Posts Tagged ‘henna’

I love henna, don’t you?

My RA had a henna program. And I ended up drawing on everyone. 😀 Good time. Here’s what I drew on myself.

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For anyone who is wondering, I buy the Mehndi Henna Kit by Jacquard every time I feel like drawing all over people. I think that they recently changed their formula, because this time around, the mixture was MUCH smoother and stained a lot darker, and a lot faster. They also switched from a metal applicator tip to a clear plastic one. At first I was skeptical about this because the tip doesn’t stay on as well as the metal on, but being able to see the henna mixture approach the tip of the tube gives me greater control and was actually quite helpful. This tip also seemed to clog less.

Thursday I spent the day decorating some of my friends. One of them suggested that I charge for this service at community events. I do like that idea…maybe I’ll look into that. I feel like I have had enough practice with the medium to do so.

As I was saying, this batch of henna came out extremely dark. Though most of these pictures were taken when the henna was still wet, the final results were still just as dark, with a slightly more orange tone to them.

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This set of two is my completed final project for Lithography.

Typically, when I set out to compose a work, I try to put together a window that allows to viewer to see into a complete scene. As an illustrator, I deal with narrative, setting, and continuity. Foreground, middle-ground, and background are all addressed and developed in relation to each and to the boarders of the picture plane. For this assignment, where we were asked to work in a new way, that is not typical for us, I decided to disregard the idea of making a moment in time and to forget the idea of rendering a three-dimensional space.

I have always admired and envied purely decorative arts; things denoted as crafts such as embroidery, stationary, henna, and decorative boarders embellish the everyday objects of our lives and make them pleasing to look at, however they do not receive the same attention or respect as something that is framed–either literally or just by the edges of the image area.

Surface decoration can be just as laborious and complicated to construct as conceptual art but it differs so greatly because of its lack of meaning. It is so simple and upfront and that is why it appeals to me: because it is a change from the image that begs you to think about it. My henna-covered turtle is a simple image that is completely lacking in deeper meaning. It is surface decoration only, with no story, or mood, or space, or even boarders. The image stands alone without an environment and it is exactly what the viewer sees and nothing else. Yet it is still an image that I feel is worth creating because of the simple, straight-forward, decorative pleasure it delivers.

The first state of the image, the black henna on creme paper, was created very simply by drawing the design carefully onto a lithography stone. This was my first time working with a stone and those things are HEAVY. My stone was only 10″x 12″ and it weighed at least 15 lbs. Probably more. That might not seem like a lot to the rest of you, but I am a peanut!


For assignment III, the first state went fantastically and I am very happy with the results. So happy, in fact, that I did an addition of six, instead of the required five. (Yo. I’m selling these prints too….make me an offer)

The second state was made by counter-etching the first state, removing all of the gum so that I could apply more grease. I applied liquid touche (greasy paint) over the entire turtle, covering up all my pretty designs. Then, with an etching needle, and two scratch board styluses, I delicately carved out the same exact image out of the black turtle. The second stare is almost a negative image of the first, but there are obvious differences in weight of the line. When printing my second state, the areas that I had scratched out of the stone began to fill in. I pulled four prints, the first of which was just fine, with the others getting progressively darker and more filled in. So after four prints, I stopped, washed out the image, re-etched it, and then pulled six more copies with a less greasy ink. I had other problems while printing with the amount of ink on the stone and with the paper sticking to the stone and taring when I removed it, but eventually I did manage to get five good prints, though they may not be perfectly identical. Because of depressions in the stone, it was difficult to hit all places with the same amount of ink. The roller was much larger than the stone and so ink would build up on the outside while not hitting enough of the inside. Plus, even after re-etching, some lines still filled in where the ink was just too thick. But I do not mind the slight imperfections, as I think it gives the image character and a quirk.

I am excited to frame these two states together and hang them in my room. If I can somehow manage to craft my own frame out of beach wood, that would be just fantastic. But I will probably end up modifying an old frame from a yard -sale.

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A little more on henna

Yes, I’m still on my henna kick. I did this design on my hand today during my film class. I can totally draw and watch movies at the same time. So I would like to clarify, first of all that the henna in these photo graphs is not the color that it looks like once it falls off and only the stain remains. The stain is a much lighter orange color and is much more subtle. I choose to photograph and upload the henna in this still-semi-wet state because it is dark and easier to see. The red-orange color that the stain leaves on the skin is still very beautiful, and even smoother, blending in mistakes and unevenness, it does not show up super strikingly in a digital photo.

I like the way that once the henna falls off, the stain is so flat and translucent. While the henna is still wet it can be bumpy depending on how it came out of the tube and this can make it look messy. But all that goes away once the henna has fallen off.

This henna that I used to draw on my hand is the same henna that I mixed last weekend. It’s been 6 days since I mixed it and on the 4th day I put it in the refrigerator and took it out last night to use. I used it last night and today and though it still works, re-animating it takes some patience. The henna needs to be mixed after sitting for so long, and the instruments needed a thorough cleaning to get off any dried on henna that stuck from the last weekend. I used a pin to unclog the applicator tip and then ran it through under the faucet on high and then blew out all of the water.

This reanimated henna is clumpier than it was when first mixed and is more prone to clogging. But I still have so much left over in the bottle that I really still want to use it all up!! But it is more difficult to use. Occasionally it will clog, and the clog needs to be shaken out on a napkin until the stream is normal again because typically after the clog is released, the henna pours out in huge globs and could make a real mess on the skin. Having a scrap piece of paper or a napkin handy to get things going on before you touch the skin is very helpful.

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Spring Fling Henna 3

Another day of henna in the beautiful weather. Unfortunately, I don’t have pictures of everyone that I drew on.

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We’re in the middle of Spring fling 2010 at the University of Hartford, and so far, the highlight of my weekend really has been the henna that I have been doing. I have a few pictures here for you of the work I’ve been doing on people. Henna is a great form of temporary body art! It lasts longer than most temporary tattoos (1 – 2 weeks) but is not at all permanent or painful like a real tattoo. I’m super interested in tattoo art, but much to afraid to get one because I wouldn’t have the slightest idea of what to get. I can’t decide now on an image that I would be happy with for the rest of my life!! I’m far too picky. But I still love decorative body art. And henna lets me express that without any of the risk.

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As I did last year, I will once again be bringing henna to the festivities of Spring Fling  at the University. I am very excited to get started and plan to do some practice henna on myself tomorrow in I have a chance. If not, it will have to wait until Friday. But the weekend will hopefully provide me with plenty of time and nice weather to decorate myself and others. In preparation, I have been gathering images of henna designs as well as some other styles of tattoo that I think would be translated well into henna. Since the traditional look of henna is more for the girls, I thought that I needed something a little more masculine if the boys were to join in too. Here area few of the  images that I have compiled.

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