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Do you remember your local Cornershop? Where did it go? Support the creation of a soft knitted newsagents in London. Read more

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Funded!

This project was successfully funded on February 22, 2014.

Do you remember your local Cornershop? Where did it go? Support the creation of a soft knitted newsagents in London.

About this project

In 2014 I, Lucy Sparrow, will be restocking an abandoned Cornershop in London with felt products. Each item- from the bean cans, to the cigarette packets, the chewing gum and the porn mags- will be made entirely out of felt: each item meticulously hand sewn, stuffed and priced by yours-truly. During the month-long installation The Cornershop will be visited by both local passers-by and art audiences, once inside the shop they can not only view the products, but can handle, and even buy them. They will also be able to watch live-sewing events, participate in workshops and can even be drawn into improvised performance works that make them reflect on our taken-for granted shopping behaviours. The installation will be accompanied by a series of making workshops. In addition to drop-in workshops for one and all, I will also offer more specialist workshops for the local community and the neurologically diverse communities. These workshops will mobilise power of crafting practices to engage individuals and connect communities. I need your help. I have applied for money from the Arts Council, but I need to match fund this. The money I raise here will go towards paying to rent the premises, and buying materials to stock the shop and fund the workshops. As I make the work I will document it all in a diary on my blog, I want to keep you all updated every step of the way with photos and progress videos. A live ‘felt cam’ will stream all the events, meaning even if you can’t be in the cornershop you can see what is going on. Join me on this amazing journey and watch The Cornershop grow before your very eyes. Every person who pledges support money will get a VIP invite to The Cornershop and their names on the list of contributors in the exhibition catalogue.

 A geographer and art theorist says:  A ‘felt’ politics

Shop-keeper is a role artists have often embraced. Whether this be Sarah Lucas and Tracey Emin stocking their own art shop with hand-made products, Michael Landy taking over an abandoned department store on Oxford Street, or Claus Oldenburg making oversize fabric consumer products.

In Cornershop Lucy scales up her production of individual objects to stock an entire cornershop. Her site-specific installation develops a critical spatial practice that asks us to question the politics of the British high street. Whether visiting deliberately or coming upon it unawares audiences will be gently, but effectively, led to question their consumption behaviours through the tactile experience Lucy’s work presents.

The ‘felt’ politics behind Lucy’s practice creates a gentle probing dialogue with those violent political practices built on conflict and antagonism. Through the materiality of felt and the processes of making and handling the objects, fondling the products, Lucy’s work develops a politics that is at once humorous, grotesque and gentle. It is a politics that for all of this is no less insistent, requiring that we engage with our unquestioned practices in consumption spaces, face up to the fetishism of consumption, and draw to the fore the changing politics of the British consumption landscape, and the demise of our cornershops as spaces not only for consumption but also for community building.

Lucy will not only recreate the products in this felt-shop, but will also rekindle these spaces as sites of community building. In a geographical area becoming increasingly gentrified, a practice within which art galleries have played a role, Lucy’s work seeks, in a small way to work to rebuild community relations. Working at the nexus of art-craft, not only enables a particular materiality of her practice, but also makes possible a certain accessibility that is often not as clear in abstract and conceptual art practices. More than this, in the making workshops she is going to hold- in which participants will make felt products-  Lucy explores the power of making to build self-esteem and enhance social relations.  This is to recognise the place and value of crafting practices in connecting communities.

As part of the project Lucy will work with Harriet Hawkins to develop a symposium for artists and geographers interested in our changing consumption environments. She will also work with Harriet to evaluate The Cornershop, taking part in Harriet’s wider research on audience encounters with art.

Risks and challenges

While I have curated group shows and organized my own solo exhibitions from scratch, Cornershop is a big undertaking, and I've not taken the decision to make this work lightly. The project was born out of a desire to create something immersive, something that took the properties of my previous work that I have witnessed audiences being drawn to, and the discussions they have developed, and use this to raise important issues.

It was also born out of a desire to take the benefits I have experienced, and watched others experience through collective making practices into the wider community, and work especially with the neurologically diverse communities close to my heart.

I don’t expect any of this to be easy, but as ever, I will not be going it alone. Cornershop will ‘take a village’ and I have a longstanding network of friends, with eons of artistic experience between them to support me in my endeavors. I have the help and support of a network of researchers in community and installation art, geography, urban space and politics and activism, who will help me to develop the social and political elements of my work and to evaluate the project. I will also work closely with community groups to ensure that my work reaches local audiences. Drawing on the support and advice of these networks and groups will help me to ensure that Cornershop succeeds.

