‘It really was a labour of love,’ Lucy Sparrow says about her project, The Cornershop, which was unveiled in the summer of 2014 in London. For eight months, Sparrow worked up to 14 hours a day to fill the entire grocery shop with groceries made from felt. Some 4,000 items altogether, all made or finished by hand. The BBC described the project as ‘a playful wonderland of felt groceries that makes you think about the way society has changed while gently caressing you with the tactile promise of squidgy marmite in a jar, stroke-able hobnobs, and fuzzy oven chips straight from the freezer.’
Working at the intersection of contemporary art and craft, Sparrow’s work sets the agenda for textiles within the urban art scene. She works mainly with felt and wool, creating over-sized soft versions of existing objects and major art works. The aim of this ‘feltism’ is to question, playfully, the politics of artistic production and to tackle (often collaboratively) some of the realities of contemporary living, dealing with issues concerning the politics of consumerism, social exclusion, and mental wellbeing.
She has advanced her arts practice and social agenda through her own solo shows ‘Imitation’ (2012, London) and ‘Softcore’ (2013 Nottingham). In 2015, Sparrow has two new major exhibitions opening in London, New York and Los Angeles. Her work has also been shown in the ‘Urban Take-Over’, the Victoria & Albert Museum’s touring Street Art exhibition. She furthermore has works in private and corporate collections in the EU and the US. Alongside her gallery-based practice, Sparrow has developed a series of participatory high profile public art projects, including activist work with Greenpeace; and ‘mini-structures’, a six-month long commission for Time Out.