open palms, open minds or something like that

A delicately henna’d palm allures like an ancient beauty. A rather discrete place for henna and also the absolute best place for deep and dark henna stains.

purely natural artful henna with Kristy McCurry of Henna Trails Chico, California
purely natural artful henna with Kristy McCurry of Henna Trails Chico, California
purely natural henna with Kristy McCurry of Henna Trails Chico, California
purely natural henna with Kristy McCurry of Henna Trails Chico, California

Happy New Year, now go find an excellent henna artist and try something new!

 

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I have decided to keep my henna body art separate from my folk arts. This means more artistic freedom and exploration and really, a return to my roots. If you like my folk art you may want to join me here at OurFolkLife. For henna body art, you can stay tuned, I’ll have something up in a few days. I’m excited about a new year and wish for hope and prosperity for all of us!

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.

Rain Henna

It rained this week for the first time in maybe, 5-6 months. Deep and heavy rains, the earth smells fantastic now. After some adjusting, I don’t mind at all.

The season may be changing, however you can still indulge in henna for your self with a private appointment, with friends for a henna party, or consider your future wedding henna. Please contact us  for availability. Experience purely natural and artistic henna with Henna Trails.

Wedding Henna in Black and White

Last February, Jahlelah and I sat down one evening and began the meticulous application of her bridal mehendi. Months prior, we had consulted over her design possibilities. I presented her with Indian bridal mehendi books, and a few of my own henna designs, as well as links to portfolios of some very talented bridal artists in the US. Soon I had an idea of what designs  appealed to her and the length of her henna. We knew she liked the idea of the mehendi appearing as netted gloves, her henna would start below her elbow and down to her fingertips. Solid fingertips would be the most dramatic. We took a motif inspired by some lace she had, added a mandala motif from Asha Savla’s Vivaah mehndi book. Her heart palm was inspired by the work of Henna Lounge and the mandalas were added around that motif. A design this structured takes time to finish, as every part needs good symmetry between both hands. While it was meticulous work, I really enjoyed the particular meditation working on such a scale brings. 

Jahlelah and Lance’s wedding was a beautiful reflection of their community. Heartfelt, family oriented, and handmade.  Best wishes to the happy family!

Purely natural henna adornment for all brides in Chico California with Henna Trails. Artfully designed and applied mehendi using only the finest henna paste, mixed in house for rich stains. Bridal henna is priced by design complexity rather than hourly. Contact us to schedule your 30 minute bridal consultation.

Henna for everyone

There are so very many styles of henna design, I think just about everyone can find something they like. I got into henna because I have a tendency to love all things natural, ancient, and tradition based. I loved the look of henna hands, yet I only found henna artists locally a few times a year. Since I have always been of a creative mind I thought I would give henna a try myself. I got a few books, ordered my henna powder from a natural plant dye company and got to mixing. Needless to say, I experienced serious frustration as the henna making its way onto my hands looked nothing like the incredible and exotic image in my head. So I set to practice practice practice and left odd marks of henna on my family for a few years. I am so thankful for my gifts of patience, serious focus power and creativity…because all these years of study and practice have paid off. I’m still practicing! I have lofty goals for my future and I know I can improve my skills in application and design. I am just so completely fascinated by henna, such beauty derived from a simple leaf.

But enough about me. Henna is certainly a type of beautification. You don’t necessarily need a special or formal occasion to justify henna adornment. This is purely my opinion, others have different viewpoints and reasons for henna times. I can respect traditional henna cultures and their use of henna for auspicious occasions. I can also respect traditional cultures who love using henna as a part of their beautification regime. I liken henna as beautification similar to manicures. A simple act of beauty can make a lady’s week brighter. Setting aside time for personal adornment will slow you down in the best way possible. I hope to see you pop up in my email with requests for henna, whether it is a private appointment or a henna party for 6. Come ladies, embrace henna adornment. Try something new, which has some pretty ancient roots with our sistren thru the ages. Contact us and arrange your appointment, I have a few options for you. 

Friday Henna Time

Today you can find me at 319 Main Street downtown Chico, California from 1-6pm at Eye Of Jade Tattoo. I’ll have my purely natural henna and many patterns to choose from!

After that I’ll be packing my tent for my weekend festival booking with over 2 dozen silk screened shirts, 1 dozen hand painted earrings, 2 dozen hand painted glass votives,  hand painted cards, silk henna chokers, and all the henna Full Belly Farm can handle! We’ll be in the Capay Valley for the annual Hoes Down Harvest Festival. October 6, 7 2012

Market henna season closing tonight!

It has been a rather inspiring 6 months of henna in the streets of downtown Chico, California for the Thursday Night Market! All my supporters have my utmost gratitude for embracing this exquisite, ancient and temporal artistry. I will miss the hustle and bustle of this beautiful evening market, meeting up with my community, and supporting other artists, farmers, and cooks! Incidentally, our humble little market was named one of the best of the World’s Best Late-Nite Foodie Havens! Pretty cool for a small, rural college town amongst organic farms and orchards. We love excellent food here, that is for sure!

This year will mark my 4 season slinging henna on the street for the market. I have learned so much thru the years. I look forward to coming back next April, refreshed and armed with new henna patterns, books and ideas just for you, dear Chico. Come see me tonight and revel in the awesome of our town! Purely natural.