Temporary body art such as mehndi, or henna painting, has become very popular in the last decade. Worn by pop stars and fashion trend-setters such as Madonna and Demi Moore, Westerners are just discovering the art form that the women of India have practiced for thousands of years. Mehndi is spiritual in nature, used by Hindus in marriage ceremonies and for other religious and special occasions as both a form of prayer and a way to celebrate.
In this hands-on workshop, students are introduced to the rich history of the mehndi tradition, as well as the best methods of application. Learn about materials, proper preparation of henna, the making of an applicator, painting techniques with henna paste, and ways of treating the designs to make them last.
Using a variety of basic traditional designs, students may practice on their own hands or on paper (if they do not want a tattoo themselves). Designs may last for up to two weeks.
Supplies are provided. For the workshop please bring a smock to protect your clothing. It is also recommended to exfoliate the skin you wish to decorate prior to the first class for best results.
Instructor Savita Jain has been practicing henna painting since she was 12 years old. She specializes in bridal henna and teaches at the India School in Bethesda.
One session, 3 hours
Christina is the owner and main artist of "TheHennaGirl "company. Originally from New York, she moved down south to Florida in 1994, after experiencing the colorful "Fantasy Fest" in Key West. Although she had an artistic background, this was the push that moved her in the direction of body art. After couple of seasons in the "Conch Republic", she decided to move her business to Miami in order to serve a larger audience. Once in Miami, Christina really took off as a henna artist. She spent her days doing Henna on the beaches, and her nights working celebrity events and private parties.
During the hot Summer months, Christina traveled to a small vacation town in Cape cod MA, called Provincetown. Just about every day you could find Christina doing henna tattoos, or body painting in the window of the West End Salon. Her walking works of art never failed to amuse adults and delight children with her wide variety of themes and colors.
These days, Christina is focused on the Miami Metro area all year round, she not only offers us her talents, but also some of the amazing artists she has met along the way
During a four-month stint living in India, Jessica Kitchens drank in the local culture, including henna painting.
“I observed a lot and practiced,” Kitchens said of the ancient art.
Henna is used in Indian and Middle Eastern cultures to stain the skin in traditional, intricate patterns.
Before weddings, women gather and are painted with henna.
Kitchens said she never officially learned how to paint with henna but has spent the last couple of years practicing based on what she observed.
At the Chattanooga Market Culture Fest on Sunday, Kitchens appeared confident as she applied a homemade henna paste to the hand of Elizabeth Emmons, creating an intricate floral pattern.
Emmons, who works in human resources at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, said she has been spending time learning about cultural diversity and traditions.
“I thought this would be something educational and fun,” she said of her henna tattoo. “I always thought (henna) was very pretty and representative of Indian culture.”
Working from a photograph, Kitchens applied a pattern in tiny lines and dots to Emmons’ hand.
According to the Encyclopedia of Henna, henna use began in the late Neolithic period and has been incorporated into aspects of Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, Hinduism and Islam.