donate to charity (the remaining percentage will go towards covering my travel expenses etc for the Do Lectures).
  • The Royal British Legion - to honour Harry Patch, the very last WW1 vetaran who died last month.
  • Comic Relief - to support Eddie Izzard's 1000 mile (!!!) run as part of Sport Relief.
  • Touchstone Leeds - a charity who support communities, particularly around mental health issues.
  • Living Paintings - a free tactile book library who bring stories and artwork to life for partially sighted and blind children, young people and adults.
The minimum bid for each book is £20 and I reserve the right to increase the percentage donated to charity depending on the final amount raised (i.e. I'm not looking to make money for myself). Each winning bidder will also get an original doodle which I'll draw while I'm at the Do Lectures.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Harry Patch: A life well lived, a person well loved

Created with the text from Harry Patch's biography [pdf] on the British Legion website (using Wordle)

The triple charity book bonanza

There is every possibility that I'm pushing my luck here but in the interests of charity I'm going to take a chance and put my (many) doubts to one side ...

Several years ago I was preparing to get married to my wonderful husband and was busy looking for presents for our bridesmaids. I had the idea of buying a Harry Potter celebratory edition paperback for each of them. At the time you could pick a 1st edition, 1st printing copy for almost cover price and I thought it might be a nice gesture ... but then doubt set in and I ended up buying other, less tangential, presents for them.

Which is all a slightly long-winded way of explaining why I ended up with a mini-stock pile of 1st Edition Harry Potter paperbacks.

After the success of my recent 'charity + book' auction I've decided to offer up another three copies of the same book to see if I can raise some money for some more charities while everyone is still in a generous mood.

Here's how it will work ... I'm offering each book for £125 which is a tiny bit more than the amount the last auction raised ... £100 of that donation will go to one of three charities:
  • The Royal British Legion - to honour Harry Patch, the very last WW1 vetaran who died last month.
  • Comic Relief - to support Eddie Izzard's 1000 mile (!!!) run as part of Sport Relief
  • Touchstone Leeds - a charity who support communities, particularly around mental health issues
and the remaining £25 of your donation will provide support to me for my forthcoming trip to the Do Lectures (to help cover some of my travel costs etc).

Each donor will get a 'thank you art doodle' from me which I'll be drawing while I'm at the Do Lectures.

If you'd like to grab one of these 1st edition Harry Potter paperbacks and raise money for charity at the same time then you can leave a comment below or send me a message on twitter: @iamhelenharrop

It goes without saying that if you would like to donate more than £125 that would be amazing and if you'd prefer 100% of the donation to go to charity then that's no problem at all.

Sunday, 2 August 2009

My love affair with clouds

I think clouds are so amazing that I find it really hard to understand people I meet who say 'yep, it's a cloud .. so what?' when I point wildly into the sky. I didn't realise quite how much of a cloudspotter I was until I did a search for "cloud" on my Flickr photostream ... aren't those clouds fantastic! :-)

One of my favouritest things is clouds reflected in puddles ... it's like a whole other world exists through a watery puddle portal (or something).

The fact that there is a Cloud Appreciation Society with some 18,000+ members makes me feel glad that I'm not alone.

The August '09 issue of Coast magazine featured the Anderby Bay Cloud Bar where you can do a spot of cloud spotting from the roof terrace all year round.

Lot 1: Harry Potter, now available with added charity

***UPDATE: Final bid = £120 ... that means £90 for Full Circle Arts and £30 to put towards my Do Lectures expenses ... All thanks to the lovely @Mou5e! ***

Raising £1200 for other folk's charities is lovely and everything but it got me in the mood for raising money for my own choice of charities (and helping to cover some of my Do Lectures expenses at the same time). So without further ado I present to you the first item in my 'Book + Charity' auction.

Lot 1:

The Celebratory Paperback edition of JK Rowling's 'Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone' was published in 2001 to coincide with the launch of the first Harry Potter film and also to celebrate 1.5 million copies of Philosopher's Stone being sold.

This copy I'm auctioning is a 1st edition, 1st printing of this celebratory edition. It is in brand new, un-read condition and would make a great investment to store away and give as a gift to a child on their 18th birthday. The spine is uncreased and it's only been opened to verify it as a first edition copy (and to take the photograph above).

