What I want to capture is the happiness and the simplicity of when you were a child. - Lucy Sparrow
Lucy Sparrow was born in Bath, England in 1986. She began making felt objects when she was a child. When she couldn’t find toys in toy stores that she wanted to play with, her mother encouraged her to make her own toys, which she did. She soon realized that the possibilities of creating things from felt were limitless. From the age of 21 she focused solely on making art objects from felt.
Sparrow began to exhibit her work in groups shows. In 2013 her works were part of a traveling street art show, curated by the Victoria and Albert Museum. Her first solo show was at the Hoxton Gallery in London. The show, called Imitation, included famous artworks that Sparrow recreated in felt.
Her first major exhibition was in 2014. Sparrow funded it with a Kickstarter campaign. The Cornershop was a recreation of a newsstand in East London. It was a huge success and led to more shows…in Europe, the U.S. and Asia.
Each exhibit is made up of thousands of sewn felt items, with hand-painted logos. They have drawn such large crowds that the items, which are sold individually, are usually sold out before the scheduled closing date of the show.
In 2022, Sparrow created Tampa Fresh Foods, with over 50,000 handmade items that took two years to create, including cigars, cuban bread and an ATM machine. As she does with each installation, Sparrow showed up to the show each day,
Sparrow lives and works in a rural area in Essex, about thirty miles north of London. Her studio, which she calls the Felt Cave is located on a large piece of property which also houses the trailer she lives in. An assistant arrives every weekday morning to help her sew. Sparrow finishes painting the logo for each piece in the evening. She says that has no social life.
Sparrow says that her dream is to have a permanent installation somewhere, that would be like an art theme park, “a felt universe”.
Katerina Papathanasiou. The Fantastical All-Felt World of British Artist Lucy Sparrow. Vale Magazine. February 21, 2019.
Blake Gopnik. A ‘Fauxdega’ Where the Real Bodegas Have Been Priced Out. The New York Times. June 6, 2017.
Juxtapoz Clubhouse 2018: Inside Lucy Sparrow's "Sparrow Mini-Mart”. Justapoz. December 08, 2018.
Becca Linck. In Tampa, Lucy Sparrow Felts Her Most Ambitious Installation to Date. Cultured Magazine. January 20, 2022.