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

 

 

Shoeful of Rain

From my Blog Vaults . . . A post about a Shoeful of Rain

Following the Crow Song

PIC00759.JPG Shoes and Blossoms – June Perkins

“A shoeful of rain. a heart full of friendship: imagining a world connected with strands of love.”

Above are some thoughts after meeting up with a friend at a cafe to talk about life, art, dreams – in our extremely busy schedules.

It was meant to be for one hour, but was two.

I never had sisters growing up, so friends who feel like sisters are very precious.

Going home I stepped in a puddle, but my heart was too happy to notice it much.

Life has been busy, working on a video for the kick starter, meeting up with friends, having friends not seen for over 14 years reconnect.

Stories wait to be edited, whilst one book is about (I sincerely) hope to be brought into the world.

And now a week after seeing my dear friend, who has such courage to follow…

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Apple Cores

I’d like to encourage my blog readers to head over and visit and read Mel’s blog of her journey in the Philippines. So happy she is coming back soon to Australia and hope to catch up with her then.

Melinda J. Irvine

Apple cores have been on my mind these past months since having a seven year old boy stay with me for a time. Apple cores, the burden of gadgets and not blogging.

Three hours ago I was about to donate the lot to the nearest NGO and rid myself of the problem so I could just play with the kids, support the ladies in the livelihood projects and cut apples.

When I began this website last year, it was really about raising funds for the people of the Philippines who had been affected by Typhoon Yolanda. Arriving  here for the first time last year I was so overwhelmed by the poverty and the website, www.lovethepeopleyoumeet.com was borne of that (as well as something I had read from Mother Teresa). So many people had donated and those funds helped rebuild houses, refinance loans, buy food, medicines, clothes, school supplies and pay for…

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Books and Brunch with Pam

Catching up with Pam for brunch at New Farm – October 4th

On Saturday I was delighted to catch up with my dear friend Pam Galeano, who was doing a visit to family and promoting her books, now available at New Farm Editions, and being the special lady she is before doing her author duties she treated me and my daughter to a birthday brunch as a present.

She has written five picture books over the last few years,Glissandra the Glider, Hull River Rolley, Elmo the orphan, Count Back Crocodile, and Cassowary Coast Count on Country, so next time you are over at New Farm Editions look for them on the shelves.

She has worked closely with three illustrators, all themselves talented ladies. I was fortunate to attend a few of the local launches in the Cassowary Coast.  Pam was one of the first people to make me and my family feel welcome during my time living there and I enjoyed our time together as part of the Licuala Writers Group and co-working together on our writer’s group anthology and other projects.

Boolarong now distributes all her publications to bookstores but she and her illustrator partners sell directly to tourism outlets and gift shops. Boolarong Press.

Pam and Books – at New Farm Editions