On August 1st, an abandoned corner shop was taken over by a crafty Kickstarter project. Lucy Sparrow’s project involved recreating all the goods found on the shelves of any self respecting corner shop through the medium of felt and wool. Granted, it sounds pretty weird, and I really wanted to go as soon as I found out about it through word of mouth, but I didn’t know why. What is the point of it? But the reason it travelled virally through Kickstarter and the mouths of Londoners is because of our curious inner children. Felt and wool are the stuff childhood crafts are made of, literally, (short of the odd spaghetti photo frame). This project generated interest because people wanted to see a felt K.Y.Jelly package. Why not? It’s fun. It’s that juxtaposition between the childishness and the risqué, as well as the every day. There are felt versions of soft porn magazines, spaghetti hoops, and tobacco. It is titillating.
Before the shop was up and running, Sparrow said that she practically had to sew together an entire corner shop just to keep up with the demand from her Kickstarter campaign. Through that, sponsorship from Swizzels Sweets and Arts Council funding, Lucy accumulated more than enough money to set up shop in Bethnal Green and create glee in every punter. Best of all you can actually buy the goods. It’ll set you back £20 for some Tampax, and just one pound for a little felt fried egg sweet. Fun art and a souvenir? Once again, why not?
One could muse for days on what the installation’s message is. Is it about consumerism? Possibly. Is Sparrow making a statement about advertising, media, or about product placement? Probably. But I think what is inherent to this installation is that there doesn’t need to be a point. Some things are just fun. Art is just as worthy if it appeals to our inner child as when it sets our intellectual side reeling. There are lot of artists making brilliant political and social statements through their art and that’s great. And I’m not saying that Sparrow isn’t making a statement. It’s just that it is not all about the statement. It can be enjoyed by anyone without them having to read too much into it. From the funny headlines of the newspapers to the smiley-faced potatoes, this installation will make you grin from ear to ear with kitsch delight.
This seems to be one of the great things about Kickstarter. No matter how wacky your idea, it could appeal to the masses. From cafes filled with cats to ceramic Menurkeys (Menorah-turkeys), Kickstarter is letting people put the oddities out there and see if there’s a market. Sometimes it is an utter flop, and sometimes it creates a buzz that keeps the world weird and wonderful.