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FAQ

  • The aim is August 1st. Obviously this will depend on location availability but I'm going to get it as close the the 1st as possible and it'll end on the 31st mainly because it's a nice tidy start and finish date.

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  • Everything that is in The Cornershop will be available to buy, including all the felt shop fittings and the tiny individual sweets. You can buy these in The Cornershop or if you are living abroad like a lot of backers, you can get in contact with me on sewyoursoul@gmail.com to buy the work you see in the photos of the shop. Please note that the shop fitting will only be able to to be taken away to their new homes once the shop is over...otherwise we won't have anything to work with.

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  • I'll be available for interviews from now until the end of Cornershop. Just send me an email on sewyoursoul@gmail.com and I'll send you all the photos and relevant material for your piece and we can arrange a time to meet up or an interview over the phone if you're not London based.

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  • Yes please do! All visitors to the Cornershop can take as many pictures as they like and feel free to share the love on all the social media sites. You can also take pictures of the performers in the Cornershop and the workshops with the public's permission. Just ask first, just in case anyone doesn't like their photo being taken.

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  • Once the campaign is over, all rewards will be posted out straight away. Due to our postal system being a bit rubbish, I've had some experience of stuff going missing before when it's mailed outside of the UK. I know it's a long time but please allow 4 weeks for rewards to get to you just in case they are lost. I've known stuff turn up super late but it does get there in the end. The bigger things I'll send recorded delivery but I can't do everything as it's insanely expensive. However, if it really hasn't turned up, I'll make some angry phone calls and make sure it gets to you so don't worry, you will all get your goodies :-)

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Rewards

  • You selected
    Pledge £4 or more

    56 backers Limited (44 left of 100)

    A neat little postcard selection pack from The Cornershop which consists of eight high-quality postcards you can stick around your office or on your fridge. Gorgeously eye-catching and the perfect Cornershop souvenir. Available as soon as you pledge and sent out First Class delivery to anywhere in the world. I've got 100 of these to give away so get in there quick.

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  • You selected
    Pledge £5 or more

    47 backers Limited (33 left of 80)

    A classic felt Prozac Keyring handmade by myself and cheaper than buying it direct from my shop. This is a reward for you guys who want to support The Cornershop and bag a bargain at the same time. Available as soon as you pledge and sent out First Class delivery to anywhere in the world. I've got 80 of these to give away so get in there quick.

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  • You selected
    Pledge £10 or more

    75 backers Limited (5 left of 80)

    One Grenade Keyring and one Prozac Keyring-the perfect pairing for any set of keys. Both hand made by me and popped in a little bag so you can give them to yourself or one lucky friend. I've got 25 of these cuties to give away.

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  • You selected
    Pledge £20 or more

    123 backers Limited (7 left of 130)

    For just £20, you get one can of fluffy Heinz tomato soup straight from the self of The Cornershop. These will be sold in the Cornershop for £30 so get them at the special supporter price as a reward for supporting me in this fluffy journey. Available in February and sent out First Class delivery to anywhere in the world. I've got just 30 of these to give away so get in there quick.

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  • You selected
    Pledge £50 or more

    4 backers Limited (4 left of 8)

    Have you ever wanted a cuddly ice lolly that you can take to bed with you and hug forever? Well that's what you get when you pledge £50. No more melting ice lollies that are gone once you eat them, these guys last forever! Available in February and sent out First Class delivery to anywhere in the world. I've got just 5 of these to give away so get in there quick.

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  • You selected
    Pledge £100 or more

    33 backers Limited (7 left of 40)

    Four canned goods from The Cornershop. Cupboard staples for rainy days when you don't want to cook. Soup, beans and spam! Available February 2014 and posted First Class to anywhere in the world. Stock up while stocks last!

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  • You selected
    Pledge £150 or more

    6 backers Limited (4 left of 10)

    A felt embroidered newspaper. Like reading the news in bed? Well now you can double up this one as a pillow. Intricately stitched with the latest felt headlines and signed and dated by me. Available in March and sent out First Class delivery to anywhere in the world. I've got just 3 of these to give away so get in there quick.

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  • You selected
    Pledge £500 or more

    0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)

    A basketful of felt goodies from The Cornershop. The top reward you've all been waiting for. A gift shopping basket filled with 10 items from The Cornershop complete with a collection of postcards and a certificate of authenticity. All handmade by me. There's only two of these to give away. This will be the only one that exists in the world! Available in March and sent out First Class delivery to anywhere in the world.

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Funding period

- (30 days)