diamond geezer

 Sunday, August 03, 2014

Possibly the best thing in London this August is this cornershop in Bethnal Green.

The special thing isn't that it's a cornershop on the corner of a street, reopened specially for one month only. It's not even an especially special street, indeed highly typical for Tower Hamlets, with a run of Victorian terraces on one side and a row of renovated council blocks on the other. No, the special thing is what the shop sells, all the groceries laid out on the shelves within, because the whole lot has been hand-sewn. [10 photos]

The Cornershop is the brainchild of Lucy Sparrow, an urban textile artist, who creates over-sized soft fabric versions of existing objects. She's sewn hamburgers, ZX Spectrums and Molotov Cocktails, but this time she's set her sights on the retail grocery agenda. Lucy started sewing around New Year, and seven months later she has enough stuff to stock a shop. An entire corner shop.

Just inside the door are a few racks of vegetables, these the least accurate copies in the shop because they appear to have faces. Far more convincing are the packs of digestives and Rich Teas on the adjacent shelves, and the cans of beer and bags of cat litter underneath. It's all made of stuffed felt, even the KY Jelly and Tampax alongside, and that's just a few of the non-perishables.

Up the back is a rack of newspapers, each of these hand-stitched too, and each with a slightly tongue-in-cheek cover story to match the masthead. The top shelf magazines have sewn breasts, naturally, or there are some fishing magazines if that's too hardcore. The freezers contain oven chips and ice lollies, in convincing bags and packets. A selection of chocolate bars and sweets in jars are lined up by the till. And no, you're not supposed to touch, but yes, the whole lot is purchasable.

Everything in the shop has its price, from can of Heinz beans to tin of Spam. The prices are a lot more than you'd expect if the contents were normal, but then this is art, and each item took Lucy some time to craft. Head up to the till (yes, that's fabric too) and you can tell her what you'd like to buy. Nothing's for takeaway now, else the shop would empty out, but the idea is that you come back in a few weeks and pick up your shopping before the end of the month.

Alternatively an online despatch service operates, and you don't even need to turn up at the shop for that. Prices are higher this way, so I'm glad I live sort-of locally and can go grab my selected item without postage and packing. But never forget that the whole installation is a social comment on branding and consumerism, obviously, rather than an actual shop. And how messed up are we for wanting to buy what are essentially pincushions at inflated prices simply because they have our favourite brand sewn on?

Lucy has another retail outlet plan up her sleeve, this time in Soho, so you'll probably be able to guess what reproductions she'll be selling there. In October the Cornershop moves on to Brighton, so presumably Lucy has some spare stock up her sleeve. But if you want to see the only all-felt cornershop in the East End, you only have until the end of the month before the shelves are emptied.

The Cornershop
Every day, including Sundays, 10am-7pm, until 31st August.
19 Wellington Row, London E2 7BB

<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>

click to return to the main page

...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan18  Feb18  Mar18  Apr18  May18  Jun18  Jul18
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17  Jul17  Aug17  Sep17  Oct17  Nov17  Dec17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
Life viewed from London E3

» email me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

my flickr photostream