1. Picasso’s Meal



Tina, who writes the visual feast of a blog Colourliving, recently asked me to take part in one of her regular features, Vive La Difference. The guest (me) picks a theme and some objects from a given list, and then produces something using these as inspiration. Tina does the same, and both results are posted. It is always interesting how different the pieces are – hence the post title.

Anyway, my choice was ‘Picasso’ as my theme, and ‘clothes’ and ‘fabric’ as my objects.

I trawled through my many books about Picasso, and eventually came up with the above image, ‘The Meal’, painted exactly sixty years ago. Beautiful isn’t it? I changed my mind about which painting to use about a million times, but in the end the image of a mother feeding her two children was too autobiographical to let go. Also, the mother looks like me, unfortunately.

Finding matching colours was more difficult than I expected, as usually I lay my hands on the exact piece straight away. I can’t believe it, but I have no plain black fabric on Fabric Mountain. It goes completely against my grain to buy  fabric especially, so I used a black and white print and made life much more difficult for myself. Finding red was easy.

The piece was six weeks in the making, and I enjoyed every minute. As usual, it was almost completely sewn on public transport. You can find it in my shop.

This is what I used:

Orange  A worn-out pair of my husband’s boxer shorts. I bought these on Christmas Eve 1996 from the Next near to Charing Cross Station. They were a last minute Christmas gift (along with an orange jumper, bought at the same time) en route to Wales (via my first ever visit to Paddington Station), where we were going to spend our first Christmas away from our respective families. It is the only time I have ever been to Wales. When we arrived at the very small station (can’t remember where), it was dark and snowing. It was Christmas Eve’. It was magical. We called a cab from a callbox, as suggested by the hotel. A cab pulled up and a very grumpy driver drove us about 15 paces to the hotel. I have never felt so bad in my life. The boxer shorts were not passed on to another user for obvious reasons. My husband will be devastated when he reads this post, but in fact these shorts have proved useful for many other projects (unknown to him) already – remember those icons?

Purple and Green Shirts given to me by my friend Del, who drove me to Lewisham Hospital when I went into labour.

Black From a black and white print shirt. I wore this a lot in the Eighties, it was about twenty sizes too big.

Cream As above, but replace my friend Corrinne for me, and cream silk for black and white print.

Blue My daughter’s too-small Monsoon skirt. I bought this from a charity shop, so it was already the worse for wear. By the time my daughter had finished with it it was covered in various art materials. She loved it and wore it to death.

Yellow Jade’s dress. Jade could swim the equivalent of The Channel when she was eight years old. She was one of my pupils when I taught full-time. She gave me the dress as a gift.

Husband's old boxer shorts.

Husband’s old boxer shorts.

Old Shirt, previous owner unknown.

Del’s old shirt.

Old eighties shirt, think it belonged to my sister.

Old eighties shirt, once worn by me.

Corrinne's silk shirt.

Corrinne’s silk shirt.



My daughter's heavily stained Monsoon skirt.

My daughter’s heavily stained Monsoon skirt.


32 thoughts on “1. Picasso’s Meal

    • I just can’t stop working on it though. Those creases in the cream silk are really annoying me so I’ve started to put a little running stitch through it. Wanted to say earlier, our perfect dog, Jesse, died 10 years ago and I still shed the odd tear. She brought us all such pleasure. We got her from a rescue place, someone had put the litter in a black bin bag in the bin.

  1. We got Blue second hand too. She’d been badly treated and sent back to the breeder. She was my first proper dog ie one that I chose and she was amazing, gentle and kind. She used to very much follow around after my husband until I got pregnant the first time and then she became my guardian and then the children’s too. I’ll miss her but at least she had a good time with us.

  2. Alison, your labour of love is much appreciated!! Your piece is absolutely stunning and every stitch so poignant. I LOVE the behind the scenes posts you do and this one is, of course, extra special to me..:-) Thank you soooo much for all the effort and hard work but I think you probably like the end result yourself.

    Everyone who’s done a VLD has said how much they’ve enjoyed it, which is really very encouraging and why it’s still running.

    I’m still traumatised about chopping off the kids:-)) xx

      • Hahaha. Why hasn’t he commented?? Did he chicken out?
        LOVING your new homepage BTW.. brilliant !!
        Thank you so much for doing VLD. It was great to have you on my Blog xx

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  5. I don’t know how I missed this Alison but it’s wonderful. I didn’t realise for ages that you’d actually made it yourself. You’ve got such patience, and talent. That nearly made me cry about your dog spending every day of her life thanking you. We’ve got a rescue dog who’s 12 and the day we got her she lay under the kitchen table and was ‘at home’. She’s never put a foot wrong and is the love of our lives, I’m holding back the tears now knowing that one day ……………. xxx

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    • Thanks Carrie, it’s never intentional. It seems like I like to make work for myself. The materials I use are more important to me than the work itself, I am my own worst enemy!

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