Melanie has been practicing henna for 17 years. | Photo via Blue Lotus Henna
Much like the intricate designs she creates, henna artist Melanie Ooi captures your attention right away. Most evident are her decorated hands and Kiwi accent (she originally hails from New Zealand), but upon spending more time in her home parlor, the stories of her life and her knowledge of the art form will leave you in wonder.
At Blue Lotus Henna, music and aromatherapy melt the stress away — providing a sanctuary for diverse clientele, from excited brides and expectant mothers to cancer patients. We spent an afternoon with Melanie to learn more about henna and the upcoming screening of her award-winning documentary, “World of Henna,” at Clinton Street Theater on Sunday, Jan. 22.
What exactly is henna?
Henna is the term for many things: the plant itself, the dye (lawsone) from the plant, and the designs drawn with the paste made from the plant material.
How is it made?
Henna paste is made by drying and grinding the leaves into a fine powder. It is then mixed with water or lemon juice, certain essential oils and sugar, allowed to sit for several hours to activate the dye, and then transferred to an applicator cone.
How does it work?
The application method involves drawing designs on the surface of the skin with the henna paste. The dye soaks into the epidermal layer of the skin as the paste sits on the surface. The longer the paste sits, the better the stain (6-12 hours is ideal). After scraping off the paste and oiling the skin with olive or coconut oil, the dye will oxidize over 72 hours, darkening from light orange into a deep chestnut brown to burgundy shade. The stain will last one-to-three weeks, slowly washing or sloughing off with the skin cells.
How does henna vary from culture to culture?
Henna is used for the same basic purposes in all its cultures: for blessing, protection (from the evil eye), for celebration, beautification, soothing, and cleansing. What you will notice is the difference in design styles and subtle differences in times of application and on exact placement. The nuances are many and can be learned about in my documentaries.
Intro to Carpentry: Cutting Boards | Wednesday, Jan. 18 | 2-5 p.m. | ReBuilding Center, 3625 N. Mississippi Ave., Portland | $21-$61 | Make a charcuterie board you can be proud of with hands-on instruction at every step, from sawing to clamping to sanding.
Ecliptic + Fort George Black Cold IPA Release Party | Wednesday, Jan. 18 | 5-8 p.m. | Ecliptic Brewing Moon Room, 930 SE Oak St., Portland | Price of purchase | Meet the brewmasters and have all your burning beer questions answered before embarking on a bar crawl.
“Cabaret” | Friday, Jan. 20-Sunday, Feb. 12 | Times vary | Winningstad Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway, Portland | $30-$50 | This performance explores the tumultuous life of Berlin’s natives and expatriates during the twilight of the Jazz Age.
Saturday, Jan. 21
POWER UP: They Come From Fire | Saturday, Jan. 21 | 1:30-4:30 p.m. | Portland Art Museum, 1219 SW Park Ave., Portland | Celebrate LGBTQ2SIA+ youth and allies at this artistic gathering for people in middle school through college.
Art Battle | Saturday, Jan. 21 | 6-10 p.m. | Jaja PDX, 819 SE Taylor St., Portland | $17-$20 | Come watch the paint fly before your eyes and vote to determine a winner; all artwork will be available for auction during this night of community and creation.
We have a calendar filled with events and activities you can plan for in advance. Click the button below to bookmark ideas for upcoming date nights, family outings, and time with friends.
This Saturday, Jan. 21, Portland has its sights set on sake. From 2 to 5 p.m. at the Olympic Mills Building, Sunflower Sake’s first Fuyu Fest will feature demonstrations, speakers, food, activities, and 50 different sakes available to taste and purchase. Tickets are $55 — for $75, you’ll receive a ceremonial sake cup. 🍶 (Eater Portland)
BAES Fried Chicken, established by Portland native and NFL defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, will open its fourth location today at 3003 NE Alberta St. It will be the chain’s first foray into sit-down dining; the three existing restaurants (downtown, Westmoreland, and the Moda Center) employed the takeout and delivery model. 🍗 (Portland Business Journal)
You asked for mo’ Po’ Shines Cafe De La Soul, and the historic restaurant delivered. Its newest location Po’Tago (501 NE Alberta St.) offers sandwiches and “soulful sides,” such as macaroni and cheese, red beans, and peach cobbler. Check out its annual Chitlin Festival on Friday, Feb. 3 and Saturday, Feb 4. (KOIN)
McDaniel High School’s Maurice Cowley and his social studies class are piloting an Advanced Placement African American Studies course, which aims to provide a more nuanced perspective on Black history in the US. It’s the only participating school in Oregon, and one of 60 across the nation, to test the curriculum. 📚 (The Oregonian/Oregon Live)
Shamrock Run Portland and Kells Irish Pub & Brewery are partnering up to make this year’s St. Patrick’s Day festivities a two-weekend occasion. Tom McCall Waterfront Park will host the first half of the 2023 Irish Festival (Friday, March 10-Sunday, March 12) and feature boxing, Irish dancing, and the race’s finish line. ☘️
Wood you believe it? A beloved Sellwood chestnut tree that fell over in a recent storm is being given new life thanks to support from community members. Crews used a crane and chainsaws to cut up the 15,000-pound trunk, which Rescued Oregon Timber will craft into furniture and displays for the neighborhood’s parks. 🌳 (KOIN)
You have just over a month to make it to Malka. The Southeast Portland restaurant, which wowed guests with complex dishes like curry bolognese and matzo ball khao soi, will shutter on Sunday, Feb. 26. Owners felt the financial, emotional, and physical demands of the business were not sustainable. (Eater Portland)
We’re hiring a Sales Executive to lead our advertising relationships across all 25 of our cities nationwide. This exec would have the opportunity to sell into all 6AM City markets, pitching the most relevant and modern media offering in town while earning a competitive salary with unlimited PTO.Learn more + apply.
If you’re into (or even sort of into) sports: The GIST is a must-subscribe newsletter that provides a refreshing female voice and perspective on sports four times a week. Read: If ‘do the thing and score the points’ is your baseline understanding, you might enjoy this to uplevel your knowledge. ⚽ *
Scott’s Cheap Flights is going, going... Going. The travel membership that saves you hundreds on flights has a new name, and in honor of the rebrand, you can get 30% off aPremium membership with code 6AMCITY30. What you’ll get: last minute weekend trips, mistake fares, andearly deal alerts.✈️ *
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Founders Remington Lee and Tara Lynch both draw on extensive culinary experience, paring it down to provide a one-of-a-kind experience where you can expect the unexpected. That’s the name of the game, or should we say the deal of the meal.
When you book a seat at the table for one of the quarterly, seasonal events, you receive the date of the dinner and a few small details so you’re not completely in the dark. That’s it. The menu and other juicy information are kept hush-hush (but you can expect six courses and wine pairings). Don’t tell anyone we told you.
Today’s issue was written by Ben.
Editor’s pick: Paws whatever you’re doing and give this a sniff. From Thursday Jan. 19 to Sunday, Jan. 22, the Portland Expo Center will host theRose City Classic Dog Show — the largest of its kind in the Pacific Northwest. More than 2,500 dogs will compete in judging and sports like agility and obedience. There will also be local art, vendors, and 60 meet-the-breed booths for a weekend of family fun.
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