Pop to your local shop in Wellington Row, Bethnal Green, London, and you're in for a treat – but not so much as a Hobnob is edible. Artist Lucy Sparrow has filled a former derelict store with over 4,000 handmade felt grocery products. It took seven months to stitch everyday items from fruit, baked beans and loo roll, to newspapers, ice lollies and oven chips. Even the till and functioning pricing gun are fabric.
My love (and experience) of packaging design instantly attracted me to Lucy Sparrow's stitched shop. Never before have I travelled by bus to a corner shop; this act in itself seems poignant, as one aim of the artwork is 'to tackle some of the realities of contemporary living'. For many communities, the disappearance of local shops and replacement with further-to-reach large chains is a depressing reality. Opposite to the often soulless giants, this space leaves a warm feeling, conducive to friendly chat. Perhaps it's the felt; the iconic material of many a childhood (I still have my 'Noddy in fuzzy-felt Toyland'). The brands are contemporary but there is an overwhelming experience of nostalgia. Cheerful solid colour shapes with logos stripped of their photoshop embellishments; the result is quite beautiful. The stack of newspapers, of which The Daily Mirror's particularly memorable cover page – 'I've eaten my girlfriend', and the shelves displaying rows of cigarettes (how long before these become plain packaging?) all add to an immensely detailed and rewarding project.
To Lucy, I enquired – what next? It would seem the land of Hershey's and the Twinkie may be receiving the fluffy felt shopping experience...
The Cornershop is at 19 Wellington Road, London E2 7BB
Open 10am - 7pm 1st–31st August 2014
Every felt product is available to buy – from Marmite and SPAM, to the till itself. http://www.thecornershoponline.com