Walk down the aisles of Sparrow Mart and you may think your eyes are playing tricks. You can shop to your heart’s content, but none of the items are for eating or drinking, because at this market everything is made of soft felt — including the ATM.
Sparrow Mart, located in the Standard hotel in Los Angeles, is a pop-up homage to grocery store staples. British artist Lucy Sparrow is the mastermind behind the project. It took Sparrow and her five assistants one year to create 31,000 handmade felt items. “I made this artwork because I wanted people to escape real life and experience a feeling of absolute contentment and happiness when they come and visit,” she says.
Veggies and fruits have sewn-in eyes and grins. How can you not be happy when you see felt apples and strawberries smiling at you? Other packaged items look exactly like the real deal, from liquor to packaged foods. “The reactions to the work so far have been absolutely incredible, from people screaming, crying, and laughing,” says Sparrow.
The items are all signed by the artist and are for sale, with prices ranging from $1 to $50,000. The most expensive item is the seafood case, holding a collection of shrimp, clams, fish, and more. You'll also find plenty of childhood fare — from the colorful candy aisle to condiments.
This isn’t the first collection of felt objects for Sparrow. In 2017, she opened 8 "Till Late" bodega in New York City, and in 2014, the Cornershop in London. However, the Los Angeles pop-up has the most items. In Los Angeles, Sparrow remarks, “the fruit and veg has been so popular. And the alcohol, not as much as New York. I don’t know what that means, but it’s worth noting.”
If you want to see and squeeze the felt-tastic items, book a trip to Los Angeles soon because Sparrow Mart is open just through Aug. 31, or when items sell out.