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Teacher Spreads the Art of Henna

Dinal Doshi learned the ancient techniques of henna body art from her mother as a teenager, and today she teaches it as a way for family members and friends to reconnect. In fact, many of the classes she teaches at the Easton Community Center and for Fairfield Continuing Education are geared toward parents and children.

"As temporary as henna is, you still have to be brave about giving your hand over to your mother," said the Fairfield resident, "and letting her paint whatever comes to her mind is not an easy thing. But I think it restores that confidence that they had in their relationship and it restores that closeness that they might be able to bring back to the relationship."

Doshi, who came from India as a teenager, combines ingredients like black tea, cloves, tea tree oil and lemon into a non-toxic paste that is applied to the skin in a beautiful artistic pattern. It can last between two and four weeks, depending on the quality of the materials and the individual's body temperature.

She has given her talents to locals for a wide range of purposes, from decorating brides' hands for their weddings and women's pregnant bellies, to helping basketball teams that want to be united with identical patterns. One client shaved his head to donate his hair and asked Doshi to create an elaborate design on his bald scalp. A cancer patient repeatedly visits Doshi to have her draw on henna eyebrows, after losing hers in her treatment. A few have even asked her to draw their business logos on their skin.

Doshi said she has done more henna art at fairs in the past two years than ever before and says it seems to be popular now with celebrities, children and teens.

"It's temporary and I think parents of teenagers love that. It's temporary, it's painless, it's just a perfect way to experiment," says Doshi, whose mother taught her the art when she was 13.

"Tattoos have always symbolized visions, journeys, battles, love, protection, friendship and even a membership in a certain tribe, and I think that's what henna brings back to the table."

For more information about Dinal Doshi's work and to schedule her for parties, lessons, corporate events or festivals, e-mail her or call (203) 335-6154.

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