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Over the years, we’ve found joy in the work of Lucy Sparrow. Projects of hers—presented at an array of art fairs in cities like New York and Miami—have allowed us to discover her playful felt objects sewn by hand. Sparrow’s also presented her works in standalone settings—at places like The Standard, Downtown in Los Angeles and at Rockefeller Center in New York—an worked with brands like Alice + Olivia and Hermès.
The last time we saw Sparrow was at her aforementioned installation in New York—a pop-up called Lucy Sparrow’s Delicatessen on 6th, presented in partnership with Art Production Fund. There, we strolled the deli isles with her to learn a bit more about the 30,000 objects on view. Amid conversation, she pointed out her favorite stuffed piece—the banana, a recreation of her childhood toy—and mentioned how each installation is unique…and sometimes foreign. “I don’t know what any of these things are,” she said, pointing to the massive installation behind her. “Every single show is made specifically for that location. So, I get to make new stuff every time, which is exciting, and it keeps it fresh.”
Sparrow mentioned that she used to sew everything personally by hand, but luckily now has a small team to help her out—two assistants, and ten seamstresses that work from her local village back home in Kedington, England. The tiny town is where she lives today—about 180 miles from where Sparrow grew up in Bath—and where she can be found creating works for around the world.
Recently, Whitewall got in touch with the artist to check in on her amid the COVID-19 pandemic and hear about what she’s working on now.
WHITEWALL: When we last spoke, it was in NYC for your deli in Rockefeller Center. Can you tell us a bit about what’s happened since?
LUCY SPARROW: Since NYC, I have been planning a major show for Frieze week London; which I will reveal more about later. I’ve had at least two collaborations postponed due to the current situation, but we are really looking forward to picking those up when we are all out the other side of the crisis.
WW: It’s interesting to think that even though we are in different countries, we are both walled up in quarantine because of a global pandemic. How are you doing in England?
LS: Getting on with it! I’m really used to working in the studio for weeks on end with really long deadlines. I live in a constant mild state of panic for deadlines, which has currently been replaced with worry about people’s health and wellbeing and of course like anyone employer; concern about wages, bills and the security of those I work with.
Currently the only focus is on taking a breath and staying sane and safe through the current UK lockdown. I work from a home studio so am feeling lucky for that reason. If you have to be isolated somewhere, a technicolor felt cave is not a bad option.
WW: What are you working on from the technicolor felt cave?
LS: I have been working on a medical and health-based artwork for a forthcoming installation, so it feels appropriate to be doing that currently.
WW: Tell us a bit about what you’re up to now, and what’s new that you’re working on.
LS: As well as Frieze, I am working on my largest installation to date, which will open next year in the U.S. I can’t tell you any more at the moment, but it is going to be awesome and I’m really looking forward to reconnecting with my audience in person!