Parul Srivastavas Henna

Parul Srivastava’s Henna

For some people, drawing or painting is not a medium of art that they never found love for, but they still love art. Parul Srivastava ’19 found her fit with Henna. She started practicing with henna during a trip to India with her dad. She was going to a 50th Anniversary party with her family that was wedding themed with fancy clothing and arms covered with henna.

During the party, Srivastava found herself with nothing to do. She had not been in contact with her relatives previous to the party and did not have someone to stay with during her trip. This is when she found henna. People were doing designs for the party with multiple tubes of henna. “Everyone saw that I was really interested in it, so they were excited to give me a box of 12 cones [of henna]” Srivastava said. After this point, she started practicing. “I couldn’t think of any designs, just squares, and  stuff.” Though her movements were at the beginner level, she did not get discouraged.

After arriving back in the states, Srivastava practiced mainly on herself during the summer. “My mom would have to go to work she wouldn’t let me do it on her hands so I did it on her feet,” she said.

Part of Srivastava’s Extended Learning Program (ELP) project is advancing her abilities with henna. She has practiced on Sue Cline, the ELP teacher. “She’s offering it to people she knows might be interested and setting up appointments,” Cline said. “If she doesn’t have enough people then I’m her default person, which I think is totally awesome.”

One of her goals is to be able to create designs without having to look at an image. “I edit them a little bit to put my own style into it, but the main premise is what I find online,” Srivastava said.

She has discovered that practicing designs on herself is easiest. “With myself, I can always move exactly how I need it to have the most control of the design,” Srivastava said. Many people don’t have experience with the ways a hand needs to be positioned for a clean line, and directing them can be a difficult task.

One way to get experience on other people is working at events. Srivastava did henna for one of her mom’s parties. “They wanted to be immersed in Indian culture and I did the henna.” She had been sought out for other such events as well. One of her dad’s acquaintances asked Srivastava to do her and her friends’ henna at a party.

Srivastava finds henna to be a good way to connect with people and ask them about their lives while working. People are able to relax and watch her create art. “If I have time and the people have time, then everyone really enjoys it,” she said.

Time management is important when it comes to henna. “If you don’t have time then it’s really nerve-racking,” she said. “You don’t want a half done design.” Srivastava has done larger designs that have taken hours to complete.

Srivastava uses henna from local Indian stores that she has tested to make sure are free of dye and cause no skin irritation.



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