KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 29 — Once only ever seen at weddings or festivals, henna art is having a moment right now with celebrities like singer Ariana Grande, Pretty Little Liars actress Shay Mitchell and model Kendall Jenner showing off their henna tattoos on social media. If you are looking for intricate contemporary designs made with henna, consider The Steady Hands.
The Steady Hands is Noraainaa Rambli, Natasha Rusdy Wong and Fiona Abdul Rahman who met while studying at Limkokwing Borneo in Sarawak. The graphic design students got into henna when Natasha was preparing for the Rainforest Music Festival. She learned how to do henna and then the rest of the girls also started learning on their own. Soon, Noraainaa’s sister Noratirah Rambli also became interested in the art and joined them.
Each of the girls have their own distinctive style. “I’m more into freehand. I used to do tattooing for others too,” said Natasha. Noratirah does more floral designs like the mandala flower which is a symmetrical design. “For me, I come up with my own designs. I will copy a design then start practising. Then I will mix it up. My style is more of realistic drawing with ornaments,” said Noraainaa.
Currently, the girls are located in four different places! Fiona is living in Kuching while Noratirah resides in Kuala Terengganu. Natasha lives in Kuala Lumpur while Noraainaa stays in Petaling Jaya. Noraainaa, Natasha and Noratirah are still studying so they do this part-time. Noraainaa and Natasha are currently doing their Masters in Visual Arts in Universiti Malaya.
Customers get to know about The Steady Hands through word of mouth and Instagram.
“It’s more fun to do it as a group,” said Noraainaa. Usually, the members of The Steady Hands meet their customers at cafes where they decide on the design and price. One session can go from more than two hours up to 12 hours! It all depends on how big and complex the henna design is.
“I charge RM60 to RM80 per hour. For smaller designs that take 30 minutes and below, I charge RM35. Usually if we have a booth at a bazaar, we will charge around RM25,” said Noraainaa.
Although they do not specialise in traditional henna, they have experience doing henna for Malay weddings.
Other than the fact that they do modern designs, The Steady Hands also pride themselves for using natural henna instead of instant henna. Natural henna is healthier for the body and you will not suffer from side effects. The henna art lasts from seven to 10 days depending on how much you sweat or how the ink stays on your skin. Noraainaa buys the ink from a supplier in Langkawi who sources the ink from Pakistan.
“One of the challenging things we face is when we try to do a design we have not done before,” said Noraainaa.
In terms of popularity, Natasha feels that there is more awareness to henna art as an alternative to tattoos rather than just traditional art. “When people find out that it is not done the normal way, they want to find out more because they are interested in tattoos.”
“Some people love tattoos but they cannot have them due to religion or other reasons. That’s why there are henna tattoos so you can have something you like but it is not permanent,” said Noraainaa. What happens when the customer does not like the final result. “I refunded them fully because it is on their body and they did not like it.”
The Steady Hands also do events such as bachelorette parties where you can hire them for a few hours.
To get inked, check out www.instagram.com/thesteadyhands