Sunday, June 7, 2015

Mendhi Hand Casts

Henna has been used for hundreds of years and is a natural plant dye. When applied to the skin, the henna produces a temporary stain. Mehndi is the Hindi word used to describe the art of henna. Traditionally henna is applied on the hands and feet and is used for weddings and religious occasions such as Eid, Diwali and for the blessing on the birth of a child or to bring good fortune into one’s home. Today henna is also used to temporarily decorate your body, as a form of self expression and body art. There are many symbols used in Henna meant to bless the one adorned with the artwork.

Naturally, I wasn't going to assign your children to tattoo each other up, but this seemed like a new opportunity to create a cast sculpture while learning a little bit more about other cultures!

Before doing anything we learned how to draw various henna symbols and designs. The students were tasked to sketch and ink various symbols that best represented them such as the following:
Peacocks ~ beauty
Swans ~ success
Birds ~ messengers (between heaven and earth)
Dragonflies ~ rebirth
Fishes ~ a womans eyes
Flowers ~ joy and happiness
Vines and leaves ~ longevity, devotion, perseverance, entwined lives and vitality
Tortoise ~ Protection and fertility
Lotus Blossom ~ the light within / the awakening of the human soul. Grace, beauty, creativity, sensuality, femininity, and purity.
Sun, Moon,and Stars ~ deep and lasting love between lovers/partners
Paiselys ~ represent fertility and good luck
  Next we used plaster strips to create a plaster cast of our hands. Casts are the initial step in making molds, and it a pretty fun process!

After making two half casts, students attached them together to create a complete mold. Then, after sketching their designs onto their hand cast, students painted their "henna" on. I mean, come on-how cool are these?!

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