What's your 'Real' job?
“What is your 'real' job?”
“I am a henna artist.”
“Wow that’s so cool! But what is your ‘job’ job? Like what do you do for a living.”
“I am a henna artist… I do henna bodyart on people.”
“Oh, I see.”
I often get this question, followed by that pause, that confused look, and ultimately, that ‘oh’.
For those who don't know, I used to be a CPA by profession. I worked in Accounting at a reputable company in Halifax before I quit my job & went into my business full time.
Some family members think I am not qualified enough to have a ‘real’ job. That I can do henna because my husband has a good job. Clients tell me that I can still go back to doing accounting if I ever want to ‘work’.
Owning a business is as time consuming as having a full time job, and sometimes even more. I work from 9am to 5pm to develop my skills, market my business, answer inquiries about bookings, and finding more business development opportunities like events & parties. In a full time job, people get weekends or certain days off. As a henna artist, weekends are when I am the busiest. Full time jobs employees get stat holidays off. I work every stat holiday as that is when most of the events and parties take place. Being an entrepreneur is exhausting but more rewarding. I am the owner, artist, marketer, social media manager, sales associate, accountant & customer representative of my business – ALL IN ONE.
Do people think it is easy to find new business? Clients don't just come to you; you have to work hard to make them come to you. You have to deal with competition and prove your skills & abilities every single day. On top of that, you have to do such an amazing job that you stand out in the crowd.
As entrepreneurs, we need to have management skills, leadership skills and sales skills to be able to survive. It is one thing to be skilled at making art, but a completely different skill to run a business and be successful at it.
Temporary body art is a growing industry, and there is a big need for skilled as well as professional artists. You can ask a friend or family member to offer face painting or henna at your next event, same as you can paint your own nails or take your own wedding photos. BUT those will always be different from a "real" & "professional" artist's work.
Why I decorate Pumpkins
I love decorating pumpkins with henna designs!
Why? Because we didn't celebrate Halloween in India, and I was introduced to these massively gorgeous pumpkins when I moved to the States in 2007. And I fell in love!
When I started my henna business 5 years ago, I doodled on a real pumpkin with henna paste. Guess what, it looked amazing! But, the henna paste fell off and the pumpkin rotted...
So I attempted again using acrylic paints, and it stayed! But the pumpkin still went bad after a month or so.
Then I finally found out about craft pumpkins, and the acrylic paint worked on it perfectly. Stayed intact and for Ever!
So I am proud to say that my creation of decorating a pumpkin with henna designs is a success and I am glad to have this available for other Halloween lovers to call it their own!
My thoughts on "Black" Henna
There is nothing natural about Black Henna. If it's 'black', it's probably a chemical called PPD (para-phenylenediamine) which is commonly used as a dye to color hair. If this chemical is used on the skin, it may have harmful effects and cause blistering, open sores, scarring, and lifelong health problems.
Natural henna is made from henna powder, which are dried henna leaves. Henna is grown and cultivated in parts of India. The henna powder is green in colour. It is mixed with lemon juice, essential oils like eucalyptus and cajeput, and plain water. This paste is applied on the skin which leaves an orange stain on the skin. This stain develops into a brownish-orange stain and stays on the skin for 5-10 days.
A lot of people seek "dark" stain from henna. There is no guarantee on how the stain turns out to be as it reacts differently to skin types and where it is placed on the body.
Some people have chosen the wrong way of developing an 'instant' and 'dark' stain, so the tattoo looks like a real one. This is where the 'black poison' comes into being.
A henna artist who practices natural artistry will NEVER expose their clients to 'black' or unnatural products that are harmful for the skin.
People should use a lot of precautions while getting henna at local events or while travelling to tourist destinations. Always ask the artist if their henna is natural, but also be the judge yourself.
Natural henna looks greenish/brownish and never black when it is first applied on the skin. If you start to feel weird, then wash the paste off your skin immediately and consult a doctor.
I am a strong promoter of Natural Henna artistry. I mix my paste myself and buy certified and organic henna powder from trusted suppliers.
