I am absolutely in love with your work
and would be ecstatic if you could do my bridal henna!
My wedding is on
2016 in CT/RI.
Hand drawn by Sarah Hussain of BREATH OF HENNA. Now seen in ink on Bridal Henna Diaries. 2016
It was a blessed summer's afternoon in Toronto during Hania's consultation. Streams of sunlight were highlighting both of our faces while she was sitting in a cafe in Connecticut. While talking to her, all I could focus on was her smile, saturated in summer's eternal bliss. Was she ever so delighted to talk to me about her henna affairs. The smile channeled its way into discussing her appeals into the detailing of Bridal henna and that she adored intricacy. Why would she not? She had two beautifully crafted ELAN gowns for her wedding and reception day where labyrinths of embellishments and threads would talk history. ELAN ELAN ELAN. I was interrupted by a thought where all I could think of was, this was it! An explosion of cultural dialect and Pakistan's exquisite realm of art and design. Memories of my mother's valima (reception) gown flew into place as a flock of doves to a seeded temple. My mind started to tick and tock and then suddenly an assembly line formed into a very tight; inflexible area and I said YES! Within hours before I boarded my flight to LGA airport, Hania had received her Bridal rendering and was ecstatic. I am more than overjoyed with her Bridal Henna Diary as it's my most treasured artwork within Bridal Henna.
Dearest Athena, you have instilled beauty, memories of our childhood into these opulent wedding photographs for dearest Hania and Zahan. Traditions are evoked from the veiling of floral bangles and ornaments adorning her Mehndi (day 2) stain.
While creating art, our bodies sculpt and bend into unknown entities. When I work on a bride, I lose thorough sense of my surroundings. It is a state of complete bliss. The distance is only inches away from the form it begins to take. The being I adorn transforms from Bride to be to the BRIDE. I can hear her speak and we share a conversation which whirls alongside harmony. The florals here take the shape of wings and encompass air. The vines are paths we paved together, leaf by leaf; bulb by bulb to write her story (her world). This is not my first time adorning a Bride, each one is different; Hania's Bridal Diary began with the same root of every other Bride; earth, Mehndi. Why was this different? The elation seen in these photographs is illusory. Her aunt had brought in a delicious meal for the two of us but we were both unconscious as the BRIDE OF THE ERA fabricated herself in front of our eyes. It began to rain; the moment when a Bride is bathed as she is to be of her purest state at marriage. We sat in her backyard and moments passed as we were safely guarded inside by the swarm of bees surrounding our drinks of conversation. We went inside to get the work done as her friends were coming. Her best was definitely her sister.
Our moments are not to be accepted by others but they for us to accept. The waves will continue to rise and the sores will hereafter, wash away. Hania is a Bride of the Era because she was simple with fine taste. Gorgeous is an understatement. If a woman of culture approaches you in couture and her smile draws light towards your heart, consider yourself the luckiest. You have been touched by a spirited soul. If she is your Bride and keeps you smiling, reflect on your breath and say Mashallah.
A BREATH OF HENNA TESTIMONIAL -
A WOMAN OF TWO WORLDS
Walking along Dundas till she takes a minute to whirl in her new Louboutins, Shivani Sharda caught my eye. The modern day scene from chunri ke neechay kya hai except here I was appreciating her journey in India through a technological advantage. She replied to my direct letter on instagram and I jumped a little like SRK and decided to set a date for tea. She is a woman of colour; a hustler with lustrous locks and a smile that keeps you thinking, God I wish I had her. In Sukhwant's arms, she's a jewel and forever more his BABE OF A BRIDE. In the background all you here is, 'You only live once ‒ that’s the motto nigga YOLO
And we 'bout it every day, every day, every day' - DRAKE.
When I was young, I would watch bollywood, mesmerized in the adornment where women as Brides was the epitome of happiness and all I wanted to do was dress up, get married and do it all over again. Well, it doesn't work that way, that's what we're told. It works once and when you find him, it's like that Yash Raj film where you have the movie on repeat. I'm referring to that dil wale moment. Guess what, you can dress up over and over again especially when you're in love - self or with someone else. I enjoy the combination. Culture is our chai latte from Balzacs, for Shivani Sharda whip up a latte any day. This Bridal testimonial isn't to compare her to the sweetness of chai but it will have your heart set on the warmth that illuminates from the birth of cardamom in boiling water and sugar cane crystals. The rich colours from her beautiful photographs, captured by MANGO STUDIOS in Toronto at the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre are heart clenching.
The mood was set when we started to adorn her at 8 am this past spring. The mehndi songs from the 60s to 80s created a harmony moving through the inside of my henna cone. Every detail was lovely; from the D.I.Y tent setup in her backyard to the crisp air we had that morning. The dewy grass had a scent of freshness that instilled memories from our childhood of dancing in the rain. She giggled a little and I couldn't control myself and smiled. When you work hard, do your business and keep to your goals, every response is one from a consult from a corporate perspective. Here, she was free. Every woman deserves to feel alleviated during their Mehndi. Her laugh created a fruitful ambiance of her family members, loving aunts where she shared her rising moment.
During the session, her guests started to arrive and when her cousins; a great group of festive men, circled her as she was the trophy win, the mehndi dances had officially begun. The marigold fire had begun with family disembarking through the doors of a blessed home; the symphony of flutes, a sitar and a set of tablas set the array of dancing folk and celebration. This was the mood and it was perfect.
Shivani allowed me to create something that was traditional and modern. She loves mandalas, couture and Toronto, which made her design even more unique to render. During her consultation we discussed how animated her Bridal Henna Diary (including patterns from her invites - above) should allow the floral elements to dance throughout her arms and feet. The design was complete and it breathed into her skin as she transitioned from bride to be to a bride.
Her energy uplifted when her husband Sukhwant walked into the garden of bliss to see his Bride adorned in her Bridal Henna. Every minute holds a moment to worry but every journey holds an awakening to glow within. Shivani's tears and laughter brought out her true values to the traditions that are instilled in all of us even if she is born here. Many of us do not understand the weight on our shoulders as women of culture. No matter our geographic location, we need to continue to instil our values into the crops we plant and water them with the abundance of rituals of stories. Community is a form of gratitude. A part of mine are fashion savvy, culturally-adhered, creative women who all have wings while working in an industrial driven routine. It's important to balance out life and not just be a part of the book but write your own.
We still talk about how beautiful the experience was and that her moment was completely hers and blessings were countless. Congratulations to you both, Shivani and Sukhwant.