I first noticed Elizabeth Prince for the professional and sensitive quality of her henna work. Later I discovered she had started a group Facebook page for henna artists and I really appreciated her commitment to henna art.
So, here she is, featured in my burgeoning blog, in which I hope to feature other local artists in the future.
I have always done creative things as long as I can remember. Drawing, painting, clay, needlework, carving, printing, just whatever I could find to do. I enjoyed creating, but I would get bored with each new thing so quickly.
Henna was initially just another thing to try, and I quickly found that it came naturally and I had an affection for it that didn’t wane like all the other arts I had tried. I think part of that is that it is not such a solitary pursuit and that to do it, I had to be in another person’s space, touching them. That doesn’t happen nearly enough in our culture and it seemed to fill that last little piece of the puzzle that made all the other things I had tried fun, but not fulfilling.
My first memories of henna are as a child. My mother worked with an Indian fellow and our families were friends of a sort. I remember his wife as the most amazingly graceful and exotic person I had ever met and so traditional in her dress and habits. She had henna for some of their special occasions and celebrations and it must have stewed away in the back of my mind for years before I recalled it in my search for that ‘something more’ art form some 25 years later.
I started my journey in a lonely fashion, just me, the library, and the internet. With no courses or teachers within reach, no money to travel and children to support, I had to teach myself.
It was part of that lonely start that lead me to create the Australian Henna Artists facebook group when that platform became available. I wanted to connect with other artists and build a community of support and camaraderie that I saw overseas. I firmly believe that the success of henna as an industry in Australia is directly dependent on the support and encouragement of the artists between themselves, and them being informed on safe, effective, and professional practices. I don’t have all the answers. I have experience and I can contribute, but it is as a community that we will grow and develop and raise the profile of henna in Australia as a whole to our mutual benefit and the cultural diversity and richness of our country.
I love that henna is a process. I love that it has deep, deep historical and cultural roots, that can be so relevant today. I love that it is transitory, to be enjoyed right here and now, and then fades away. I love that there is no fast-food or quick-fix mentality with henna. It just is as it is. You must be quite and still while you are decorated. There is no other thing you can be doing while someone holds your hand and draws.
Australian Henna Artists is a closed group page which you can apply to be part of.