Front Porch Creations

The Green Gecko - Travel and Product Blog - Front Porch Creations

One of the artists whose work I feature called me "You know how I said I'd stop by this week? I just got an order for painted glasses.  How about I paint them in the shop?"  Wow, great idea!  My first 'Artist-in-Residence' at The Green Gecko.  Sounds exciting!

Lesley McDougall is the creator of Mehndi Glass: "a unique collection of hand painted glassware, jewelry and glass art inspired by the ancient art of Mehndi".

When Lesley first introduced me to her Mehndi inspired glass art I felt an instant connection.  Mehndi is common in India; where I have spent time traveling as well as buying for the shop.  India is a very special place.  You can be amazed, shocked, mystified and inspired all within the same minute. A place where the markets are filled with the 
aroma of spicy curries and fragrant incense; cows have the right of way on busy city streets; the scenery is punctuated with the bright colours of  women's saris and sadhu's orange robes; and the term 'line-up' has absolutely no meaning.

Traditional Mehndi uses henna to colour the skin; like a tattoo but not permanent.  Originally henna was mostly used as a form of decoration for brides but you will also see it applied during special occasions and Hindu festivals. The design is usually drawn on the palms and feet.

On the streets in India I have seen many young women with their hands laid out having their palms henna painted.  The designs are drawn 'free-hand' without a pattern to trace or follow.  There are many traditional symbols and motifs which are intricately drawn and linked together to form a fluid design.  Incredibly smooth strokes are used.  I could never accomplish this!  The symbols and designs have different meanings; for example flowers symbolize joy and happiness, the sun symbolizes deep and lasting love. In India, it is believed that the darker the henna colour forms on the bride's skin the more the husband loves her.

Lesley and I agreed on a date and time and she arrived supplies in hand.  The weather was beautiful  (27C in March!) so she set up her 'mobile studio' on the front porch and started creating. 

I watched as Lesley painted her designs on champagne glasses, using the same fluid strokes I've seen the women in India use on a bride-to-be's palm.

Lesley painting her original design on the glasses.

A few customers popped by to watch and chat.

This is what Lesley created while sitting on my porch. 

Seeing the glasses go from clear crystal to works of art all on my front porch was pretty cool. 

I wonder what other artwork can be created in this simple setting?  Feeling like the store and my customers were a part of the process was neat. I think I should try it again.  Any other local artists that would like to create on my porch?

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