This year's A&S project dealt with growing my own henna plant (VERY special thanks to Sir Donas/Tommy Roberts who is really growing the plant as he has better space for it in his house) and creating paste from its leaves. I dried and ground the leaves, used ingredients (water and lemon juice) found in historical henna recipe references, and compared the stain from this paste to paste made from commercially produced henna powder.
Last year my goal was to qualify to go to Kingdom A&S (receive an 1st or 2nd at Regional... I received a 2nd at Regional and went on to receive a 1st at Kingdom). This year's goal was to do a little better, upping my scores in the creativity category as well as qualify for Kingdom and placing well. I received a 1st place at both Regional and Kingdom level A&S.
As great as it is to place well and receive high scores for my project, the most exciting part for me is getting to share my art and my knowledge, as well as learn something new in the process. This year at Regional I learned the I was using the wrong type of mortar and pestle to achieve as fine a grind as i was looking for. I was told I needed an unglazed porcelain mortar. I then ordered one on-line in order to update my documentation before Kingdom A&S. Unfortunately it was back-ordered and did not arrive in time. However, while walking past the merchants on the way to the judges and entrants meeting at the event I found just type of mortar I needed (Much thanks to Duchess Rebekah!). I just happened to have some extra ground henna leaves and reground them in the porcelain mortar. I was so excited to find how easily the leaves ground to a very fine, lush green powder!
Here is the link to the project documentation. Plant to Paste