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Artist creates community pharmacy entirely from felt


By Isabel Shaw
Reporter

23 Apr 2021

A pharmacy, made entirely from felt, has opened in central London.

Artist Lucy Sparrow has put together the Bourdon Street Chemist in Mayfair, where the shelves are filled with felt products which you would usually find in your local pharmacy.

In the pharmacy you can find the usual OTC products such as Strepsels, Tampax and Night Nurse, as well as beauty items such as La Mer moisturizers and Rimmel mascara.

The pharmacy even stocks prescribed medication that you can find behind the counter, such as antidepressants, codeine and valium. Shoppers can also purchase face masks and Covid tests.

The exhibition, which is open until 8 May, stocks over 15,000 items and took Ms Sparrow and her team an entire year to hand-sew.

‘Amazing response’

Ms Sparrow told the Pharmacist that she was a ‘huge fan’ of pharmacies.

‘I love the order and reassurance of the serene environment each one represents. There is a whole level of intimacy within the transactions with a chemist that just doesn’t happen in any other high street shopping environment,’ she explained.

The pharmacy is part of Sparrow’s National Felt Service (NFS), which the artist established in 2017 after buying an ambulance.

‘I am a huge fan of the multipack of Colgate toothbrushes, and I have a soft spot for the tiny Sudocrem pot,’ she said of the products stocked in the felt pharmacy.

She added that the response from the public has been ‘amazing as always’, with some ‘confused and surprised’ by the installation.

‘As with a high street chemist, we are getting a lot of personal detail from many customers – sharing their health issues and the products they enjoy and consume,’ she said.

London and America installations

The pharmacy is just one of Ms Sparrow’s many felt exhibitions – the artist has been working with the material since she was seven years old.

‘I have enjoyed every single one and they all bring a different experience,’ she said.

‘The east London Cornershop was the biggest learning curve – the queue was around the block all day every day for a month! The New York bodega 8 Till Late holds a very special place in my heart as it was my first show in America, but the Bourdon Street Chemist has been an amazing experience.’

She added: ‘I love using felt, it is the most accessible material and comes in such a wide palette of colours that it enables me to make every single product I need.’

The pharmacy exhibition is open to the public from Monday and will run for three weeks.


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