It’s not every day I come across a shop that fills me with utter joy, as shopping generally leaves me cold (unless it’s Marni of course). But imagine a shop that stirs memories, makes you smile and leaves you feeling a little bit warm and fuzzy – without even buying anything – and you have The Corner Shop.
Artist Lucy Sparrow has filled a former derelict shop in Bethnal Green, just behind Columbia Road, with over 4,000 handmade felt versions of popular grocery items – from fish fingers and cans of SPAM, to sanitary towels, newspapers, ice lollies, oven chips, cigarettes and vegetables. She has even made a newspaper stand, drinks cabinet and all of the shops accessories and signs.
Everything in the shop is for sale and prices range from £3 for a felt cigarette lighter to £840 for the shops till. There will also be a variety of sewing workshops, designed to engage the local community – particularly people with autism and the socially excluded.
Lucy funded the project on Kickstarter, initially asking for £2000 and ending up raising £10,500. She also got funding from Tower Hamlet and the Arts Council. She thinks her Kickstarter campaign was so successful because it appealed to the inner child. “I think people thought, ‘you know what, I want to see a corner shop made out of felt. I want to see that ridiculous idea.”