At the felt bodega 8 ‘till late, which recently opened at the New York City hotel The Standard, High Line, and runs until the end of the month, a visitor may feel like a kid in a candy store. In fact, there is a colorful array of candies on display — SweeTarts, Swedish Fish, Bit-O-Honey, and Blow Pops, just to name a few — along with sodas, sausages, cereals and myriad other products. But here’s the thing: None of the delicious-looking products are actually edible … because they’re all made out of felt, hand-stitched to look just like the real thing.
And when The Standard says everything is made “ENTIRELY OF FELT,” they really mean essentially everything — the sandwich board at the end of the block announcing that the store is open, the shopping baskets, the cash register, the soda fridge, the gumball machine, even the cat on the meat counter and the mouse in a bucket of dirty mop water.
The meticulously detailed fixtures and products, which are for sale, are the handiwork of felt artist Lucy Sparrow and 10 sewing helpers, including, according to amny.com, her mother. The installation, which is about a block away from the Whitney Museum and free to visit, took Sparrow and her workers nine months to complete. A follow-up to a similar work she exhibited in the U.K. in 2014 — but customized for its NYC venue — the installation aims for and achieves broad appeal.
“It’s a very important part of my installations that anyone can go into an installation and buy a piece of art,” Sparrow, who may be found manning the shop, said in an interview posted on The Standard’s website. “It’s accessible to absolutely everyone. It’s not in any way elitist.”
Sparrow also said that, like the real corner bodegas that are part of the fabric of New Yorkers’ lives, where they buy everything from toilet paper and toothbrushes to cigarettes and sandwiches, she wanted her felt bodega to be “very much about community” — noting that it’s best experienced in person.
The artist is quite right. But those who are feeling the felt but can’t make it to Manhattan by the end of the month can always do a little grocery shopping online. Sew you’re all set!
Photo courtesy of @thestandard