For the past four years, we’ve spent many a day decorating cakes, cupcakes, and cookies. We’ve designed and decorated some pretty intricate-looking treats. Despite this, we were nowhere near prepared for how beautiful traditional henna is.
Last month, we had the chance to meet the lovely Parinita and try henna for the first time. Rather than attempt an explanation to those of you unfamiliar with henna, I’ll quote our artist instead: “Henna, also known as mehndi, is a traditional temporary “tattoo” that has been passed down over the generations and is becoming a very popular method of self-expression. This form of art has been a long-standing tradition stemming from many ancient cultures but is mostly known today for its history and prevalence in India. The henna paste is made out of crushed leaves and twigs of a henna plant which is found and grown in places such as South Asia and North Africa and has natural staining properties”. (Quoted from Parinita’s Henna Body Art facebook page.) (This is where I’ll note that I did a little henna research myself–a practice I feel is important when customs from other cultures are involved. I had always associated henna with India, but didn’t realize it’s also traditionally popular in Southern Asia and Northern Africa as well. Which makes perfect sense when I consider where the plant is grown).
We have only good things to say about Parinita and her award-winning work. (For example, “Venture of the Year” in Newfoundland from the Provincial Youth Ventures Awards Committee in 2012). From the moment we met she was friendly, professional, and knowledgeable. Not to mention the fact she made us feel right at home. And, instead of buying a pre-made henna paste, she makes her own–it’s 100% organic and smells amazing. (Apparently, some people don’t like the smell, but it smelled like cloves to me. And I love the smell of cloves because it reminds me of Christmas, haha).
Compared to a modern “tattoo”, henna is 100% painless (and quiet!). It’s also not permanent–ours faded over a couple weeks. (We’ve been trying to convince our older sister to get matching tattoos with us…she’s agreed to henna so far. Baby steps, Jennifer!) I’m still amazed that the designs were all applied freehand. I’ve tried many times to pipe curvy lines and semi-circles on sugar cookies and cakes, but these details blow my mind. The result is mesmerizing, to say the least. We could keep going and going about how talented Parinita is and how beautiful her work looks, but pictures will give you a much better explanation.
If henna is something you’ve been interested in, or if you want to know more about it, contact Parinita through the Henna Body Art facebook page. There you’ll also find info about available upcoming dates for making appointments in the St. John’s area. We can’t recommend this local business enough.
You’ll see us again soon, Parinita!