I really like the idea of having a tattoo but Henna is probably the closest I’ll ever get to having one. Tantalisingly detailed, it is such a free and almost improvisatory art, filled with sweeping swirls and filigree drawn to the artist’s fancy.
We honestly didn’t expect to find henna artists in Melaka (Malaysia) but then two women with booklets of henna designs stopped us in our tracks and for 15 ringgit, we got our hand and wrist done.
Henna, as I now know, is not an ink but a paste that’s derived from a plant. Mixed with lemon, alcohol and olive oil amongst other things, it is squeezed from a piping bag into petals, feathery shapes and dainty dots.
It was such a quick process and after a quick 5min we were done… but then came the most awkward 15 minutes afterwards where we had to wait for the paste to dry. We were hand disabled and contorted them to the point where we carried our hands like Mr. Burns. But as much as I tried, being the clutz I am, I accidentally swished food over my henna… and then a few minutes later Robyn whacked her bag across my hand landing even more smudges. My fingernail is still stained with the dye in a mark that looks like I got chilli oil stuck on it.
Anyway the process is pretty simple. After it dries, you wash off the bumpy excess and there you have it, a semi-permanent ‘tattoo’ that lasts for 2 weeks (except mine began to rub off from the 3rd day). But then you can’t expect much more for $5AUD 🙂