Sew Your Soul: Lucy Sparrow’s Felt-Art Installations

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Inside “The Felt Cave,” a workshop on a farm in Essex, a few dozen miles north of London, Lucy Sparrow fashions boxes of candy, jars of peanut butter, bottles of grape juice, cans of Coca-Cola, and just about anything else you can imagine out of colorful felt. She’s been working with felt since she was about eight years old — “but now I just take it to extremes,” she says with a laugh.

In January 2014, Sparrow raised over £10,000 (over $13,500) on Kickstarter to create The Cornershop, transforming an abandoned London newsstand into a quaint corner store where everything — from the newspapers to the chewing gum at the cash register to the register itself — was made of felt. And in 2016, she did it again with 8 Till Late, an all-felt convenience store in New York City. It was a sensation, selling out all 9,000 felt objects Sparrow had made by hand for the installation.

In the video above, Sparrow talks about how her immersive felt-art installations came together, the experience of running two successful Kickstarter campaigns, and what it was like to realize that people all over the world wanted to support her art.

“You get out of it what you put in,” Sparrow says of building a successful artistic practice. “You have to work probably ten times harder than you’ve ever worked in any paying job in your life. It might take ten years, it might take fifteen years, but when it does happen, it will 100 percent be worth it.”

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