Nouveau Mud with Esther

The henna wisdom showcased here is from Esther, who I met at the 2001 PantheaCon in San Francisco. She took the pictures of me from the eve of the Masquerade Ball in my Sutro corset. Comments were gleaned from a series of emails we had about henna from March and April of this year.

"Henna is endothermic, so be ready to crank the heat up to 90 or 100. I'm not kidding. You can have the best mud in the world but if you and the air are cold it won't show up as more than a pale orange.

Strangly enough I've gotten my best applicators from emptying puff paint bottles. If the bottles are tiny with metal tips they are probably perfect. I've had a hard time convincing friends they don't need huge bottles, a little mud smears a long way and we can always refill. About large enough to put one of those white topped long sewing pins in seems to be the best size (anda nifty way to clear miniscule clogs). Although I have gotten much better detail, start dreaming your ideas in sharpie thick lines.

Although I can and have made mud with just henna and water I prefer to use all sorts of things. A small list of potentials is lemon juice and rind, lime juice and rind, celestial seasoning's bengal spice tea, paprika, clove tea, cinnamon tea, black pepper, 'real' tea both black and otherwise, coffee and essential oils (eucalyptus, clove, lavender, rose, cinnamon leaf, rosemary, mustard seed, etc. etc. etc.). The 'sealing glaze' should be lemon and sugar although I have used flat coke with success on someone with a horrible citrus allergy.

I went to raid my oil collection and discovered I must have left them in the hotel room at Pantheacon. Do you happen to have eucaluptus (less prefered), clove, mustard or cinnamon leaf oils? "

For the record... The henna powder was purchased at Bazaar of India on University in Berkley and sifted. It was mixed with pure lemon juice the night before and left at room temperature to cure. A very strong dilution tincture of black orange pekoe tea and whole cloves was made at the same time and left in the fridge overnight to steep. This mud was diluted on site with the tincture and about a tablespoon of eucalyptus oil. The skin was not prepared in any fashion. A 4/1 lemon juice and sugar glaze was haphazardly applied whenever we happened to remember in the midst of doodling.

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