Exploring Henna Body Art : Current Obsession

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Some practice floral designs.

So, as is my style, I decided to go ahead and do henna at a small festival even though I haven't picked up an actual henna cone (a henna cone is sort of a tiny pastry bag used for doing henna)! Crazy? Yes! But that's the way I like it, lol, I kinda thrive off of the unknown and pushing my limits. I think a lot of artists are like this, but I also know there are artists who are totally dedicated to learning and working on a skill for ages until everything is perfect, I actually sometimes envy them their patience and dedication.

Anyhoo... the festival was put on by a friend and I just sat up in the show booth with my quickly put together set-up. --I DO love putting together booth spaces, half the fun of a show is figuring out my booth! I put together a cool Indian/Bellydance playlist and printed some signs and waited for my henna to arrive so I could practice.

Henna arrived and did not cooperate! WTH... *sigh* I'd ordered pre-mixed paste partly to see what the consistency of "professional" paste is so that when I make my own later, I have a guideline. But, the paste I ordered was way too thick. I only figured this out after many tries at drawing with the paste and it coming out clumpy and not flowing easily, etc. After an afternoon of practicing and getting extremely frustrated, I took to Google and Youtube to see what good henna should look and behave like. ...NOT at all what I had, lol, it definitely seemed that it should flow more smoothly and should have more of a sheen when applied (until it dries). So, I emptied out all my nicely coned henna (and wasted many of my coveted hand-rolled cones), mixed in some water bit by bit, trying to guess at what the perfect consistency is. It's quite an art, this henna paste mixing! Re-coned the paste and tried again. MUCH better! I'd say still not the best, I still think it should be smoother judging by what I saw in the 100 YouTube videos I watched, but it was workable... good enough!

I then spent about 4 days practicing for hours each day trying to get the hang of drawing with henna. It is MUCH different, though, drawing with henna on paper than drawing with it on skin. I only have so much of my own skin available to henna on though (and my son wasn't willing to allow me to apply more that one small emblem from his favorite web comic) so I was still a bit nervous on how the day at the festival was going to go.

Day of festival: AWEsome! Although darn cold, it's hard to draw anything with cold fingers, the day was really fun. My clientele were mostly little girls and a few teens, but still awesome. It's funny, too, because I normally don't really like kids (sorry, lol) but the kids who are attracted to henna tend to be artistic and a bit alternative and eccentric, just like me, so we got along splendidly. It was cool encouraging them to go for their art and to try mehndi art and henna if they can, etc. Really fun.

I still have lots of practice to do before I feel comfortable with henna, especially the really intricate bridal henna (if I ever want to do that) or being able to do free-form henna (off the top of my head as opposed to referring to a design) but that's good, I like things that really stretch my abilities!

Some photos:

My first design on skin with actual henna!

The sign I made for my booth. Later realizing that Temporary Tattoo isn't really what henna is, it should read Body Art.

My booth. Not bad for last minute design.

Some very happy little girls!

-xo deb.


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