London-based textile artist Lucy Sparrow may be the first person to make a cuddly version of Spam, that infamous mystery meat. She recently hand-sewed a can of Spam out of felt. She also used felt to craft a pack of Wrigley’s gum, a porn magazine, and a can of Heinz beans.
Why? To stock an abandoned London corner store with 2,000 fabric versions of its products, of course.
This all-felt Cornershop was successfully funded by Sparrow’s Kickstarter campaign and will become a month-long art installation in London in September. “It’s sending a message of nostalgia about the decline of family run businesses and independent shops,” Sparrow tells Co.Design. Thousands of U.K. shops have gone out of business in the past decade. Shoppers at the Cornershop can buy these fluffy products (or just cuddle them), watch live-sewing events, and participate in crafting workshops. All this action will be broadcast online by a live “felt cam.”
Little items, like the felt Kit-Kats, take Sparrow just 10 minutes to make, but she plans on spending up to a week sewing the cash register.
“I’ve been making things out of felt since I was about nine years old,” Sparrow tells Co.Design. “I think it reminds people of their childhood. It’s a very gentle medium, which makes it ideal for tackling controversial subjects. You get people to sit up and listen to what you have to say but without feeling like you’re preaching your ideas.”
Sparrow’s Cornershop draws on a tradition of artists exploring consumerism by building fake storefronts and products, from Claes Oldenburg’s “The Store,” filled with oversized sculptures of consumer goods, to Sarah Lucas and Tracey Emin filling their art shop with hand-crafted products. “Whether visiting deliberately or coming upon it unawares, audiences will be gently, but effectively, led to question their consumption behaviors through the tactile experience [this] work presents,” Sparrow writes on her website. If you’ve ever loved junk food so much you wanted to give it a hug, well, now you can.