Artist Lucy Sparrow wants to open New York's first shop made entirely from felt
In 2014 Lucy Sparrow's famous month-long installation, The Cornershop, brought the plight of the demise of the beloved local corner shop to London. She restocked an abandoned store with felt bean cans, cigarettes, marmite and porn mags – each British item meticulously hand-sewn by the artist herself. It was an unprecedented success delighting thousands of visitors and press alike.
Now Lucy wants to embrace her biggest project to date, The Convenience Store – due to open in New York City's Manhattan in summer 2017. Following much the same of what we've come to expect from the London artist, Lucy's American show will reflect the traditional layout and typical goodies of the classic American grocery store.
Featuring everything from Lucky Charms and Bagel Bites, it will also include a hot counter selling pizza slices, an iconic hot dog stand and a functioning Slushy machine, which will deliver colourful beads rather than sugary crushed ice.
Speaking of the inspiration behind the project, Lucy explained: "New York, a city where at the heart of every block the neon signs of the local convenience store are a beacon of hope to the hungover everywhere, where cures come in the form of a dubious pizza slice from the hot food counter or a New York icon, the hot dog from a hot dog stand, quick and cheap.
"Fond memories of trying to buy your first six-pack of beer and getting carded at the counter by the sceptical clerk, your fake ID just didn't cut it. On the way out, passing the moody teen settling for a Big Gulp and a hot pretzel. Or pop in for a black coffee in a Yankees themed cup whilst drifting past the 99 cents bargain bin to pick up a 'best' of Kenny Rogers CD with some of the critical hits missing.
"The local convenience store is not just there for Twinkies, and where would Chunk have bought his Baby Ruth bars? It is often the first taste of freedom teenagers get, being sent to fetch missing store cupboard items and bumping into your friends staying out just a little longer than you're meant to.
"It's hanging out with the alluring leather-jacketed bad boy and when he mock-proposes with a sugar ring doughnut whilst he punches the air as 'Don't You Forget About Me' plays over the tinny shop speakers in the background."
What can you expect to see? Lucy said: "How about a felt hot dog and help yourself to a squeeze of complimentary glitter glue mustard and ketchup from the dispensers?
"The gritty kitsch of '70s New York, bright signs, the hanging meats of the deli counters which now looks a little tired but feels gloriously nostalgic. We will use one of these shop fronts and fill it full of our colourful dungaree-clad employees who will constantly be buzzing around the store up and down step ladders to make sure that the shelves are well stocked. Our staff will bend over backwards to make sure you find everything you were looking for."
You'll be able to take a felt basket, browse the aisles and select the fluffy goods to fill your cupboards with all the home comforts. Take them to the counter for them to be gift wrapped, and Lucy and her team will pack them in the store's very own branded brown paper bag.
But first, to bring the Convenience Store to life, Lucy's needs your support. She wants to raise half the funds for its production costs from crowdfunding to prove to her Angel investors that this is an exciting art installation that people want to see.
She hopes to raise £40,000, so she can ensure that this three-week exhibition will deliver everything it promises to be. Sound good? Pledge your own support over on Kickstarter. Or check out Lucy's work at sewyoursoul.co.uk.