I love going to conferences… all the collective creative energy of fellow artists, the new ideas, the new products….
This year I went back to the Henna Intensive & Retreat. It had been a long summer of working every day and dealing with fussy, cranky and greedy customers… I NEEDED a break!
The retreat part is because of the location — 6000 ft about sea level, in a spartan boy scout camp, with no cellphone and spotty wifi in the dining hall. There was a spring-fed pool, which was very cold. And an on-site massage therapist with hands of gold. We all stayed in communal cabins and ate together in a central dining hall. The food was good, plentiful and fairly healthy.
My home away from home at the Lion Camp, Teresita Pines
I shared a cabin with 3 other women. We all had bunkbeds and all chose the lower bunks. Thankfully, our cabin had a bathroom so we didn’t have to trek in the cold and dark at 3am…
Not only were we at elevation, we had climb elevations to get anywhere!
The camp was built on a mountain — and it still is a mountain with steep rises between cabins. Even after 3 days, I still got winded walking up to the dining hall.
Each day we had 3 sessions of classes — some 2 hours and some 1 hour each.
Debi Varvi explains her method of creating frankenflowers.
I took classes on design building, Saharan traditional henna, jagua, facepainting and photography. The teachers were excellent and all the handouts came on a cd, so I can print as I want.
I also taught a class. On glitter tattoos.
Students practice making glitter tattoos
And there was much spontaneous henna practice….
On Saturday there was a talent show. There were lots of bellydancers, one balloon artist and 3 singers. I sang a Hawaiian song with my ukulele. It was a really fun evening.
The jagua class was particularly interesting. Melissa Addams, our instructor, brought in fresh jagua fruit from Brazil. The fruit starts out white when cut, but then the flesh turns blue as it oxidizes. It also stains the skin a deep blue-black, and when mixed with henna produces a mahoghany color.
photo by Jillian Hawkins
We learned a bit about jagua’s cultural context among the Kayapo people, a bit about the plant and where the gel comes from, and then application techniques. I am definitely adding jagua to my line-up of services!
Alas, all good things must come to an end. On Monday, we all packed up and returned to civilization.
But I still have the quiet of the mountains inside, and am brimming with new ideas and new enthusiasm. I can’t wait to get back to work!