Henna for Well Being

I have noticed Henna  (also known as mehndi) a reddish brown dye made from leaves and used to colour the hair and decorate the body, on the hands of women in art depicting Hinduism and on women from India and always wondered how it was done.

Henna is traditionally used for special occasions like weddings and birthdays in India, the Middle East, Pakistan and Africa but also research says it was something that poor people loved to do as they didn’t own jewellery. and could use it to adorn their bodies.

Our special occasion was just celebrating friendship and having a relaxing morning.

A well traveled friend of the family who has been doing henna since she was eleven years old offered to teach me and some friends how to do it.

For some reason some of my friends thought they would have henna done for them, but were surprised and interested to learn they would be doing the henna on themselves.

She gave us each pre-prepared (but you can make it yourself) henna which came in a little pack, called a henna cone. Only one person in the group had done henna before.

You can buy henna kits in Indian supermarkets, where the henna is already in dispensers that remind one of icing bags, only much more colourful. Online henna kits can vary from $9 to $35 depending on what is in them (they may include henna cones, moisturising oil and patterns).

My friend’s kit was purchased in India on by her mum on her travels. She gave us some photocopy instructions which had descriptions of small movements you can do to create your henna designs. Essentially this means patterns are broken down into smaller movements that you can then build together to make a larger design.


These moves had names like wind humps,  fooffy, wibble leaves, ziggy zoggy, fishbone, buds, flowers, mummies, sprouts, flowers and paisley. Designs we could choose from were Celtic, African, Indian or our own variation of any of these.

I struggled a little at first with the henna cone, but some people used to icing cakes, or just naturally dexterous, had the hang of it straight away. My daughter was a natural arty wizz.

Eventually I did learn to work the henna cone, with some gentle instruction from my friends who had the hang of it more easily.  I didn’t try anything too complicated though as it took my so long just to be able to work the dispenser.

Whilst we were doing the henna we chatted about travel, henna, learning creative things, religion, our countries of birth,  (which included South Sudan and Austria). when some of us arrived in Australia and more.  My friend said she loved that when you are doing henna you can enjoy the company of others without having to speak their language.  She is doing her masters in English as a second language teaching and has done workshops for children ten and above on doing henna.

After we had put our design onto our hands and it had dried for a while, we put some lemon juice onto our design to keep it wet for longer.  This help fix the dye as well.

The dye was orange on our hands straight after, and the next day it darkened to be a light brown.

You can also obtain a henna that is white, which potentially shows better on darker skin, or you can use this henna on the palm of the hands. My friend said the dye turns out differently on different days and different shades of skin.  It can be unpredictable.

My friend kindly let us take our henna dye dispenser home and some people, like my daughter continued to work on her design until her whole hand back and front, from wrist, to fingers to centre of hand were done.  She just loved it. Another participant showed her sister how to do it, and she had a go as well.

She kindly did a little bit of additional henna on to our hands once everyone had done most of the work themselves.

This day was a great bonding exercise for all involved, and a great exercise in self care!  We just enjoyed getting to know everyone in the group  as much as doing the henna.

In this global world, it is lovely to learn about different ways we can connect people through creative practices.  We all gained respect for those amazing henna artists who are able to do these designs so quickly and so well.

 

June Perkins

 

 

Art Class

I have been delighted to have some work published at Australian Children’s Poetry blog.

blurred

 

Art Class

For Vincent’s  ‘The  Starry,  Starry Night’

 

Outlines crash into swirls

Miss Del Amico asks, what do you see?

Is that a sky of blue curls?

Outlines crash into swirls

Time to dive for some pearls

Will I find this painting’s key?

Outlines crash into swirls

Miss Del Amico asks, what do you see ?

June Perkins
  • Submitted in response to Poetry Prompt #8

poetry-prompt-8

 

 

 

June said: This is a triolet using the prompt ‘Blurred.’ The first words that came into my head were, ‘outlines crash into swirls’.

The trickiest thing with this poem was picking the artist.  Would they be someone I personally knew who painted, a fictional small child, or someone who everyone knows that paints?  I thought of a famous artist who used swirls, Vincent Van Gough.

I added the dedication to help with understanding of the poem.

I imagine this poem is an art class for early childhood with a teacher who likes to introduce the children to great artists, and likes to encourage them to look beyond the surface of the painting, into what it means to the artist who paints it.  I decided to name the teacher after my favourite art teacher at high school.

 

(Published March 3rd at Australian Children’s Poetry Blog)

Impressions

A Queensland twist on Monet,

Ripple Poetry

dundeepark Dundee Park – June Perkins

Impressions

Monet
I
A cathedral attracts me
Day by Day
To find the way light
Falls.

I see gaps of darkness
Fade away,
But oh
How I long
For my garden

Red poppies
Flowing river
Waves in ponds
Bridges suspended over
Reflections
Of a garden in water.

