One thing that works to keep me "fresh"

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Posted by Anne Beltestad on June 28, 2002 at 14:53:35:

In reply to: Originality issues- advice needed posted by Nick on June 27, 2002 at 20:42:04:

Hi Nick,

Sorry to hear you're feeling like that....could it be that it's not
only henna, that henna is bearing the brunt of your frustration -
because it is usually something that you use to relax and de-stress?
(just guessing here based on my own experience)
First of all you've gotta find something to deal with the stress.
Personally I like high levels of physical exertion. It gets out the
aggression, makes you feel good, and overall is just good for you.
Sometimes when nothing else is going well a good bike ride/soccer
game/yoga class fixes your mood, at least for the moment. I wrestle
with pretty serious depression and it's the only thing I can find
which works.
Secondly, address what it is about henna that's getting to you right
now. One thing I like to do to keep myself fresh is, as lots of
people have been suggesting, try different styles. When I was
working with Kree and co. I would look at design books and
say, "Today, at this festival, I'm gonna try Arabic (or Tuareg, or SE
Asian, or Chang With Flames)" and when anyone just let me
do "whatever" it would be a variation on that style. Also my hands
would be covered in that style, until I was sick of it. Right now
it's Ethiopian, but I already have my eye on the Arabic
knotwork/interlacings as the next thing to "conquer."
I know my art still looks like mine; just as you go diagonal across
the hand, I go up the outside of the hand, or something in the palm
and on the fingertips. Kenzi often teases me about "Gilded Lilies
Style." But I am always working on it, trying to break out of the
mold and try something new. I think having your own "style" is
something you can't escape, and something mostly positive as long as
it doesn't start to look formulaic, as I find Navneet patterns (or,
as someone mentioned, Loretta Roome's book) to look.
If you really think your work looks formulaic, boring, and dull (I
don't think it does) then take a break. Try to figure out what else,
what bigger thing, is frustrating you. Get some balance so you are
also doing things which come easy and make you happy.
I hope we have helped you, and that you get over this little bump in
the road of henna!


: Reviewing my henna work, i've come to a realization of something
: which i have wondered about for a long time- my work is largely
: unoriginal and borring. I do run of the mill designs. They're
: nothing very new or different.
: So what i need is some sharp criticizm. This is not a call for
: attention! I need you to see that my work really *is* borring, and
: tell me what i can do about it. If you're just going to tell me
: it's not borring, save your energy, because that's not going to
: me and is not what i need in this case.
: So when does a design become "your own?" I have looked at countless
: designs drawn by others, and re-done them on myself, with slight
: changes... i still don't feel that they're "mine", and they are
: The way i feel, for a design to be your own, it has to have real
: flair to it, something that *you* put there, and obviously so. My
: designs lack that.... help?
: ~Nick, feeling dependant.


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