Shirley Donahue: Art of Mehndi

Front Porch Magazine
May 2012 (pg. 8)

First comes the basket thrust through the door bursting with sketch books and shining cones of henna, followed quickly by a beaming woman in a flow of lavender. After a quick greeting, Shirley Donahue pulls up a pillow and directs my foot to the ottoman in front of us. As we chat, I watch the artfully looping swirls covering her palms while she lightly outlines cherry blossoms on my skin with eyeliner pencil.

Donahue has been practicing Mehndi, the Indian art of henna application, for close to fourteen years. At that time, she and some friends picked up a few do-it-yourself henna kits on a whim. As she describes it, “I absolutely fell in love, and I’ve been practicing off and on ever since. Now, I want to share it with other people, because they are always so excited to hear about it. When I’m out with henna on my hands, many people stop and say, ‘Hey, you should do this as a business!’ So I’ve finally responded, ‘Yeah, Universe, I’m listening.’”