Henna Body Art
Henna is a plant that produces a natural dye compound in its leaves. Dried, crushed, and made into a paste, the dye molecules are activated by the addition of something acidic, like black tea or lemon juice. Henna then becomes a natural dye that is only effective on organic surfaces like skin, hair, nails, cotton, etc.
It is used in this way to apply temporary designs to skin, known in India as mehndi. Traditionally it has been used to celebrate festive occasions from births to weddings, and contemporary forms continue to evolve and spread around the world. I first learned as an exchange student in India at the age of 16, drawing on my classmates there just as I had done formerly in the United States. Funny, how some things transcend all boundaries.
Presently, I do mehndi during the warm months of the year at the local farmers market and a range of seasonal festivals and events.