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Bodies become canvas
Henna artist turns intimate designs into a business

Daron Letts
Northern News Services
Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Curves, creases, scars and wrinkles are celebrated in the work of henna artist Pascaline Greau.

NNSL photo/graphic

Pascaline Greau launched her body art business, Simplement Henna, earlier this summer. The artist uses all natural ingredients for her henna, which she prepares herself. - Pascaline Greau/Simplement Henna photo

NNSL photo/graphic

Greau created this prenatal henna art earlier this summer. - Pascaline Greau/Simplement Henna photo

Using a blend of crushed organic henna leaves, lemon juice, sugar and essential oils, Greau paints temporary designs on skin, from wrists and arms to faces and bellies.

"Everything is natural and everything is good for the skin," she said.

After painting people at Yellowknife festivals for the past several years, the francophone artist established a business, Simplement Henna, and now takes clients by appointment, as well as through her Facebook site.

Her original catalog features many of her own designs, which are often based on floral or geometric patterns, as well as designs created by her friend and fellow henna artist Nitasha Merchant of Edmonton.

Both women painted arms and bodies during Folk on the Rocks last month. Greau also set up a table at Old Town Ramble and Ride a couple of weeks ago and NWT Pride this past weekend.

During the Iceolation Art Show in Old Town last March, Greau developed designs based around Northern imagery, including moons, Fireweed and the Boreal forest.

Some clients approach Greau to paint their own designs, which they may be mulling over as a potential permanent tattoo.

Greau's henna usually remains on the skin for a couple of weeks or even up to three weeks if it is properly cared for.

Several moms-to-be have honoured their pregnant form with henna art circling the bellybutton.

"When the ladies are around 37 to 38 weeks they are usually pretty big and then we can decorate their belly," said Greau.

Earlier this month, a woman who had recently undergone chemotherapy hired Greau to adorn her scalp with a henna design. Greau described the experience as moving.

"It's a very emotional and very close experience," she said.

Greau's next scheduled public appearance is at the SPCA Carnival on Sunday afternoon in Somba K'e Civic Plaza.

- with files from John McFadden

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