Henna Trails

Purely natural henna in Chico, California est.2009


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Her wedding henna afternoon

One fine day in June I packed my henna cones, sketches and wooden stool into my bicycle basket and set off into Bidwell Park to journey to another side of Chico, California for Sara’s wedding henna appointment. It was a good day, I felt honored to be able to share the artistry of mehendi with her, a fellow artist. I knew working in such detail would be a challenge, and I was a little nervous, but the ride through the park relieved my worries and cleared my mind.

Earlier in the year we met for her bridal consultation to decide what design direction to take, as there are many styles of henna to choose from. She liked the idea of fine details to her elbows and little to no floral designs, Indian lace style mehendi came to my mind immediately. We set her henna appointment to be 3 days before her wedding, a day she would share with loved ones and a hen party.

I spent a few weeks seeking henna designs on flickr in her style and making little sketches of details I liked from other henna artists. I liked her style choice, and felt mandalas and half mandalas would be a great element to include in her henna. I tried to design each 4 parts of her wedding henna with different, yet cohesive designs. Her palms would have a design which came together when her palms were cupped upward. We would hide her groom’s name in the details.

Wedding henna this detailed takes time to apply skillfully and Sara was most patient. Let’s just say it took me more than 3 hours. We started in the afternoon, I find it is a great time to start wedding henna, as the light is perfect and there is plenty of time for the henna to seep into the topmost layers of your skin. This leaves you the option of removing your henna paste in the late evening and letting it oxidize while you sleep.

So this is her wedding henna  part I, I’ll have the rest of her story next week.

Thank you for stopping by!


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floral henna palm 2012

floral henna palm 2012 by Henna Trails
floral henna palm 2012, a photo by Henna Trails on Flickr.

I have become completely enamored by henna palms lately. I love the idea that the palms are rather personal. not everyone sees yourpalms, unless you like them to. Ah, excepting money, item transactions, the palms are usually out there at those times. So goes my theory…

Well, it is winter and the tops of my hands spend nearly all day covered in olive oil. Olive oil is good for henna stains, less so for henna paste.

This design was inspired by a video from Ash Kumar that I have been studying. I am drawn to his design work because it has so much movement. My clients tend to prefer the more Arabic styled mehndi, I have never had the opportunity to do traditional Indian bridal mehndi, so I go with what my current clientele likes…open flowing designs, also my personal favorite style. I wear henna for no other reason than as a natural beautification style.

My henna paste is made with 100% organic Rajasthani henna powder, tea, cajeput essential oil and sugars. I love the fact that henna is from a plant and has been used for thousands of years. Thousands. Love henna.


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Asha Savla mehndi stain 2011


Asha Savla stain 2011

Originally uploaded by Henna Trails

This is classical Indo-Arabic styled henna designed by Asha Savla. She is a world renowned henna designer based in Mumbai, India. She is one of my personal favorites, I often work on myself from her books. I am nearly satisfied with my line quality work, it could be better. That will come with time and practice. I am clearly obsessed with mehndi, so that is no problem. I haven’t been bored in I don’t know how long.

I did my left hand one night, left my paste on overnight with a few lemon sugar sealants. It took awhile to rub it off the next morning, but I would never just wash it off with water. Too much detailed work in mehndi to not follow the aftercare rituals for dark stains.
The next morning I did my right hand, I always start with my palms first. Because I was using my non dominate hand, it took much longer than my left hand did. I think it is a good brain and muscle control exercise. Also, I really don’t like having heavy mehndi only on one hand. Really. Light sangeet style on one hand does not bother me. I am trying to practice more complex designs, so that I may aquire some bridal clients this year.
I am really enjoying this particular mehndi, I also did the tops, but the palms always come out with pomegranate and deep cherry tones.

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