Saturday Art Club – ‘Love Your Plate’ (Jo Spence)

Jo Spence (1934-92) was a female photographer based in the UK. She began her career in the field of commercial photography but soon started her own agency which specialised in family portraits, and wedding photos. 

Spence was a feminist artist and activist who explored themes of gender, class and self-identity. After she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1982, she made several series of self-portraits documenting her battle with the disease until her death from leukaemia a decade later. The photographs expressed her physical and emotional state.

Working with artist and psychoanalyst Rosy Martin, Spence developed a co-counselling practice they called ‘Phototherapy‘, which aimed to resolve emotional issues or past traumatic experiences through role play and photographic portraiture. In the portraits which hang in the Domestic Bliss exhibition she is dressed as a classic housewife carrying out everyday chores such as cooking, baking or cleaning. On closer inspection, however, you can see that she is not altogether happy with this. Her expression is one of boredom or perhaps even anger at being forced to carry out these chores day after day.

Sometimes it is far better to share the ‘housework’ between family members, it is fairer and can make everyone feel part of the family and that they all have a role to play. Actually, activities such as cooking and baking are fun to do together, everyone can play their part, do their bit and all sit down together to enjoy a favourite family meal, cakes or biscuits!

Why not think together as a family the thing that you love most on your plate? Is it a Sunday roast, a tasty breakfast of ham and eggs or a beautiful cheesecake?

Once you have decided you can make an artwork of your favourite choice to hang on the wall, and then, if you are hungry why not make the real thing for breakfast, lunch or dinner? We would love to see your creations please share them with us……


First of all find a large plate to draw round on top of cardboard, then use paint or coloured pastels to draw a design and the word ‘LOVE’ on your plate. Then, the fun part is to recreate your favourite food using items found around the house. In the example here of Spaghetti Bolognese we used string for the spaghetti and a coloured pompom for the sauce. We even cut small pieces of cardboard for grated cheese!

I LOVE spaghetti bolognese!

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