Thursday 28 August 2014

Welcome to The Cornershop

After several weeks of tripping over the box in the hallway, I finally unpacked my sewing machine and within hours I was in the grip of a torrid affair with it.  (Lucas brought me a square of chocolate and it sat beside me for a good hour before I noticed.  That's how intense it's been!)  I think I've sewn something every day since.  It is positively addictive, as evidenced by my shiny new loyalty card for the local fabric shop.  (And the lack of posts recently--sorry!)

Given my new stitchy love, I thought today would be a good time to write about The Cornershop art installation in Bethnal Green, London.  We popped in a couple of weekends ago when we were up in the Smoke.

Meet Lucy Sparrow, an urban textile artist.  The Cornershop is her brainchild (and source of RSI).  I have sympathy pains in my wrists from just thinking about all that sewing.

It started with an idea.  Then there was a Kickstarter, followed by arts grants, and now after seven months of sewing we have a wonderfully fuzzy corner shop to explore, complete with 'dodgy geezers' and 'local drunks' for local colour.  It's an amazing achievement!  

From the outside, The Cornershop looks like any old corner shop.  An unsuspecting shopper could nip in for a pint of milk without realising that they were surrounded by felt shop stock.  And in fact, this has happened!  Lucy said that it was her proudest moment when someone brought a two-pinter of milk up to the counter before doing a double-take!  Some of the felt goodies are very convincing indeed!  Particularly the sweeties at the counter...

The shelves are packed with everything you could possibly want in a corner shop.  There's a fine selection of biscuits--loved the HobNobs--bin bags, toothpaste, soups, and jam.  And beer!  Loads of beer!  In the chiller cabinet there's the usual milk, butter and sandwiches, and the freezer has loads of ice-creams and oven chips.  It's just a shame that you can't eat any of it!

As you can see, they stock all the essentials...

The combination of machine embroidery, hand stitching, and appliqué is incredibly effective.  Everything looks pretty damn real from a distance, and each object only gets more impressive when you bend in and take a really good look.  Even if you're the sort of person who doesn't see the point of this sort of thing, you have to admire the sheer level of skill and creativity on display!

Unsurprisingly, I had to buy something.  After lots of thought, I went for a tub of Cadbury's Hot Chocolate powder.  (I really, really wanted a newspaper, but £150 is a bit too rich for my blood.)  I can't wait for it to wend its fuzzy way to me in September once the installation ends.  I think it should take pride of place in my new sewing corner.

The most amazing till! 
Hurry!  The Cornershop closes its doors on the 31st of August!  

The Cornershop
19 Wellington Row
E2 7BB



  1. I love this so much! What a super talented lady. I am rather tempted to order something online.
    PS. Your sewing is going super well, been watching it slide through my instagram feed

  2. Oh me gosh! How talents is that lady! Everything looks amazing. I had to have a little giggle at the condom packets x

  3. Oh, thank-you, Nicole! It's a helluva steep learning curve, but I'm having such fun sewing. I thought about making some fuzzy felt scissors and tape measure as decorations, but I'd probably confuse myself ;)

  4. The attention to detail that has gone into this is amazing!

  5. Wowsers! There's some serious work gone into that! It does look amazing though, incredible convincing! :-) xx


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