Searching for the Holi Land
What is Holi powder? It's been trending in the Instagram world. Lot of colourful photos of people throwing coloured powder at each other, ending up looking like they got in a fight with a pack of crayons, and the crayons won. I'm sure the crayons snuck back into their box saying "you should see the other guy!". I was intrigued.
It all stems from the Holi festival, which is a Hindu festival that has spread to other parts of Asia and the western world. The next Holi festival will take place Monday, March 9th, 2020. Also known as the festival of colours or the festival of spring, it celebrates the end of winter and the upcoming arrival of spring. Google this festival as it is a beautiful and wondrous thing. A part of this festival involves throwing coloured powder at each other, this has come to be called Holi powder. I feel like a March festival of colours is just the thing my life needs so I set out to look into Holi powder. The orginal Holi powder contains lead and some other scary things, so I started looking into DIY Holi. There are multiple recipes on the internet so one day my second shooter Kendra and I decided to get down and dirty and make us some powder. Here today, you are fortunate enough to be able to learn from our mistakes. Many of the following photos are taken with my phone and are of poor quality. My apologies. I promise I am much more efficient with a camera ;)
Water and Dehydrate
The DIY's involve using either corn starch or flour, mixing with water and food colouring, then drying to remove the water. The end result is a hard clay that you then put in a blender or food processor to turn into powder. Above you see the corn starch mixture in pink, and the flour mixture in blue, ready to go outside to bake in the sun. We mixed up one batch at a time and then laid them out in my driveway to back. If my neighbours didn't think I was crazy before, they're about to start wondering.....
Words of Warning
So here's the mistakes we made. First, you need to have a solid understanding of colour theory if you plan to mix your own colours. This is something I actually possess but in the moment I just started dumping colours together. When you do that, you make something that looks a little like something that comes out of a baby. Which end of the baby is up for you to decide. Mmmmm......who wants this thrown at their face? Anyone? Anyone?
The next mistake we made was not checking the weather. It rained on our flour concoction, which needed to be thrown out. Not a huge loss as it wasn't looking good anyway. I strongly suggest corn starch over flour. Plus it's so much fun to mix as it makes oobleck! The last mistake was not letting it dry enough. I had read 7 hours in the sun. We left it for about 2 and then got antsy to play with it. Opps! Last mistake, and I can't stress this enough, do NOT try to dry it in the oven. It will actually bake and ruin it. After all our mistakes, we were left with about two colours that we could use. One of them, I applied to my dog and tried to do some frisbee with her. It was too damp so it just stuck to her. It's possible that she's still a little pink. With the final colour, we went down to the studio and Kendra played around in it. It was still a little damp, didn't really billow when we tossed it, and didn't function as we had hoped. Here are some of the results though!
The Future of Holi
While this DIY powder adventure didn't quite turn out like we had planned, I have no plans to stop trying. It's very important to me that the products I use are safe, hence the foray into the DIY. I have since, however, located a safe Holi powder for purchase through Amazon. Stay tuned to see what I end up doing with this!