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Artists at school


Isabelle Massey

Craft and design


Isabelle Massey

Qualified as a graphic designer, Isabelle Massey is an artist who has a passion for different forms of traditional arts. For ten years, she visited fifty high schools across the province of Quebec. It gives her great pleasure to share the magic of henna. In addition, Ms. Massey has conceptualized and produced multidisciplinary shows and projects. She has received grants from the Conseil des Arts et des Lettres du Québec and the Office franco-québécois pour la Jeunesse.

Proposed approach and type of activities

Henna: an oriental art

Henna is a plant that stains the skin for about ten days. All of the products used are natural, and the traditional design is drawn on the arm or the hand only.

Through the exploration of oriental drawing, the henna technique and its symbolism, the artist invites students to take part in a creative process that seeks to develop their self-confidence. With free-hand drawing, she proposes liberty of movement rather than performance or obtaining an impressive result. Working in pairs, students do henna art in a spirit of respect and with an open mind. This project is adapted to the needs of the students. They experiment different points in drawing such as: figurative and abstract, straight and curved lines, dot, symmetry, repetition...

We will also see different themes such as body art in history, body modifications (tattooing, body painting ...), human relations (initiation rites). As part of this workshop, the artist addresses such subjects as history, geography, the Berber, the Muslim religion, sociology and the arts. This workshop falls within the framework of the new ethics and religious culture class (sacred arts in the second cycle).

Examples of activities

Prior to the artist’s arrival, students learn the countries in which henna art is practised. That way, they will be more familiar with the Arabic and Berber cultures.

The artist creates an oriental atmosphere in the classroom (music, Moroccan tea) and starts with a presentation on the origins of henna and related traditions. She shows examples of her work and a few simple designs used in henna art. Ms. Massey can also talk about her work as an artist (academic counselling).

After that, they do oriental drawing, first on paper, then on themselves, in teams of two. Meanwhile, the artist does a small design on every student, while supervising the class. At the end of the class, the students can share their work and impressions. Later, it will be possible for them to do henna art in front of the entire school, for example, at lunchtime.

This workshop is given over two 75-minute periods and can be adapted according to the needs, the budget and the time available for this activity.

Special conditions

Please consider that the artist is 70% bilingual and that her pace of teaching is perhaps a bit slower. This class requires the use of henna cones at a price of $3/student, for a maximum of $100/day.

For information

Isabelle Massey
Phone : 819 504-0526
Email :

Subject to taxes (GST, PST)



Secondary 1, Secondary 2, Secondary 3, Secondary 4, Secondary 5

Available in

In every regions

Other language(s)


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