Intro - New Henna Artist

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Shivali
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Joined: 2012-01-05 13:41
Intro - New Henna Artist

Namaste,

I will probably have lots of questions, so I thought I just go ahead and introduce myself here so I'm not just some unknown element on the scene.

My name is Catherine, but love India and often play around with names from the Subcontinent.  You may call me either name.

I have 2 teens who were homeschooled for 6 years.  One just started college and the other decided she wanted to join the inmates at the local middle school.  I've been a serious student of Sanskrit and Hinduism for about the past 18 months.  I meet with my teacher as often as possible for one-on-one meetings over Skype - usually get in about 6 hours of class-time/week.

I first got a henna tattoo at an art fair in the summer of 2011.  It struck me as so beautiful.  Some Pakistani acquaintances told me that it was initially applied to honoured guests as an incentive not to work and as a badge to show their respected place amongst those at gatherings.  Anyway, I've always loved folk art - have painted textiles for year - and this grabbed my attention for that reason as well as for the sharing with others.  I can't wait to have my first henna party -- even if it's only my daughter, sister, my friend and me!  lol  I also love the history and science of it and have loved diving into the free ebooks offered here by Catherine Cartwright-Jones. 

Thanks in advance for everyone's input here.  I will certainly need some pointers!

 

 

Jen
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Re: Intro - New Henna Artist

 Welcome!

Here are my best peices of advice:

1. Play with different textures of paste. When you find the texture that's perfect for you and how you work you will improve a lot suddendly! Sometimes you need to make it thicker or thinner, or use more or less sugar, or try different varieties of powder.

2. Go someplace busy and work for free or just tips. When you can stay busy for a long strech of time you improve a lot. This also helps you realize the value of letting go... If you labor over each line and "mistake" it will really slow you down and make your work less appealing.

3. Try different applicators too. Some like bottles, some like short cones made from cello, some like big cones made from plastic bags, some like syringes. You'll never know what works best for you until you try.

4. Don't start charging until you have a lot of experience. This can be hard because people who don't have a lot of exposure to henna will offer you money! They aren't able to spot the difference between good work and developing work. However if you put yourself out there as pro and market your self with beginner's photos, and take jobs with beginner's skills it will damage your reputation before you even get rolling!

Good luck!

 

Shivali
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Re: Intro - New Henna Artist

Thanks Jen!  I really appreciate your thoughts!!  I am not even on the brink of considering accepting money, unless perhaps for a school fundraiser, maybe one day.  I love your advice about letting go.  I have been practicing the exercises in Catherine C-J's book, Patterns 1.  I love how she says to practice until you can do a design in one minute... or draw on paper a full page of Ziggy Zoggies.  In order not to go stark-starin' mad with all that repetition, it has to be a calm, meditative mode.  I suspect that's what you mean about letting go.  In that, the lines are smooth, not re-worked.  I've been making lots of batches of henna, trying different places to let it rest, adding witch's brew, sugar, neither, etc.  ...just having fun and playing chemist with the artist. 

Thanks for replying, Jen!  It's great to have someplace to come get feedback and ideas!

Hennacat
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Re: Intro - New Henna Artist

Welcome to the forum Shivali!

I can remember when I first got my hands on 'proper henna' and I just hoovered up all the information that I could - it is really exciting, and every day i still learn more.

My best piece of advice is to JUST DO IT! Just keep practising to get used to the different tools and techniques and eventually you'll learn what works for you!

I used to take henna to every get together or party I was invited to, social events at work and informal fundraisers such as coffee mornings - it meant I got a lot of practice on people as well as paper. People knew I was learning, and were (at least they seemed) happy to let me henna them.  To be honest I still take henna everywhere - it is how I 'test drive' new henna batches and designs.

Cat x

Shivali
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Last seen: 5 years 9 months ago
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Re: Intro - New Henna Artist

Hi Hennacat!

Thanks oodles for the welcome.  :-)

"Hoovered up" LOL  I have to use that expression!  I can relate!  All the design ideas are so inspiring!  I love practicing traditional designs as well as putting my own personal stamp on them. 

Oh, I'm doin' it!  My body is my canvas and I have fading and fresh designs all over my hands, legs and feet to prove it!  practice, practice practice... It's a lot like the mentality of learning Sanskrit... slow and easy... put the motor in cruise and enjoy!  One day there'll be clear evidence of progress.  I thought I'd *never* get paisleys down.  My daughter's already complimenting them - and she doesn't dole that stuff out readily! 

That's a great idea - take the henna along to gatherings.  My family is big and mostly in this area.  We love to get together as often as possible!  How do you pack henna for travel?  Put it in tupperware in a little cooler?  Or if I just want to toss one cone in my bag, I could put a cold pack in the ziploc with the cone...?  I'd be worried it'd get squished, though.

This is really fun!  Like I wrote, the blend of science, art plus all the research (I'm a real geek and love that nerdy stuff) and the social part of it is such a gas!  I just got my first batch of Raj Twilight in the mail.  Yey!  More experiments!!

Shivali

 

 

 

Hennacat
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Re: Intro - New Henna Artist

Re taking henna to parties, I put a few cones in a ziplock bag and put that in a nice little travel toiletry bag (the ones made of plasticy material that have a zip) along with a small pack of baby wipes, glitter, a small pair of scissors and a small roll of sellotape.. I also try to remember to take a camera along, plus any designs I want to try out. Hope that helps.

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