Whether you call it mehandi, mehndi, henna, heena, temporary tattoo, body art, harquus, a skin stain, or orange stuff all the downtowners are walking around with on their hands, it is all another form of painting to someone like me. I’ve been a painter for 50 years, learning from my brushes and pigments is my big love obsession. Of all art forms, mehandi appeals to me due to the flexibility and interaction with the models. But enough of my reasons, maybe readers have some questions I can answer on these pages. Email me if you still have questions after reading this, and I’ll add your questions and hopefully have an answer or two to add to these pages.
Yes there is someone out there I will admit is the expert: Catherine Cartwright Jones because she had done her Master’s thesis quite eloquently on mehandi, and quite thoroughly the historical aspects are covered in a manner much better than I could cover them. She does make make mehandi pdf’s available freely and I have her permission to pass this on. For most questions, she has answered.
That leaves my own agenda. I’m also an avid gardener and I grow many of the plants I use to make pigments and oils used in mehandi, naturally, of course. I started using mehandi to condition my hard-working hands and feet
, (and you might notice I did both hands to myself. How? well I guess I’m ambidextrous and have found this medium challenging because of the wide range of different skin types and angles I paint from, plus the subject can move) and I have found I personally really need this process to soothe and heal my skin. Aside from that, I love nature colors on anything.
Since the stains are derived from plants, our skin is drinking in nourishment, I would love to add that my gardening hands and feet are much appreciative of this type of treatment. I grow many of the ingredients I use in mehandi, and doing so gives me more flexibility in color choices of the stains. I’ve found the natural pigments in beets, rhubarb, violets, berries and other plants extol wonderful hues you just can’t seem to find at the tattoo parlor. This year should be magnificent for mulberries. I also happen to make and sell award winning preserves of mulberries if you’d rather eat them. But back to the subject at hand.
These stains are safe and temporary. As an advocate of nature who’s personally averse to needles and chemicals I see no reason to use toxic items on myself or others. I also distill my own essential oils for this process, a process I began due to the fact a large cedar limb fell and I felt obligated to capture and preserve the scent for all to enjoy. I expanded to lilacs to capture that short-seasoned awesome scent all year long, mint because it cools in the Summer, and others because I feel they heal. These are the treasures of nature I use to do mehandi.I have to admit I love my job even after 50 years!
If you have allergies, I urge customers to inform me before a session. If possible, we work around personal sensitivities.
If you do have sensitivities, I will ask you to sign a waiver before proceeding with this process at appointment time.
I am also working on a video to walk through the whole process, but only have so many hands and they are all busy with more hands. Anyway if you give me your hand, I’d put some art on it. Let me know if that sounds like an option.