Ube Love – The Birth of Ube Love, by Elisa Marigold. Ube – pronounced “oohbay” – is an intensely purple, yam like, root vegetable found commonly in the Philippines. It is so popular it has been recognised by Philippine based American food franchises and placed on their menus! Imagin ube -flavoured doughnuts with richly coloured purple fillings, deeply purple ube cakes, and ube ice creams!
(Though who knows how much of the actual ube was present in the fast food recipes?)
Many years ago, I had the pleasure of discovering this unique ube product in several marketplaces of the Philippines. Seeking out various ways different villages would prepare their favourite ube recipes became a mild obsession.
At the time, I was working with a few friends on a Kung-Fu movie (which shall at this point remain nameless.) I played a scientist named Ume Boshi, who was kidnapped by the evil “Big Boss” and blackmailed into sharing her knowledge about harnessing the energy of the erupting volcano! Luckily Ume – bearing a name eerily similar to that of the actors growing obsession – was spotted the day before her disappearance by an Australian surfer on holiday. As a man in love ‘this surfer dude’ stopped at nothing to track Ume down, facing kung-fu villains at every turn and surfing the molten flow of a volcanic eruption to save the day! YaY!
“Would you mind,” I politely asked the producer, ” instead of putting my name in the credits, could you present me as “Ube Love?”
He refused. But the Ube Love story had begun, and I decided to put the name to the garments I’d been making whilst studying Visual Arts at RMIT in Melbourne.
At first I struggled with the thought that everything had to be purple! One night, after asking various people “how would you pronounce this? ” and showing them the words Ube Love, the following response was made:
“You be Love”
By then I was truly hooked, and continued on to design it’s logo – which currently is hand screen printed and stitched onto finished garments. Another symbol – a shell more or less- used to also appear on garments, along with wistful phrases, and lines of poetry plucked from the air, like rich ripe fruit. (Well that’s how it feels to have a good idea, and to later hold the results in your hands.)
For a while I made raver type clothes and jackets and leg warmers, and sold them in a St Kilda store in Melbourne called “Jezabelle’s”
-Check out the “old school ube” photo gallery at flikR, and read the story:
Then, one fateful day, I walked into a costume Hire Store in Melbourne’s CBD, and the costuming industry miraculously began to make itself apparent.
It was time to get some training in costume construction, and learn to create theatrically inspired clothing!
After studying costume at “Swinburne” in Melbourne, and -by the mysterious machinations of this ever expanding, unwinding universe- finding work in the same costume store that provided the initial defining inspiration (that’s a whole other story), I travelled around Australia for a year, resettled in Sydney, and took up working with costume in various forms, including basic party costume hire, window dressing for Womens wear in Myers, costume making for Opera Australia, Sydney Theatre Company, Melbourne Theatre Company, major theatrical productions, movies and the odd commercial and music video film clip, including prop making and sets, forsaking the ube obsession. Only recently, with the kind generosity of various dear friends, the Ube bug has bitten again. Suddenly, I’m making ube products again.
Soon to be uploaded and purchasable from these pages.