Henna

henna

This image is of a design/pattern using henna. Henna, in general, can be found in a lot of Asian cultures and due to this, the styles vary. Styles such as Indian, Arabic and Pakistani, to name a few. Aside from body art, these designs/patterns adorn clothing, accessories, and decorative home pieces. The design in this image is one I hand drew and is a recreation of a design I came across while browsing google images.

In this image, Henna is applied to my hands, which is hovering over a grayish-blue carpet. Starting at my wrist, there is a thick line where the two different parts of the design branch from. The wrist design is outlined and is filled with a circular motif. The edge of this outline is asymmetrical and mimic movement of a wave. The area opposite of this design is a heavily detailed quarter of a flower. This flower consists of four layers, the first layer being the base of the flower. The next three layer are petals that alternate in quantity and size. The first and third layers of flower petals are tight and narrow, contrasting, the second petal layer are larger petals. From this flower, two spiral designs branch off into opposite directions, leaving enough space at the top for another floral design. Unlike the previous flower, this one is simpler and emphasizes the large petals by the thickness of the outline and is located before my index finger. Decorating the rest of my index finger, is the same curved spiral pattern used before on my hand. My other fingers are designed differently because the design is facing the opposite direction. It is a continuous pattern with a mixture of waved and curved lines and directly below, are dots. These dots start off with a heavier weight and get smaller as they go down.

This design/pattern relates back to the topics discussed in class about typography. Similar to typography, Henna designs/patterns vary in line weights, style, size, placement and the styles differ by region and culture. For example, Indian henna designs are highly complex with their use of flowers, peacocks, and detailed heavy motifs. There is also little to no spacing in between the patterns which gives their henna a “fuller” look. In contrast, Arabic designs are simpler and mainly use leaves, flowers, paisley, and vines. The use of thicker lines to create an outline brings more emphasis on the shape itself. Pakistani design is a mixture of the previous two styles because it combines the detailed heavy nature of Indian design, the emphasis of outlines and use of flowers and paisley patterns of the Arabic design.

Comparable to other art mediums, design students can interpret the meaning of henna design because each specific design has its own meaning. Peacocks symbolize beauty, Paisley designs represent fertility and luck. Flowers and petals are associated with happiness and joy and because of this reason, are most prominent in henna done for celebrations. Vines and leaves are perfect for weddings because it symbolizes longevity and devotion. Henna designs/patterns were originally applied on the hands and feet but over the years, people started using henna anywhere on their body and the designs themselves has become more simple and less meaningful. The henna trend still continues today and the designs are becoming more versatile, and modern.

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