Henna Huddle 2017 Reviewby: Jade Johnson – Artist for Kelly Caroline Henna Art
Two-day Henna Huddle 2017 workshop included 4 classes and one evening talk. Nic Tharpa Cartier is not a rookie to the henna scene. He has been in the industry for 20 years, and has taught classes and workshops
worldwide, and currently works as a tattoo artist. There were 12 women + Nic. Very small and
intimate, there was a pot luck lunch and plenty of henna to go around! The women were super
supportive and authentic. What I found most welcoming was that there where artist of all
different stories. I learned about hennas deep roots. Mauritius is an island located on the
southeast coast; their henna style constructed with basic shapes, yet very extravagant. We also
looked at henna styles in the following counties of Mali, Niger, Senegal and Egypt. I can’t wait
to explore future workshops and classes!
Traditional Henna Techniques: Hand extruded & Tape Resist.
Tape Resist is an old style, utilizing straight lines, squares and geometric shapes. This style is
created with a material called leokoplast. The Artist manipulates the material using a razor blade
millimeter’s above the client’s skin. This technique will give you very sharp, extremely fine and
fiercely intricate motifs. Once the leokoplast is placed the artist will then smear henna over the
design & then remove the strips of leokoplast. This is complex because it allows the artist to
have fun with positive and negative spaces.
Translate Resist Designs
When recreating a design, it’s easiest to work in layers and follow the
contour of the motifs. Double lines will give your piece volumes of elegance.
Modern western henna especially in the urban areas artist create very full, or scattered designs.
As a henna artist it’s extremely important to create the design as it appears oppose to creating
what your brain tells you what to see. Although; modern henna is folk art, meaning there no
convention to commit too.
“Tattoo it until it looks like a thing.” – Nic
Many artists beat themselves up over perfection; however, the level of perfection has minimal importance. In the
western world henna artist take their time.
Design Issues That Appear
Body part switch: When confronted with a client that would like a palm design on their upper
arm. The artist needs to evaluate the new placement area, and think “what is the overall shape? I
want the design to be.” Once the artist has a placement they can then pull motifs from the palm
design to complement the upper arm design.
Working with clients can be challenging. Particularly when the artist is presented with an
extravagant tattoo the client found on Pinterest. With all the hope in the world the artist can
duplicate. I learned a simple, friendly response to such a request, and that is “I can use this as an
inspiration.” I feel inspired saying it!
Henna tattoos need to flow, and an easy way to keep the flow is create dark and white spaces
equal. Sometimes this can be tricky because a simple design is a simple design. Over
manipulation will give you a tattoo that isn’t flattering.
Clients will tell you they like unicorns, eyeballs, clouds, lizards etc. and would like to
incorporate it all into one design. It’s OK to ask them to condense! As an artist pull part elements
to tastefully combine into a tattoo.
Dumb to Pretty
Being a henna artist, you are going to get tattoo request that seem to come out the wood work.
Request like pawprints, hearts, butterflies etc. How do you make those shapes pretty, and
incorporate a mehndi style? The answer is simple. Start with enlarging the basic outline of the
pawprint, and then work the design into it. Moroccan is the easiest style to fill an outline with,
for it looks beautiful and extravagant.