In 2014, “feltist” Lucy Sparrow opened the doors to the Cornershop, a playful pop-up “store” in London. Though seemingly stocked with familiar groceries, the Cornership was not your typical supermarket; everything, from the potato chips to the pricing gun, was made of soft and squishy felt. While the Cornershop has long since closed, Sparrow Mart, a similar site, has made its way to sunny southern California.
Located in a 260 square-meter space in downtown Los Angeles’s Standard Hotel, Sparrow Mart is filled with 31,000 fluffy felted groceries. Inspired by a typical shop’s layout, the products in this immersive installation are displayed in a variety of ways: wooly non-perishables line the shelves, fleecy meat and milk are stored in open refrigerators, and super soft fruits and vegetables are piled in produce containers. Similarly, like a real store, each grocery is available for purchase—”customers” are even given grocery baskets as they browse!
With the help of five assistants, Sparrow spent a year crafting the objects. In addition to stitching and stuffing each plush product, she also painted their labels by hand. In some cases, the groceries are even adorned with adorable smiling faces, emphasizing the inherently cute quality of a fuzzy felted creation—and Sparrow’s fantasy-fueled conceptions of the all-American grocery store.
“As a child, I was obsessed with the exotic, turbo-charged technicolour glow emanating from across the Atlantic,” the artist notes. “The source of this neon rainbow was Los Angeles–a seemingly mythical place to a child growing up in grey, post-recession Britain–and one that has hugely influenced my artistic practice.”
Sparrow Mart is on view until August 31. To plan your own Pop Art-inspired shopping trip, check out the Standard Hotel’s website. If you can’t make it to Los Angeles, you can still learn more about Sparrow’s practice through her book, Felt World.
Everything featured in Sparrow Mart, supermarket-inspired art installation by Lucy Sparrow, is made of soft and squishy felt.
Sparrow and a team of assistants made each product by hand.
“Customers” can even buy the felt creations!
You can visit this felt grocery store in Los Angeles until August 31.
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