Mandala art for devices

earthy mandala folk art for devices

 

Society6 and I are offering free shipping for a limited time in my newly created Our Folk Life online shop! I am loving the look of the dark wooden plank and turquoise toned mandala motif, decidedly rustic. Certainly bohemian…what device?

My art is all hand drawn, Society6 enables me to produce items I normally would not be able to offer at reasonable prices. Society6 is  based out of San Francisco and so far I have been very pleased with their service and the environment they nurture. There are very many quality artists keeping shop, with new offerings daily. I upload my art image, they store it and print on demand. I’m so excited, so many opportunities, so many visions to come to life.

I would like to let my readers know I am blogging about my folk art on Our Folk Life. Henna Trails will continue to focus on henna body arts, culture and design. Join me if you like my folk art!

Thank you!

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Cookie Time…stop

Since my son and I had great success making creme puffs on Thanksgiving, I was inspired to bake some ‘good sugar cookies’ for the coming holidays. The holidays brings much creative inspiration as people everywhere turn to thoughts of delicious and beautiful with family and friends. Decorative sugar cookies are always a great canvas, particularly for henna artists as we can utilize the same tools bakeries use for piping. Seeing as the Fall and Winter for this henna artist is low on ladies’ hands, I cut out my sugar cookies with a hamsa cookie cutter. How much do I love this nifty little tool? Probably abit too much, it’s the little things that can make one happy.

I believe pretty cookies should also taste pretty fantastic. I have eaten my share of uninspiring cookies that looked great and tasted bland. Through trial and error I came upon my very favorite sugar cookie recipe, I’m not sure where I found it originally. The inside of a cabinet door holds my go to taste tested recipes and there is a slip of paper which reads only “good sugar cookies”. I’ll take my word for it and share it with you.

good sugar cookies:

2 sticks butter

2/3 cup of powdered sugar

2 egg yolks, save your egg whites for royal icing

salt

vanilla, I really like using vanilla beans, as the speckles from them are so enchanting

2 cups flour

I tend to add zest of whatever citrus is in season, this batch had mandarin zest

I also tend to add one or all of the following: nutmeg, cardamom, or anise. Just a pinch will go a long way.

Mix, pat onto plastic or a flour cloth and refrigerate for ease of rolling and cutting

Roll rather thickly for generous cookies

I baked mine a 375 for around 8 minutes in my toaster/convection oven.

Remember those egg yolks you used in the cookie dough? The egg whites remaining are a main ingredient for Royal Icing, a perfect match for decorative cookies.

royal icing:

2 egg whites

4 cups sifted powdered sugar

squeeze of lemon

whip your egg whites until stiff

add powdered sugar until you get the consistency you like.

For cookie flooding I suggest a thinner icing. For decorative line work a much stiffer icing is necessary.

Please note: The use of raw egg whites may be problematic for pregnant women, babies, young children, or anyone whose health is compromised. A good alternative for raw egg whites is  5 tablespoons meringue powder and 1/3 cup water, mix royal icing as usual with 4 cups powdered sugar.

Now you’re ready! I love the look of icing flooding as a base, so I added some blue food coloring gel. After the base coat dried I went to work with my pastry tube of the stiffer white royal icing. Since my cookie are shaped as hamsas I knew I wanted to do some Moroccan styled designs. I ‘m not sure why, but I tend to gravitate towards Moroccan style decorations during the holidays.

Wondering what a Hamsa is? According to Wiki: palm-shaped amulet popular throughout the Middle East and North Africa. Depicting the open right hand, an image recognized and used as a sign of protection in many societies throughout history, the hamsa is believed to provide defense against the evil eye. I love them and should use them more often in my work, I see some design study in my future. The Moroccan designs I used are inspired greatly by the henna pattern book “Moor: A Henna Atlas of Morocco” by Lisa Butterworth and Nic Tharpa Cartier. I highly suggest this book for anyone fascinated by Moroccan art, henna artist or not, you will love this book full of information and design.

I had entirely so much fun making these cookies, I have become inspired to create a gingerbread house next. These cookies were enjoyed by some nice, patient boys who like tea with their  cookies.

Happy Holiday dreaming and creating!

Painted pebbles, miniatures in nature

I have spent the past few weeks working in tiny, tiny detail on creek pebbles. Not just any pebbles. Wonderfully slim, wafer thin pebbles collected casually over the years from a creek bank. I would fill my pockets when visiting that creek simply because those pebbles allured me with their own sort of natural perfection. I hadn’t any real intentions for them, but I did like creating tiny rock stacks on my woodstove for interest. I observed my family fiddling with them, moving the flat stones from hand to hand, stacking them, discovering their absolute allure of tactile perfection. Yes, all from a small pile of stones, pebbles, skipping rocks.

I have been admiring the art work of other artists on etsy also drawn to painting pebbles. Some of the artists will paint delicate designs as I have done, some may crochet around their perfect stones for a tactile experience, and some will drill holes in them for you to wear.  I started to notice how the ancient treated stones, carving symbols and even information onto their surface. I also remembered someone in my family receiving an official Pet Rock  for Christmas, complete with care instuctions. Funny, so much fuss over a naturally occurring solid aggregate of minerals. Nature is most inspiring!

Look closer and stop in to visit my esty shop.

Chevron painted pebbles.

 

Geometric painted pebbles

 

Vining lotus painted pebbles

 

Ikat painted pebbles

 

Thank you for reading and subscribing to my blog, next time I will showcase yet another addition to my folk art etsy shop.

Stocking my etsy shop just for you

It lives! After a long hibernation and some reflection, my etsy shop is filling with my various interpretations of henna folk arts. There are new features on etsy that make my Indie heart skip a beat. Gift cards are now available, as well as direct check out if you find paypal to be a hassle. This week I will be adding these earrings as well as pendents made from capiz shells, light as a feather and translucent like antique windows. I accept custom orders for that personal touch.

Exploring Moroccan fan motifs

Last week I found myself drawn to Moroccan style henna designs. I wanted a bit of strong geometric lines, floral, and some of those fan accents in my Tuesday personal  henna. I am loving the fan accents, I have neglected using them in the past and now I am inspired to put them in many designs! Which I did. Last week at the Thursday Night Market, where I have so many opportunities to do “artist’s choice” designs. Lots of my clients choose this and it gives me a chance to go with the flow and see what conspires. One of the most popular design styles in my tent, consistently, is Moroccan. The designs I offer  are from the e-book, “Moor on the Spot” available thru Henna Tribe.

How Henna Trails explored the use of fan elements in henna design last week, May 2012…

combining elements I love, as inspired by fellow henna artists

Oh, I can totally use fan accents in this design….

The floral centers are from “Lavender” and I added the fan accents to the motif.

A heart and eye henna design thought to ward off jealousy. This motif is from “Moor on the Spot” by Lisa Butterworth and Nic Tharpa Cartier. Hugely popular style of henna in Chico, California

feathers brought down the mountain