This was the 2nd occasion artist Mel Broom and maker Stephen Duross had hosted this event. The inaugural day last January 2018 was a huge success, with a massive queue of public waiting for hours to get in to see the artwork as it happened and then returning for the catwalk. This year the larger Glastonbury town hall was booked, and the theme was Gods & Goddesses.
As it was just after a busy Halloween/ Christmas season, I’d really not had much time to think about what to paint. I knew I wanted to do something from the Mayan Pantheon, as I’d been fascinated by the art and ruins I saw when we lived in Belize. I was lucky as when I was a kid, my stepmother chaired the Mundo Maya coalition of governments/ tourist boards who went to visit lots of Maya ruins around Central America, deciding which to open up to tourists in what is now the very well known Mayan routes. I ended up doing my BSc thesis on Mayan medicinal plants, etc!
Then we heard the horrific news that Jocelyn Casdorph, a well known face and body artist, who worked and taught internationally, had been killed by her husband over Christmas. Her designs (and own cheerful face) inspired many and I wanted to paint a tribute to her. I’d been thinking of maybe doing IxChel, the moon goddess. As well as being patron of weaving and the moon, she looked after women and had escaped a jealous angry husband herself. So, I had a story for my paint, and a vague idea, but I designed as I painted on the day!
I used my Cricut Maker to cut feathers I had drawn out of various foils and papers, to represent Quetzal bird feathers. You can’t get them – the stunning iridescent birds are threatened so now protected in Guatemala, etc – and although similar to peacocks I decided to stick to paper.
I also designed some jaguar print stencils as that is another animal product often worn by Mayans. (As it was I forgot the largest ones I meant to use on the day so the smaller ones had to do. I also forgot half of the paper clay jaguar teeth which were still drying). Paintopia sell my #cutbycat jaguar print stencil.
It was a cold, frosty morning when I collected Izabela and drove down to Glastonbury. She’d a terrible cough so was really amazing to insist on modelling for me. We checked in with Mel, Stephen and Debs, and set up in the space we had been allocated under the lovely chandeliers. I’d bought both of the Paintopia TML Makeup Lights I look after with me, so set them up to light as many artists as I could at our end of one row. And got painting!
There were lots of breaks for teas and lovely food (thanks everyone, luxury!) and the world’s largest baked potato. The public were allowed in from lunchtime, so we then painted whilst also being filmed, photographed and chatted to. I think Izabela’s most controversial question from a child was why she was drinking coffee! As always even the kids were fascinated, it is art and nobody is naked.
Artists and models were all levels of experience, age and shape, painting together so there was a huge range of styles. You had ‘old hands’ such as myself, Liz Bylett, Jenny Marquis, Erica Wafford etc, models who have had dozens of paints a year like Izabela, and newer makeup artists/ face painters too. Then there was the famous Linda Ravenscroft who tried her 1st body painting last year at this event and created a fab Morrigan.
Jenny’s model had stepped in last minute and did amazingly on her first ever bodypaint, as did the recipient of the days’ takings who ran the Childrens World Charity.
And Sam the local Blacksmith rocked the catwalk as a cheerfully aggressive Thor! there were some fab collaborations as well, with famous armour maker Terry English lending some of his metal work to help decorate models who had no artists for whatever reason. Somehow Mel & Debs painted them and more!
I always put up a blurb about my paint for those too shy to ask, its in jade green below.
Goddess Ix Chel (rhymes with sea -shell)
All props made from paper by Cat
Ix Chel is the Maya Goddess of the Moon, Water, Rainbows, Weaving, and Childbirth.
I painted a moon over a Mayan temple (memories of visiting family friends at various ruins around MesoAmerica, and moonrises over the pyramids in Guatemala with me now-husband). Her dark blue skin was also meant to represent the night sky and constellations were added as random splatters or jaguar skin shaped patterns.
She is sometimes shown as a beautiful girl with sparkling skin sat in a crescent moon with her rabbit, brushing her shimmering hair.
I reused the amazing dread extensions I made years ago, that have been added to so many of my bodypaints and own outfits. Dark multicoloured wools, peacock feathers, shining silky ribbons…
In one tale, her amazing woven cloth attracted her love, the sun-god. Her grandfather didn’t approve of him, and accidentally killed her with lightning, but dragonflies surrounded and sang to her body for months, until she came back to life and married her sun god.
I re-used the dragonfly wings made for the Prosthetics show bodypaint in 2017 on my Cricut. This had involved scanning in a real dead dragonfly I had from when I ran Carlton Marshes Nature Reserve Education Centre, then painstakingly cleaning up he image online. I then cut it out in various sizes from all sorts of paper, card and acetate which I sprayed gold.
Sadly he was a jealous, abusive husband, and Ix Chel transformed into an invisible jaguar to escape him and hide whenever he looked for her.
I added blue jaguar spots over strips of yellow, like the Mayan costumes shown in some carvings. Also the paper clay fangs were added as jewellery.
She continued her work, helping women, weaving the life cycle, and keeping the souls of the dead.
I drew the mayan feathered serpent, which reminds me of the world serpent legend, surrounding a skull design that poor Jocelyn was known for.
This paint contains a skull design inspired by the face & body paint artist Jocelyn Casdorph, who could not escape her husband on Christmas Eve and lost her life. Her art brought colour and joy to many, and inspired other painters. I hope her story also inspires anyone seeing signs of, or trapped in domestic abuse, to reach out.
The hall filled up for the catwalk, standing room only! I ended up jumping in to help guide/ time models, which was fun.
Its a long day for the models and as Iz had to get to a casting in Manchester the next day, we didn’t stay long after the catwalk. Models were dancing on platforms and posing for photos so we had some quick shots then packed up and de-accessorised Izabela. I handed out the Cameleon soap samples Jennie had sent from the Paintopia Shop (it cleans skin as well as brushes) and we trundled my gear back to the car.
Huge thanks to all the organisers and everyone who came, a lovely creative event and a decent amount was raised for Children’s World!