Drapes and Paintings
My UV Art Story
In the 1990s I went to an all-night party in London and discovered a whole world hitherto unknown to me. The walls and ceilings of the warehouse were covered with UV paintings. There were inflatable sculptures and painted boards hanging from the ceiling. Everything glowed with vibrant rainbow colours in this magical environment.
I needed to know more...it reminded me so much of the lost hippy paradise years of the '60s and '70s.
Having talked to the Wild Frogz, creators of this magnificent décor, we arranged to meet to discuss the possibility of promoting similar events closer to home in Bristol.
We found out that there were already a bunch of people wanting to do exactly that, but who lacked the finance. We were time poor in those days, but were bringing in a decent income, and we were very happy to fund the first party. This was to lead to the creation of The Tribe of Frog, party and event promoters.
At the time, I was design director for a fireplace manufacturing company that I had set up with my ex-husband. In the beginning, I had little creative involvement other than making costumes and simple hanging décor. However, the urge to have a go at what appeared to be ‘painting with rainbows’ was irresistible.
I took to it like a duck to water. Though I have worked in many artistic fields, from architectural ceramics to limited edition silk screen prints, I have never been able to paint. I was always good at drawing, but could never master a brush. I wanted the luminosity of watercolours, but couldn’t handle the immediacy and lack of control.
I found that painting with UV paints on black fabric was like painting with light itself. I didn’t need to muddy colours with black, or paint in any shadows. I just had to paint where the light struck whatever I was painting. It was a revelation and I was completely hooked!
Several people have since come to my workshop to have a day’s introduction to the art of UV painting.
Community Art Projects
I really enjoy getting creative with teenagers and young people, loving their ingenuity, inventiveness and sense of fun.
I volunteered to help teenagers make UV decorations at the Frome Festival pop up Youth Cafe. These were installed at their disco party held at the end of the festival in their youth club.
Frome Fashion Show
I was asked to do a UV grand finale for the Frome Festival Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Fashion Show.
With my friend and pattern cutter, Ingrid Hatt, we enabled the participating youngsters to design and make their own costumes. We used second hand clothes and silk flowers from charity shops and car boot sales. We found a variety of UV fabrics and tat from the Scrap Store, including the endless strips of selvage cut from UV tutus. We also used old pen lids and toys from crackers, high viz off cuts and old lamp shades, leather from an abandoned sofa and old net curtains.
It was great fun and magnificently received! Though the photos are are a little blurred, they do give an idea of the impact we made.
Costumes, Mayhem and Madness
We like to encourage a bit of artistic creativity at parties, festivals and events, sometimes taking one of Rowan Quick's stunning black and white drawings for people to colour in with UV felt tips and high lighters.
I also often take ‘UV tat’ to parties, festivals and events, for people to embellish themselves, and brighten up the venue. They make headbands, armbands, necklaces and bracelets, not to mention many other extraordinary creations.
Occasionally the UV tat seems to have a mind of its own, and can get a bit feisty, escaping from its handy boxes and causing mayhem!