Monday, August 20, 2007

Henna, Bindi & Mehndi Artists

I was researching contemporary tattoo designs. Frankly, the resurgence in popularity of ink and ink reality shows ("Miami Ink" and "L.A. Ink") has me completely hooked. So much so, I recently read The Electric Michelangelo [about a Coney Island tattoo artist and his experiences in growing his own practice]. Being slightly cautious about permanent body work, Google hits for "temporary tattoos" led me to some pretty unexpected yet fantastic henna work; but don't ask me how to get there from here.

Who knew in some circles, traditional bridal henna with its intricate designs from various regions IS considered akin to the ancient tattoo world? Or did you know in some customs, a bride has the groom's initials applied within the design to add mystery and discovery joys to the wedding night? Henna designs are also used in various celebrations and in pregnancy.

Henna kits, powders, pastes, and embellishments are serious business. A national directory of henna artists and international certification programs exists. One doesn't want to be drawn in by the perils of incorrectly sourced black henna. Ever curious, I started wondering just who in the metropolitan DC region even DOES henna and why haven't I seen more of it as an art concentration? Within five minutes, ten local sites of amazing henna artists were found, even if some do refer to themselves as "body artists" or "facepainters." Catherine Cartwright Jones has one of the most informative and exclusively researched henna sites at The image here is credited to Daniel Lorden.