The Fantastical All-Felt World of British Artist Lucy Sparrow

British contemporary artist Lucy Sparrow posing with her felt creations.
British contemporary artist Lucy Sparrow posing with her felt creations.
British contemporary artist Lucy Sparrow posing with her felt creations. Photo by Livia Smith.

It is easy to dismiss an artist whose predominant medium is felt as childish or just another crafter. Nevertheless, British artist Lucy Sparrow has shown that the soft and fuzzy textile can easily transform into both serious and fun art. From the recreation of canned goods to Prozac pills with smiley faces, Sparrow’s art is a notable development in the contemporary urban art scene across Europe and the US.

Lucy Sparrow was born in Bath, England, in 1986. She remembers her first felt stitching at four years old when she made a star for the family Christmas tree. Her creations continue to hold a childlike appeal, with bright primary colors and soft textures. However, there is often another, darker side of these oversized replicas.

Sparrow’s “quirky yet subversive” work burst onto the art world stage in the summer of 2014 when she opened a fully stocked felt Cornershop installation in the East End of London. She followed up this commercial and critical success with “Warmongery” exploring topics such as gun control and mental health.

Felt gun for Lucy Sparrow's controversial installation
Felt gun for Lucy Sparrow’s controversial installation “The Warmongery,” London, England, May 2015.

In October 2015, she worked for “Madame Roxy’s Erotic Emporium” to showcase an entire sex shop in Soho, England, made of felt, including an animated, felt peep show. Her success continued with a BBC commission in 2016 to recreate the British Crown Jewels in honor of the queen of England’s 90th birthday.

Felt Playboy magazine for Lucy Sparrow's provocative installation Madame Roxy’s Erotic Emporium, Soho, London, October 2015.
Felt “Playboy” magazine for Lucy Sparrow’s provocative installation “Madame Roxy’s Erotic Emporium,” Soho, London, October 2015.

Then in 2017, Lucy Sparrow spread her creations across the other side of the Atlantic with the opening of “The Convenience Store,” a fully stocked New York bodega with 9,000 pieces of art made of felt that sold out within a couple of weeks. Her other US exhibits have included another New York City bodega called “8 ‘Till Late” and a Los Angeles shop called “Sparrow Mart.” Her work has also been featured at the New York Affordable Art Fair and Art Basel.

Lucy Sparrow at The Convenience Store in Manhattan New York.
“The Convenience Store” by Lucy Sparrow, Manhattan New York, June 2017.

For more information on the artist’s showings and to view pictures of her compelling art, check out her website Sew Your Soul.