Henna artist Kim Brennan says being a tattooist never made much of an impression with her.
For example, being a henna and full body artist professionally for the past 12 years meant she didn’t have to go through many of the challenges that tattooists face. She never needed to keep a sterile environment, use electricity or watch as someone chose a bad tattoo.
She said using henna lets her do art without having the guilt of putting something permanent on someone’s body that she knows they will later regret.
“People assume when you are a really good artists that you want to be a tattooist,” Brennan said. “I can do tattoos but this way I can do art on people of every type, which is the same as tattooing but no one is passing out, crying, whining, screaming or bleeding on me. I don’t have to talk people out of things.”
Henna is temporary body art traditionally found in areas like India, however, the practice has since come overseas. Brennan said the history of henna dates back thousands of years and isn’t considered religious. While the temporary body art has been around for a while, Brennan warned people to watch out for a synthetic version called black henna.
She said the mixture used in black henna can leave scarring and cause allergic reactions and it’s best for everyone to avoid it.
“Black henna is illegal in Canada but every once and a while it is spotted,” she said. “Black henna is not henna it is a chemical. It doesn’t come in colours, there’s nothing magical about it. Being an educated consumer helps because you want to get real henna by a real artist.”
Brennan set up shop at Fort William Historical Park for the annual Celtic Festival weekend. In order to fit in better with the theme of the event, Brennan offered Celtic styled henna and Scottish body paint.
Thousands attended the festival over the weekend and took the opportunity to reconnect to their Celtic roots.
Enzo Rabiano and Kyla Buys stopped to check out the festivities on Sunday. Wearing a Velcro kilt, Rabiano tried a traditional Scottish game of caber tossing where he hurls a large log into the air.
Buys said she has Scottish roots and thought it was nice to come to an event where she could reconnect to her culture.
“It’s good to hear the bagpipe music. I wish my parents were here,” Buys said.
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Fort spokesman Doug Stanton said the North West Company that competed against the Hudson Bay Company during the fur-trading era was primarily Scottish. He said during a Celtic festival it’s important to showcase the Scots as well as other cultures from Europe.
“Our heritage is well rooted in the Scottish traditions,” Stanton said. “It’s not just the Scotts though, this is a Celtic celebration. Things have been going great. We’ve had two great sunny days and people and families have been coming in from all over from Winnipeg, Duluth and down in Minneapolis.”
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