menu

Artist Turns Abandoned Cornershop into Knitted Newsagents

Artist Turns Abandoned Cornershop into Knitted Newsagents
Design

From pick and mix to pregnancy tests, Lucy Sparrow recreated over 4,000 products in felt to fill disused London store

Vashti Hallissey
  • 5 august 2014

With the advent of open-all-hours supermarkets and online shopping, cornershops are becoming obsolete. They are a last resort when you don’t have time for Tesco and that’s about it. Artist Lucy Sparrow wanted to remind people of the role these stores once played in British society and to make them the cornerstone of the community once again.

Sparrow tells PSFK:

The cornershop was a place open all hours where the community met and swapped gossip and forged bonds. It’s something that’s disappearing with the growth of supermarkets and the loss of the cornershop has adversely impacted our high streets and communities. I hoped that this project would remind people just how much the cornershop cemented life in local communities.

The artist decided to turn an empty newsstand in London into a meeting place for the neighborhood. To do so, she hit upon the idea of recreating all the products you would typically find in store in felt. From coke cans to Lads Mags, she hand stitched every item and uploaded photos to her website of the process.

lucy_sparrow_creator_of_the_cornershop.jpg

A highly successful Kickstarter campaign, alongside grants from Tower Hamlets Council and The Arts Council, enabled Sparrow to restock a cornershop in East London with handmade goods.

fridge_the_cornershop_by_lucy_sparrow.jpg

One of the goals of The Cornershop was to make art accessible to everyone, Sparrow tells us:

I want people to see art as accessible, fun and whole. I’d really like people to see art as something relevant to their everyday lives that they can enjoy, handle and even buy. All the items are for sale at affordable prices. It’s been a real community event and I think it’s connected a lot of people to art who don’t normally bother with galleries or museums. It’s turned the everyday into a real art installation that anyone regardless of class, gender or race can relate to.

durex_the_cornershop_by_lucy_sparrow.jpg

The Cornershop is a month-long installation throughout August which has brought many people together so far, Sparrow explains:

Visitors to The Cornershop have chatted, discussed art and reminisced about their own childhood memories of cornershops. My first job was in a local shop and it’s that memory that inspired me to take eight months to assemble each hand-stitched piece and to create a complete installation.

The store also hosts live sewing events and workshops, which teach people how to make their own fuzzy groceries such as a felt soup can or stitched crisps.

spaghetti_the_cornershop_by_lucy_sparrow.jpg

Sparrow wanted to make the workshops inclusive:

I’ve made a special effort to include those who are normally excluded socially from such projects. I’m running workshops on making felt objects, which are directed at local children and those suffering with autism. The bright colors and textures are really popular with people who have disorders on the autism spectrum.

cookies_the_cornershop_by_lucy_sparrow.jpg

All of the products are available to buy in-store as well as online, Sparrow’s personal favorites are the French fries. She explains:

I think I like the bags of McCain oven chips (French fries). They are very realistic but also soft and squeezable. They fool some people. It’s an everyday object that thousands of people eat each day and yet when constructed from felt and placed in a freezer they take on a whole new identity as a piece of art.

fries_the_cornershop_by_lucy_sparrow.jpg

The Cornershop knits the community together with an art form that people can play with and try out themselves in-store. It turns a sad and empty cornershop, a testament to the power of the supermarket, into the heart and soul of the neighborhood once more.

The Cornershop

Images: Courtesy of the artist

[h/t] designTAXI

Design
Trending

Turn Any Wearable Into A Mental Health Tracker

Fitness / Sport
Work Yesterday

Amazon Is Experimenting With A 30-Hour Work Week

The online retailer is launching a pilot program that will allow a technical team to work with a considerably shortened schedule

Fitness / Sport Yesterday

How The Rio Olympics Stood For More Than Just Games

PSFK rounds out the Rio Games with our picks for the finest moments beyond sports

Trending

Get PSFK's Latest Report: Future of Retail: Technology Primer

See All
Retail Yesterday

Mobile Travel App Embraces Cognitive Computing

The Orlando Tourism Board is looking to IBM Watson to provide personalized local recommendations for visitors

PURPLELIST EXPERTS

Ian Fraser

Gaming & Technology

Automotive Yesterday

Bike-Friendly Apartment Building For Swedish Cyclists

A residential space is being designed for commuters to easily transport goods

Advertising Yesterday

Nike Takes Over An Entire City Block With A Giant Running Track

The Unlimited Stadium is shaped like a 100-meter sole print of the brand's LunarEpic sneaker

Gaming Yesterday

Fortune Cookie Service Brings Bad News To Your Doorstep

To promote their new delivery service Blackbox, the creators of Cards Against Humanity are delivering unfortunate messages in an edible form

PSFK LABS REPORT

Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders
NEW

PSFK Op-Ed august 25, 2016

Retail Expert: What Sustainability Means To The Millennial Generation

Jo Godden, Founder of RubyMoon, discusses how brands can limit their environmental impact worldwide

PSFK Labs Yesterday

New Mentorship Ecosystems Benefit All Levels Of An Organization

PSFK’s Future of Work report explores how technology is being leveraged to support cross-team communication

Arts & Culture Yesterday

This Picture Frame Could Be The Lava Lamp For A New Generation

Slow Dance makes real objects appear to move in slow motion

Work Yesterday

Editorial Roundtable: How Will Companies Staff The Workplace Of The Future?

Managed By Q, Soma, Workbar, Primary, AltSchool and thinkPARALLAX examine the ways that a people-first workplace might disrupt the job hiring process

Arts & Culture Yesterday

Airport Mural Puts Passengers In The Clouds

The installation in an Amsterdam terminal lets travelers float through a series of billowing 3D digital shapes

Automotive Yesterday

DevBot Is An Intelligent, Driverless, Electric Car

The unmanned test vehicle from RoboRace is a preview of upcoming AI race models

Augmented / Virtual Reality Yesterday

AR Ski Goggles Make Racing Down The Slopes Even More Immersive

Israeli startup RideOn weaves digital overlays into the thrill of skiing with an unconventional pair of protective eyewear

INSIGHTS COVERAGE

Rio Olympics
Innovation Coverage From The Rio Games
READ NOW

Advertising Yesterday

Japan Wants To Make 2020 Olympic Medals From Recycled Electronic Waste

The Tokyo Games could showcase the first-ever gold, silver and bronze awards made from discarded phones and computers

Culture Yesterday

This Small Town Has Become A Hide-and-Seek World Championship Destination

An old abandoned village in Northern Italy has become a massive playground for over one hundred competitive players

Design Yesterday

Garmin’s New Smartwatch Is Challenging The Luxury Market

The brand adds a premium version of its popular multi-sport trainer to its accessories collection

No search results found.