London Food & Culture

Emotional Support Card Shop: artist Andy Leek will design you a bespoke card for a friend

Pick up a unique card for a bezzie this weekend by the Notes To Strangers artist at his Coal Drops Yard pop-up store

Hot on the heels of his This Much installation in and around Coal Drops Yard throughout the summer, artist-in-residence Andy Leek, better known as the brains behind the motivational Notes To Strangers, is creating an ‘Emotional Support Card Shop’ in Coal Drops Yard this weekend.

Not sure who he is? If you’ve kept your eyes open in the more creative parts of the capital, you’ll have caught Leek’s famous ‘Notes to Strangers’ over the last few years.

He began the project in 2015 after “experiencing a mental health issue”, he says, “so I decided to try to help strangers who might be having a hard time.”

Leaving scrawled notes with the Instagram account @notestostrangers, he waited for someone to post the image – and then would repost it himself. Clever strategy: he’s now got 124k followers.


This new four-day pop-up is meant to offer people the chance to work one-to-one with the artist to create an inspirational card which they can then send to a friend or relative who they believe needs it most.

“It’s my response to the difficult and uncertain times we are going through,” he says. “I want to get some kind, encouraging and supportive words to people who need them.”

Created in the same style of writing as the two-metre This Much pieces, the colourful cards are all hand-made, one-off pieces of art.

While customers can buy pre-made cards for £20, the bespoke pieces written together there and then at the shop will be £60.

The pop-up shop is on Lower Stable Street, Coal Drops Yard N1C, Thurs24th/Fri 25th, 10–1pm and 5-8pm, Sat 26th & Sun 27th 12–7pm. Follow @notestostrangers

And a note on….On Their Way

On Their Way/ Muf Architecture. Photo: PR

If you swung by Granary Square this month you’ll have caught a glimpse of London Design Festival’s exhibitions, installations, talks and more.

The festival’s key interactive installation, ‘On Their Way’, designed and installed by Muf Architecture/Art, was simple but clever in its concept: a series of mature trees carefully positioned in temporary resting places around Kings Cross, emphasising the transient nature of their time here.

The crown of each tree points towards the next destination on a trail, taking visitors from King’s Cross station to Coal Drops Yard via Granary Square. They serve as both landmarks and meeting points, while sparking questions about the importance of green spaces within cities.

And they are, quite literally, on their way somewhere else. Each mature tree will be gathered up over the next week and taken to its new permanent home at The Grove school in Tottenham for students with autism. There they will bring some shade and greenery to a currently treeless playground.

For more on King’s Cross: @kingscrossN1C

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