The charity that will be benefiting from this auction is Full Circle Arts

How the auction will work:

You can submit bids via twitter (@iamhelenharrop) and in the comments here on this blog. I'll tweet whenever I get a new bid (there might be a delay on that during the day because I'll be at work). The auction will end at 9pm on Wednesday 5th August but in the interest of raising as much money for charity as possible I'll give the highest bidders at that point a chance to increase their bids in a similar way to if you were sat in an auction house or the way that the Bumblebee Auction website works.

I reserve the right to a) refuse to take a bid from someone I have reason to believe is not genuine b) cancel the auction if it looks like something is going horribly awry c) increase the percentage of money that I give to charity if the amount I raise far exceeds my expectations (i.e. I'm not doing this to get a ton of cash for myself). d) auction additional copies of this book after this auction finishes if there is enough interest. e) I have the final word on how the auction is run and who is the winner. f) the successful bidder will be notified by me and will be given 24 hrs to make a payment to me via Paypal, in the case of them not making a payment then I reserve the right to offer the book to the next highest bidder (as long as the reserve is met. ... Complicated enough for you? Good :-)

I am setting a reserve to ensure that I raise a minimum amount for charity - please dig deep folks!

I'll be donating a minimum of 50% of whatever I raise to support the fantastic work that Full Circle Arts do. They are a national arts organisation who promote and campaign for access and inclusion of disabled people - both as artists and audience members.

I had the opportunity to attend a Full Circle Arts workshop in Manchester last month and was impressed by their passionate but down-to-earth, wholly inclusive approach to what they do. Their mission is positive, empowering and in my opinion, extremely necessary - while I was watching the live streaming of Ted Global recently it struck me just how able-bodied centric even the most enlightened of events can be. At the Never Dive Alone workshop I attended I had the privilege to meet a whole spectrum of folks from the creative industries - I came away feeling nourished and included as an artist and my head was buzzing with new ideas and wider possibilities.

The work of Full Circle Arts encourages and supports arts practitioners such as Alan Martin who travels all over the country running Inclusive Dance Workshops, giving advice on disability rights and access issues from his own personal experience, and also choreographing dance performances which can turn the tiniest of micro-movements into a centre stage performance - I learnt more about the art of communication and understood more about my own limitations from spending a day with Alan than I could from studying a degree in linguistics. He also has one of best website names I've come across in a long time: My first thought when I listened to Alan talk about his dance productions was 'I'd love to see that on the stage of TED' ... I'm going to suggest it to them and see what happens.

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Spread some joy

"In a world where there is so much to be done, I felt strongly impressed that there must be something for me to do." ~ Dorothea Dix, 19th century activist for the welfare of the mentally ill.

Some days I use twitter to spread joy, on other days the folks on twitter buoy me up with their joy. My aim is to spread more joy than I absorb :-)

When passion and people power collide: a modern day Twitter fable

Less than a week ago I expressed a dream and a slightly crazy idea for making it happen. Now I find myself sitting here with the slow realisation that we did it, together we made it. A handful of generous friends, family and followers stumped up a total of £1000 so that I can go to the Do Lectures. *Wow*. It still hasn't sunk in!

Thanks to my generous donors I'll be passing on around £1200 to various good causes over the next 10 months (sooner if I can) and all the donors will get a thank you doodle which I'll draw while I'm at the lectures.

What has been really thrilling and unexpected is that £120 of the donations came from people who wanted to thank me for my TED Global twitter coverage ... wow again!

Of course the idiotic dreamer in me is already thinking ... hey, maybe we could do this to raise the money to go to TED Global 2010! I think not but you never know ;-) For now I'm thinking that I'd like to do more for charity and raise some money for my travel expenses etc so I'm going to do a book + charity thing with books that I own more than one of. Full details to follow but the books I'll be auctioning are:

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by JK Rowling (Celebratory edition, 2001) - Paperback, 1st edition, 1st printing, unread

Musicophilia by Oliver Sacks - Paperback, unread

The Hyper-Creative Personality by Blaire Palmer - Paperback, unread

The Van Gogh Blues by Eric Maisel - Paperback, preview copy supplied for a blog interview I did with Eric Maisel

I'll do a proper post detailing how I'm going to run the auction but the plan at the moment is that I'll set a reserve for each book and 50% of whatever I raise will go to charity ... more info to follow.