Nicki’s Journey to Henna
Writing, drawing, painting, sculpting my way through adolescence it was natural on leaving school to go and get myself a degree in Fine Arts from the Queensland College of Art at Griffith University. Having immersed myself in abstract, theory driven ‘contemporary art,’at university I lost my heart connection with art.
A burning interest in the mystical and the hidden meaning of nature I set out to travel, to find that ineffable ‘something’ that gives life meaning. Being born “out west” I set off on a pilgrimage to the Red Centre where I felt the stirrings of meaningful art in the energy/spirit paintings of the aboriginal people.
Then the call of the east compelled me to visit South East Asia, Nepal and then India. I wondered like a ghost in ancient temples where art reverberated with the human call to the divine. It wasn’t until I returned home to the dreamy humidity of Cairns that I stumbled upon the art form that would really lead me back to a satisfying mode of expression, henna.
There was very little information about henna around when I first began and it took two years to perfect the recipe which is really the base of henna. The artistry came much more easily but it took about 5 years to develop my speed and the perfecting of each regional style is a life long pursuit. Now I am interested in developing my own style while continuing to learn the deep meaning of traditional symbols and ritual uses of henna across the world.
Recently a new e-magazine, focusing on inspirational stories & good news was started up by a beautiful and inspired woman called Kylie. The magazine is called ‘Upbeat Downstream ‘ . Each month it profiles a business person who seeks to uplift others through their work, I was happy to be their first interview for their ‘Beautiful Business’ section.
Each issue, we share the work of people who bring their beauty into the world through business. Please meet Nicki of Divine Henna Design.
Tell us about yourself. What are your passions? What gets you inspired?
I am an artist on the Sunshine Coast making a living out of what I love.. art and beauty. hosting information lookup I have a burning drive to bring more beauty, more appreciation more joy into the world and for me the best way to do this is through visual arts, specifically henna but also any other medium that comes into my path.
There is a vision always in the back of my mind of our world slowed down to a pace where we can take the time to wonder at the small beauties that fill our existence.
It is my wish that anything I do in my personal life or my business should help me and everyone around me come back to these small moments full of magic and appreciation.
“Working as a henna artist unites my world of creativity and fantasy with the practicality required to function in this world.”
Nicki, Divine Henna Design
What is your business? How did you come into it?
My business, Divine Henna Design, is based around henna body art and has grown to include my drawing and design work as well as henna products.“Working as a nna artist unites my world of creativity and fantasy with the practicality required to function in this world.” Nicki, Divine Henna Design
I have been passionate about art since my teens, but I lost my heart connection with it while studying art at university, with its emphasis on abstract, theory driven, ‘contemporary’ art.
A bit disillusioned but still with a burning interest in the hidden meaning of nature and all things mystical I set out to travel, to find that ineffable ‘something’ that gives life meaning.
Being born “out west” I set off on a pilgrimage to the Red Centre where I felt the stirrings of meaningful art in the energy/spirit paintings of the aboriginal people.
Then the call of the east compelled me to visit South East Asia, Nepal and India where I wandered in ancient temples admiring art which reverberated with the human call to the divine.
Eventually I returned home to the dreamy humidity of Cairns where I stumbled upon the art form that would lead me back to a satisfying mode of expression and unite the art forms which I had learnt to value in my travels, henna.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your work?
What is rewarding about being a henna artist is simply connection.
Connection between my dreamy, visionary mind and with my need to be of service, to give life and beauty and colour to this world.
Most of all connection with another human being in a unique, creative and often healing exchange.
In what ways do you feel that you are bringing something special to the world through your work?
Henna is a very ancient art form and what we know about it is quite limited. The plant itself is considered sacred in many cultures and it has scientifically identifiable healing properties.
When I first started using henna as body art I was very ignorant of all this but henna has worked a kind of magic on me and it works a secret magic on recipients.
Just watching a woman receiving henna you will notice responses of relaxation, appreciation and simple joy.
Working closely another human, actually painting directly on their body with a humble little herb that has been around at least since ancient Egypt, is wondrous moment of simple beauty.
Henna how I love thee let me count the ways,
I love the colour,
I love the smell,
I love the muddy paste,
I love the coolness it imparts to my skin,
I love it in my hair,
I love it on men,
I love it on women,
I love it on my hands.
Ganesha, the elephant headed god from the Hindu religion appears occasionally in bridal henna and is known to have a connection with the use of henna in body art.
Ganesha is also favoured by Jains and Buddhists and is so popular he is creeping into Western pop culture too. He is patron of arts ( hence the connection with henna ?) and sciences and is known as a remover of obstacles. Ganesha is appealed to for help in material, worldly life as well as spiritual life.
The Ganesha head was featured in this mural done for a friend. It was a nice co-incidence that he was placed near her front entrance because in more esoteric texts Ganesha is regarded as protector of entrances (particularly the orifices, or doors of the body). Also he is invoked at the beginning of rituals in his function as the god of beginnings.
I wish dearly that this deity brings happiness and prosperity to my friend and her household.