I am also a member of the Canadian Association of Face and Body Artist and we believe that it is our responsibility to educate our community and spread the word about dreadful effects of being exposed to harsh chemical products like 'black' henna.
Glitter Henna Photoshoot
It was fun doing Glitter henna on model Bec... she is such a natural!
Hair and make-up done by Katrina of Kaya Salon NS
Photography by Veronica Tsang Photography
Popular Henna Patterns and their meaning
A lot of my clients ask me this question while getting henna "So, do these symbols have a meaning?" and my answer to them is "I am not sure, I think these are just random patterns" But the questions made me curious, do these pattern really symbolize anything?
So today, I searched the internet and found this wonderful article on about.com. Here are a few lines... and you can check out the complete article by clicking on the link below. Enjoy reading!
"... Traditional Henna Placement
While henna designs can be applied nearly anywhere on the body, certain locations have special meaning and significance. Henna that is placed on the palms of the hand allow the bearer to receive and offer blessings. Popular henna deigns for the palms include mandalas, sun and flower images.Henna placed on the top of the hands can be suggestive of protection and often includes shield designs.
For men, the right hand is considered projective whereas the right hand is receptive and represents women. The feet are truly a spiritual place to henna, as they connect the body, mind and spirit with the earth.
Popular Henna Design Meanings
1. Sahasara: This ancient symbol unites the soul with a divine sense of force.
2. Peacock: The proud peacock symbolizes beauty.
3. Swans: Symbolize success and beauty.
4. Birds:Birds serve as the messengers between heaven and earth.
5. Dragonflies and butterflies: Symbolize change and rebirth.
6. Paisley designs:Intricate and scrolling paisleys can represent fertility and luck.
7. Flowers: Flowers and petals symbolize pure happiness and joy.
8. Vines and leaves: Vines and leaf henna designs often represent devotion and vitality and are perfect for marriage celebrations.
9. Eye: Ancient eyes in Mehndi art often represent the reflection of the evil eye, turning any evil wishes back onto the gazer while offering a spiritual form of protection. Popular for weddings or any other of life's journeys, a Mehndi eye is a comforting companion.
10. Snakes and lizards:Reptiles are often considered the seekers of enlightenment in henna practices.
Where did it start?
Blog by Namita Rajani
Have you ever sat down and wondered how the tradition of Henna tattoos started? If not, then you belong to the 99.99% of the population. Just like me. But since my sister Vineeta started her Henna business, I felt inclined to learn more about it.
A quick search on Wikipedia and Google and I found some interesting facts about the history of Henna tattoos. Henna, as a way of dyeing hair and skin, has been used since 4th century BC. Ancient Egyptians used it to stain the fingers and toes of the Pharaohs before mummifying them, Moroccans used it to dye wool and leather goods, and Romans used it to color their hair. It is believed that Cleopatra was one of the first women who made henna popular. She used it to decorate her body with henna tattoos and, in her quest to marry Julius Caesar and eventually falling in love with Mark Antony, spread the art of henna from Egypt to Rome to Morocco. In India and Pakistan, henna or, as it is more commonly called, mehndi, has been around for over 5,000 years. One source says that it was first used as a natural air-conditioner to cool people’s bodies, and when they saw that henna left stains on their bodies, they started making designs for decorative purposes. According to Hindu Vedic ritual books, staining bodies using turmeric and henna was intended to be a symbolic representation of the outer and inner sun. As per one classic tradition, since there was no formal coming-of-age ceremony for young girls in India and Pakistan, their weddings were their rites of passage. To celebrate this, and to adorn and beautify them, women started using henna to decorate their bodies. And probably that is how the culture of putting henna on hands and feet during festivities and weddings evolved.
Now that I know the history of Henna tattoos, I not only feel like a part of the tradition initiated by people who inhabited the earth thousands of years ago but also appreciate its beauty even more. For my next tattoo, I’m thinking Cleopatra’s design. What about you?
Henna Artist in Halifax