2014-09-25 Henna: History, Culture and Rituals

The ancient and sacred art of body adornment using henna will be explored in this month’s program of the One World Library Project in Bristol. Henna artist Bridgette Bartlett, well known in the area due to her roots in Lincoln, will present Henna: History, Culture and Rituals on Thursday, September 25th from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. at the Lawrence Memorial Library in Bristol.

In this free program, Bartlett will explore the early history and origin of henna,how it has traveled geographically, 

hennarituals and regional designs. She will also discuss the evolution of henna body art from staining hair and skin to today’s highly intricate designs in body art. She will look at application methods and how a good henna paste is made and will also do a few demonstrations, allowing time for people to try creating their own designs and ask questions.

Henna has been used as a cosmetic from as far back as ancient Egypt and is considered a sacred form of adornment and beauty across many cultures and religions.  The dye comes from a small shrub that thrives in hot, arid climates and is renowned for its red staining properties. Although henna has been applied to hair and skin for thousands of years, henna body art is a fairly new phenomenon, made possible because of fine applicators that allow artists to create intricate designs. Bartlett says “though the use of henna is ancient, the fine art form of it is really just beginning.”


Bartlett, who is based in Lincoln, Vermont, first picked up henna in 2011 and was immediately drawn to its ancient history and smooth texture. In the years since, she has made several trips to India to pursue her passion for pattern and adornment.  She has studied the history and art of henna extensively and taught workshops to other henna professionals at the Henna Intensive and Retreat in California.

The One World Library Project is a local community non-profit that “Brings the World to our Community” through a collection of adult and children's books and films about world cultures at the Lawrence Memorial Library in Bristol.  One World Library Project also presents regular programs at the Bristol library on the fascinating cultures that fill our planet. More information can be found at oneworldlibraryproject.org and on the One World Library Project’s  Facebook page.  

One World Library Project books and films are available for community members to check out at the Lawrence Memorial Library in Bristol. The Lawrence Memorial Library, which hosts the adult and the kids' kiosks of the One World Library, is located at 40 North Street in Bristol.  The library’s online catalog has a full listing of OWLP items that can be found at www.lawrencelibrary.net.

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