Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.

An Exclusive Peek At Dr. Azra’s Debut Book, ‘The Henna Archive’

just in time for eid

Henna has a long history of gracing the hands and feet of women during weddings, Eid, and other special occasions with curlicues and floral designs that speak to ancient customs. However, Azra Khamissa (more commonly known as Dr. Azra to her 186,000 Instagram followers) has significantly shifted this paradigm, introducing a fresh, contemporary approach that practically single-handedly revolutionized the art of henna in the region and beyond.

Khamissa’s journey in the henna world began with her bold decision to step away from conventional designs. The chiropractor-turned-designer-turned-pioneering-henna-artist instead opted to infuse modern aesthetics into the ancient art form formerly only embraced by our grandmothers and aunties, incorporating elements from contemporary art and fashion trends, subsequently broadening the appeal of henna art beyond just special occasions.  Her minimalist and graphic designs have gone on to capture the attention of the likes of Gucci and Adidas who enlisted her talent for exclusive collaborations, not only reinvigorating the art form, but also making it more relevant and “cool” for the younger generation.

Building on her success and growing popularity, the Dubai-based chiropractor, leather goods designer, and henna artist has recently ventured into the publishing world with her debut book, The Henna Archive. Available online via Amazon as well as at Kinokuniya, the guide is designed to empower enthusiasts and artists alike, featuring 30 exclusive henna designs that are purely Khamissa’s creations. The book serves as a step-by-step manual, complete with vivid photographs and detailed instructions for each design, ensuring that even novices can master the art with ease and confidence— just in time for Eid Al-Adha next month.

Supplied

This isn’t Khamissa’s first entrepreneurial venture. Prior to her book launch, she introduced her own line of organic henna paste and cones, catering to the growing demand for natural and safe beauty products.  Recognizing the need for simpler application methods, she also launched innovative sticker packs and stencils in the pattern of coquette-ish ribbons, feminine hearts, palm trees, and the moon’s phases designed for ease of use, making the intricate beauty of henna accessible to those who may not have a steady hand or the patience for traditional application techniques.

In celebration of the new book, Khamissa shares an exclusive excerpt with MILLE, featuring a unique Charlotte’s Web-inspired spiderweb design and practical tips on how to recreate the intricate pattern at home.

‘Spiderweb’

Supplied

The design is inspired by the classic children’s book Charlotte’s Web. Isn’t the intricacy and beauty of the spider’s web hypnotizing? Make sure to study the image of a spiderweb online a little before doing this design to make it look as realistic as possible.

Instructions:
Using a henna cone with a fine tip, on the palm side of the hand, drape a thin line from the tip of the middle finger to the wrist. Then, find and mark a center point on the line, and from this point drape curved lines to the tips of each finger. Continue adding more curved lines from the center dot around the whole hand to create the spokes of the web, making sure to leave about 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) between each line. Then, starting from the center of the hand, draw small, curved lines between each adjacent pair of spokes encircling the center dot to make the web. Finish by adding thickness to random lines and add some lines in random directions to make the web look realistic.

Share this article

Related stories