One afternoon last January I took a ride downtown to the La Rocca Vineyards Organic Wine Tasting Room to provide henna artistry for a beautiful and intimate wedding. Henna, or mehendi as part of marriage rites is an enduring tradition, and mehendi is applied for many celebrations in India. Mandalas were chosen for their hands, a classic India style motif. Mandalas are sometimes thought to represent the universe or the cosmos, mandalas are also some of my favorite motifs for henna.
I love this wedding henna photo, the atmosphere is completely steeped in Chico, California! Life up here in Northern California is relaxed and casual, we’re all striving to live as one with nature, and that has a profound effect on our community. Purely natural henna is a marvelous compliment to our local lifestyle, even if the henna plant doesn’t grow here! I’m here to cultivate henna as adornment just for you, what inspires you?
This summer you can find me with my purely natural henna designs in Chico, California;
Thursday Night Market, every Thursday 6-9 pm * Broadway Street between 3rd & 4th St
Chapman Farmer’s Market every Friday 2-7 pm * Cleveland Avenue, by the park
The Thursday Night Market is bustling with energy and larger crowds, a nice selection of artisans, food trucks, fresh local produce and fresh food items with live bands on the streets and plaza of downtown.
The Chapman Farmer’s Market is a small and fairly new market situated against the community park on Martin Luther King Jr Parkway. You can find fresh local produce, artisans, plants, music and small crowds.
I hope to see you soon for some summer henna!
Chapmantown Farmer’s Market summer 2013
Henna special, artists choice at the Thursday Night Market summer 2013
Henna at the Thursday Night Market Chico, California summer 2013
fresh and locally grown flower bouquets at the Thursday Night Market spring 2013
Henna with a dash of purple toned cosmetic glitter at the Thursday Night Market
fresh and locally grown artichokes at the Thursday Night Market spring 2013
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.
henna and family days before the wedding
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.
Natural henna stains are variable, you can see something of an ombre effect with the fingertips being the darkest point of the henna stain. It is natural to see the the stain lighter as it moves up the arm. Sometimes the stain stays consistent as it moves up the arm, a trait of henna paste, body chemistry and more. Purely natural henna is made from powdered henna leaves, tea, cajeput essential oil, and sugar. A simple recipe, natural and safe. Henna is known to have been used as skin adornment for ages, times when chemicals were unknown. Even now, the naturalistic essence of henna is one of it’s most appealing attributes. Henna stains typically last anywhere from 7-12 days, depending on body placement and skin chemistry.
To achieve your quality henna stain, you will need to be patient and slow down for a few hours at least. Your henna artist will apply the henna paste upon your skin, typically the paste will be dry 15 minutes after the paste is laid. Henna is known for having a cooling effect, you’ll want to adjust your environment. Now that you have your design, you will want to keep it intact for 4-8 hours, depending on your commitment to quality henna stains. The longer you leave your paste on, the more skin cells the henna paste can reach.
During this time you will want to do something that doesn’t require much activity which could effect your henna paste, wherever it is placed. Settle yourself comfortably and daydream, nap, wax poetic, talk with a friend, or watch some films. Have one cup of hot tea.
After your natural henna paste is rubbed off, your new henna stain is revealed. This is my favorite part of henna, as your skin reveals a deep layer of bright orange designs and the essence of the essential oils mixed into your paste are intoxicating. My henna paste has undertones of cardamom, lavender, and cedar essential oils, a clean woodsy scent with the cajeput oil. However, you’re not quite done with your aftercare. Avoid direct contact with water as long as you can. You may need to get creative and ask for assistance from your roommates or family. If you can’t avoid water, it’s fine, you’ll still get a really nice henna stain. If you avoid water you’ll get a better quality henna stain. Your henna stain will progressively become darker as it oxidizes. 24 hours after your stain is revealed will be your mature henna stain color.
Henna is and was, meant to be purely natural.. Your skin is your largest organ and a beautiful canvas. Nothing compares to the look of purely natural henna stained skin, connect with an ancient beauty. The henna on your skin may fade away, yet the artistry of henna will remain and grow.
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.
I did some bridal mehndi this week for someone I have known since she was a babe. How exciting to see her grow up into a conscious artistic woman…I totally called it when she was little. This afternoon we will be going to her wedding in a Chico-iconic location for some western themed fun. This bride and groom are gorgeous and creative free thinkers…I can’t wait to see what they have up their sleeves! I’m off to henna and then braid my hair and get out some stylish western wear.
This design is inspired by Asha Savla’s Vivaah, and a touch of Deepika Chauhan’s Shangar part II.
It sure is quiet in the mehndi body art corner of my small rural world. It is cold outside! So I practice on myself to stay limber of hand and mind. I spend a fair amount of time looking at fellow henna artisan’s work on photo/social media sites and am always impressed with a finely detailed Indian Bridal Mehndi design. I typically only have the opportunity to do this level of mehndi artistry on myself, as my clients usually prefer smaller, more flowing, open designs. This particular design is in the Indo Arabic Mehndi style, a fusion of the elegant sweeps of arabic motifs, often inspired by plants and flowers, with intricate detials inspired by traditional Indian Mehndi. Goodness, I love henna.