Around the world there are numerous types of henna designs and styles ranging from geometric to floral to intricate grids and even animal and human faces. Henna is used for joyous occasions, weddings, parties, bridal and baby showers, and religious holidays. I'll take you through some types of designs (though certainly not all of them).
Moroccan/North African Designs (below): Moroccan patterns are geometric and look very calculated like algorithms converted into design. Much of old islamic art from North Africa is geometric and vegetal in nature (on mosques, doors, even palaces and fancy cutlery, some examples include the mosque at Timbuktu and intricate designs on the Fatimid mosques in Egypt). There are lines, diamond shapes, squares and triangles in Moroccan designs, criss-crossing and intertwined lines creating depth in a palm.
South Asian Designs (below): Indian patterns are very thin and intricate; they often containing numerous types floral patterns with leaves and paisleys. During weddings, husbands and wives names are inscribed in the henna design and it becomes a game to try and find them. Faces and animals are incorporated in henna designs, sometimes depicting a scene of a wedding itself. Animals like the peacock and elephant are drawn on to hands for beauty as well as luck.
Middle Eastern/Arab Designs (below): Arab designs are very big, usually floral in nature with dots and lines. The designs are use alternating thick and thin lines with floral patterns filled in with thin lines. There are grids and chevrons and thicker borders with thinner interior lines. Sometimes the designs can look similar to Indian styles.
Not mentioned here are Sudanese styles of henna designs. I have not learned them yet but when I do, I will mention them on this blog. Let me know what your favorite styles are!
Reach out to me for all of your henna needs! I am looking forward to hearing from you.
I worked on this design over the weekend. Let me know what you think of it!
These are uncertain times. The world is afraid and in absolute disarray. Innocent people are dying everywhere and it is especially hard in these times to have any sort of hope.
In these times, we cling to what is necessary, what is near; specifically, our faith and our friends.
Nothing calms my head more so than doing henna designs (on either myself of my friends). Two of my friends came over and I drew on their hands, we had an impromptu henna party. It was great to spend time with them and also to further perfect my craft. Sometimes doing henna on my own hands gets tiresome and it is so much more fun to photograph others hands after I finish my work. These designs were great and my subjects were, too!
Let us hope that devastation and despair is replaced by hope, everywhere. No more fear, intolerance, hatred, bigotry, and let us fight to end oppression and injustice!
Henna cones from Pakistan are fresh; they smell different and leave a much longer lasting stain compared with any that I have found here.
I was lucky enough to visit Pakistan again and in the markets of Karachi I ordered some awesome mendhi cones. I used a cone and now await the color.
I keep practicing different patterns but these paisley style swans are my favorites. They look elegant and are simple enough to do.
Who says rainy days cannot be fun?
I did some freehand sketches with a pen and spent some time with the ducks and swans at the Prospect Park Lake. There is stunning beauty even on the most coldest of days.
My mind is far ahead of where my body is at any given time. It is exhausting. Constantly I remind myself to slow down and rejoice in the present for it is transient; meanwhile the future remains unknown and unpredictable.
Some days are indistinguishable from others; it is as if they are in a perpetual state of déjà vu, in an impenetrable and unchangeable circle. Perhaps since I have been feeling thus, my hands have been drawn towards elaborate, circular patterns.
Weddings in the family create a nice but hectic break from the daily routine. I cannot remember the last time I had been so tired. Nevertheless I did get to work on a lot of henna- for the bride, for myself, and on a candle.
We opted for a less filled in look and I was impressed with the way the bridal henna turned out.
My next endeavor will be creating patterns with fine point pens.
Very rarely do I get enough time to sit in one place and complete a task without interruption. Doing henna, for me, is not a chore, rather, it is therapeutic.
I love getting before and after shots and comparing them. This henna (whichI bought in Pakistan) is very good, it does not stain the hand too fast and it lasts a couple of days without peeling off and making ones hand feel like sandpaper. I kept my hand (with the paste on) in a plastic bag for an hour to help retain some heat. It work and the color stained very well. Perfect day for practice for upcoming brides!
I have been visiting Pakistan once a year for three consecutive years now. My family is forever hospitable and hosts me as if I had never left the place. It is a blessing to be a part of an exclusive group of people that one can call one's own.
In the past three years, the currency of Pakistan (the rupee) has fallen considerably against the dollar. In 2011, $1 was equivalent to 80 rupees, in 2012 it was 92 rupees, and in 2013 it is not 105 rupees. Likewise that which cost 100 rupees in 2011 costs 150 rupees or more in 2013. Inflation is rampant and salaries have not increased. We see the same thing here in the United States, my salary has been frozen for the past two years yet the cost of rent, electricity, gas, water, heat, etc has gone up. Nevertheless, folks work very hard to make ends meet and to try to provide a better life for the next generation.
We took a trip to Thatta and Kheenjar Lake (about 3 hours from Karachi). Families were out and about, enjoying the break in the weather and the day off in the cool waters of the lake. On the way back from the lake we stopped over at the Jame Masjid built by Shah Jahan in Thatta and then headed over to see the historical cemetery at Makli.
The mosque was as beautiful as i remembered it to be two years ago. This year it was crowded; it made me happy to see Pakistani people enjoying their own history on the day of their Independence (we went out on August 14- Pakistan independence day). The front portion of the mosque, the mihrab (where the imam leads the prayer) was redone. My favorite parts were the different ceilings (above and below). The precision, the colors and the patterns all fit perfectly with the grandeur of the mosque.
Makli Cemetery lies in the outskirts of the city of Thatta. This cemetery is five centuries and is a testament to several styles of islamic art and architecture. There are over half a million graves here. The rise and fall of several islamic civilizations are shown through the architectural designs of the mausoleums that the rich built for themselves and their families. The sands of Makli are rich in the turbulent history of the region. If folks could be buried in such ostentatious displays of fortune, what must their normal lives have been like?
The city of Thatta was once a flourishing place as one can see from the remnants of grandeur left behind. Now, it has fallen into decay and with the huge city of Karachi near by it seems as if there is no interest left to preserve it. There is a rise and a fall for everything and every place.
Once I start drawing, it's hard to stop. The designs keep getting bigger and more elaborate as I try to get everything perfect, down to the very last detail and even the color scheme.
Hues that exist in the natural world are the most stunning. Rows and rows of colored flowers in fields really make me realize and appreciate a world that we have very little control of. In the spring, after months of a long, cold, and grey winter, colors begin to pop out of trees and from the ground.
Take these flowers above, they are an inspiration in both shape and color!
Vase with arabic writing
Repetitive motifs in ceramics were most popular, and still are, in the Islamic art scene. Religious art was decorated with geometric patterns and arabic phrases. These three examples are located in the British Museum in London. Notice the use of the color cobalt blue; it was an expensive pigment to decorate with therefore those who owned/patronized these items were particularly wealthy.
I look to geometric motifs when thinking of different henna designs. It amazes me to know that some of these patterns are designed with such precision.
I'll be adding pictures and commentary of the things I love. I am an ordinary person in an extraordinary place. There is no special purpose to this blog other than to project what I am thinking of at any given moment.
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