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Henna beasts and where to find them

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Heather Craven’s Henna Beasts weren’t conceived as a product; they were a way to entertain her son with hidden pictures and tales.

“They have fantastical stories,” she explained. “There’s a theme of personal evolution.”

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The project itself has evolved. At first, it was just a portfolio of pen-and-ink drawings under her bed. Then a few images made their way on to Facebook and Tumblr. She’s even had a couple of little shows, but the Deck the Walls holiday sale marks the first time kitten, hummingbird, foxie, rooster and reindeer have been printed on tote bags and made into a 2020 calendar.

“That was sort of me dipping my toe into the commerce end of it,” she said.

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And it’s not her only connection to Carbondale Arts. Craven was the recipient of a grant which supported the purchase of a dedicated digital workstation to complete her Alphabet storybook project in the same style.

“I had finished the pictures, but not the text,” she explained. “Drawing them is one thing, but then I have to clean them up in the computer.”

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“They’ve really been lovely,” she said of Carbondale Arts.

She’ll still have to find a way to get the book published.

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“I don’t know anything about this next step, but I’d love to have it ready for next season,” she said.

Meanwhile, the menagerie will continue to grow, with a pig in the works and plenty more to come.

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“There’s usually someone on my pad and someone in the cue,” Craven said.

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