Lotuses form lilies
Whispering to me
Mocking my blindness as
I look through glasses,
See strange tints

Reflecting outside
The way
Time falls.

II

I think you would have painted the cane
And built a garden in tropical terrain.

Your canvas would have contained the Ulysses
Fleeting life frozen on canvas.

You would have captured the Misty Mountains at every time of day
The golden gumboot would not have been your choice.
You would have liked a hut I see on the way to Cardwell
Or a tiny church I know that’s tucked away in the cane.

You…

View original post 62 more words

Jadella Lies

I am so excited that the Hairy Harold, the kick starter project, I supported last week is going ahead.  Now this week I am encouraging any of my blog readers who love supporting youth living in remoter parts of Australia to support Jadella Lies.

Sonja is a highly motivated and talented young lady who has been doing art and selling her art online and at markets for some time.  She was also a great mentor and friend to my daughter when we lived in far North Queensland.

She has gathered a group of her friends and is this close to creating something truly memorable for all participants, their family, friends and the wider community.

Sonja writes,

“Senthai; a land ruled by magic and chaos. No one person controls another. There are no rulers, and no rules. But legend has it there is one who has the power to seize the hearts and minds of the people. One who can control them… Her power is sought after by many a thief, mercenary and tyrant. But this powerful woman is no more willing to share her powers than she is to use them. She would die before letting that happen.”

This is it. The basic little description upon which this entire book and movie project is based. My friends and I were really just mucking around in an exam block spare, when we decided to make a movie. It was only going to be small, easy to manage (not at all like the ridiculous half-tries we had attempted in the past), nothing too hard at all… Wow, we were naive.

Before we knew what was happening, we were trawling op-shops for costumes to alter, buying swords, making props and puppets and masks and well, everything that we had promised we wouldn’t do. It was fantastic! ”

Sonja goes on to  say:

“During the Christmas holidays, we (8 young women, ranging from age 7 to 18) began filming. We got our parents to transport us to locations around Mission Beach in Far North Queensland whenever we had free time (believe me, coordinating teenage girls is a lot harder than herding cats – it is more like herding bubbles) and we have now completed filming.

Now all we need is that final push to get us over the finish line. We have editors for the movie and book all lined up and ready to go, and have booked dates for an exhibition at the Mission Arts Gallery (the 26th June) where we will exhibit the handmade props, costumes and original artwork.”

So if you want to see some young women achieve their dreams why not lend them some support, and for your troubles they will send you a thankyou card, give you a film sponsorship credit, or post you a copy of their book and the dvd of the movie signed.  I for one, wish them well.

Please reblog this and share on your twitter and facebook!

For more information on the campaign head Jadella Lies Kickstarter Campaign

Note- This project is almost funded only $130 to go (24/04/2015)

The Project is Funded, but they would appreciate more funds and will use them to the costs of their project (2/5/2015)

For celebration of the ‘glory’ and ‘to make a better world’

JunePerkins_Tully_Glory172
Glory – (c) June Perkins

The realm of glory is not something I can depict in a realist photographic approach. It is something, unknowable, untouchable, and so my focus is more to the essence of the shape of things, the abstract.

“Verily His Call will draw thee nigh unto the realm of glory and will cause thee to extol His praise in such wise that every created thing will be enraptured, and to magnify His glory in such manner as to influence the entire creation. Truly thy Lord is the Protector, the Gracious, the All-Informed.”
-Baha’u’llah, Tablets of Baha’u’llah

This year I’ve joined the wonderful team of photographers over at nineteen months.  Each Baha’i Month, we post a photograph we’ve taken and quote that inspires us.

Check out some of the other inspiring contributions HERE

It’s a super busy time as I’m about to begin tutoring, doing an online course on crowd funding, half way through the first draft of my novel,  have a number of works I am editing and keen to begin writing, as well the usual family joys and challenges. My household has three teenagers all embarking on their dreams (one’s at university) and vision for future life. Sometimes I am not sure how I’m going to balance it all. Reflecting on a spiritual theme each month in this way helps to put it all into perspective.

Why create art?  Why write? Why live?  It all seems to be a process of finding balance and a spiritual centering.

So few writers make it in financial and ‘being known’ terms, but does that mean they should give up working on their craft, telling their stories, polishing, sharing and finding joy in that process?  Of course that was a rhetorical question.

Whilst it is true having a wide audience gives authors and artists a sense of validation, and being listened to, yet it is those who write for the way it allows them to connect with the glory in existence itself and build community that will never ever give it up.

This week I have been particularly inspired by Maya Angelou.  I find myself watching many videos where she tells stories and shares her thoughts.  This one truly sums up why I do art – ‘to satisfy my soul’ and ‘to make a better world.’

Wishing you all the best for your week of creativity, and a special thank you to the team of people mentoring and editing my work at the moment.  Your support means so much.

June Perkins