My Tattoo Story
Good morning everyone, Its a fine day today, and I’m getting myself a tattoo! To be more precise I’ve booking another session with my tattooist Phil to get more of my latest tattoo done. Those who know me, or even those who have seen pictures of me will see that I am a complete tattoo addict.
On many sites on the Interweb you can find out what particular tattoo’s are suppose to symbolise, but I have never consciously chose a tattoo because it has a specific meaning.
They are just what I liked at the time, however each one now represent a little part of my own history, so today I would like to take you on a journey of my tattoo history, so if your sat comfortably I will begin.
Tattoo’s number 1,3 and 12
I thought the best way to tell you about my tattoo history is to show a picture of them in date order and describe when/where and why I had it.
However this theory falls down before I even finish describing my first ever tattoo because that is now Incorporated into a much larger tattoo. So instead of describing them in date order today I will tell the stories of my 1st, 3rd and 12th tattoos. Collectively they make up a picture of a unicorn and dream catcher surrounded by a leafy/scroll vine which is situated on my right upper arm.
Tattoo number 1
The first part of this tattoo is the unicorn and was completed weeks after my 18th birthday. I loved tattoos even back then when it wasn’t fashionable. I’ve always considered myself to be a little different and a bit of a romantic so probably that influenced my choice of a unicorns head. The tattoo was done in the home parlour of a bloke called Mike Price. He was a lovely bloke with an awesome Wizard back piece and very professional despite working from home and I was very pleased with it.
However I had not told my mum that I was getting it done, and still lived at home at the time. Mum wasn’t ( and still isn’t ) a fan of tattoos, but no worries I thought, I can keep it covered, she will never know.
Fast forward a few months till christmas and my mum bought me a gorgeous top with chiffon sleeves!!!! I knew I was going to get bollocked, so went on the offensive. I sat her down one day and said I had some bad news. I had done something that she wasn’t going to like, something that could not be undone and something that would now be with me for the rest of my life. I asked her not to get angry or judge me too harshly. At this point I think mum was already picturing being a nanny, so when I the proceeded to show her my unicorn, she was ‘Oh for gods sake, is that all’, I had got away with it.
Tattoo number 3
Is the dream catcher. This tattoo was done around 10 years after the unicorn. I always loved American Indian imagery and the story of the dream catcher. At this point in my life I was married and thought I would never be allowed another tattoo (see my post Ghosts and Monsters for the story behind my controlling ex husband).
However we had gone on holiday and I guess the sea air had gone to his head a bit, so I was given permission. Our holiday destination was Looe, Cornwall, and on the harbour there is a fantastic little tattoo parlour East Looe Tattoo . The guys that run it look quite a little scary, heavily tattooed and pierced. However they are the sweetest guys, and I managed to get a booking.
They rely on holiday work in the summer, so the price was a bit more than I would have paid at home, but the work was good and again I was pleased. Originally the dream catcher had brightly coloured beads in red, yellow and blue.
The problem with a tattoo like this is that it’s flashwork, a pre designed pictures that they trace, so there is always the risk of another person having exactly the same tattoo. If you put dreamcatcher into google search you can quickly find pictures of almost the exact copy of the my dream catcher, on someone else.
Tattoo number 12
We can do another huge leap forward to tattoo number 12. This one was done in 2011 and is the handy work of two tattooists, though I think calling the first person to work on it would be known in tattoo circles as a scratcher, a tattoo term for an individual who has very little skill or experience in tattooing.
I decided back in the summer of 2011 that I needed a bit more consistency in my tatts as the arm ones were a bit random. I loved both the tatts I had done on my right arm, however the unicorn was almost 20 years old and badly faded. So I designed a vine pattern to act as a boarder for the two tatts. My regular tattooist was booked up and I would have had to wait two months to see him. At that time in my life things were beginning to go a bit awry and I wasn’t thinking as logically as I usually do. I wanted a tattoo and I wanted it NOW!!!.
At the time a new parlour had opened up in town, it had good reviews in the paper and a friend had been there. I just went along to have a look but found she could fit me in that day. Guys, if your ever going to get a tattoo, please never go to a place that has no waiting list. Its a sign that they’re not very good.
She traced my design and tried to fit it around my existing tattoos, but after a few tries, said it would be easier to do free hand. I didn’t worry about this as I’ve had freehand work done before.
BIG mistake. After half an hour I saw she was doing an almighty balls up, so I stopped her saying it was hurting too much. I paid my money ( as I am a true Brit and unable to complain ) and left.
I eventually got an appointment with my current tattooist Phil who owns Hannya Tattoo
He did a fab job of repairing her attempt at the vine, but it left me with a very different tattoo than I pictured.
Phil had to repair wonky shaky lines with thick base lines. He adding the scrolls to make it more delicate and it is beautiful. He also completely relined the unicorn, putting back more detail than was there to begin with,and removed the colour from the dream catcher to make it match the monochrome unicorn.
As so much in my life, its what I planned but lovely all the same.
I’m going to leave my tattoo story there for today. I never realised it would take such a long time describing each one, but there is a lot of personal history tied up in each one.
So the lessons for today are never go to a tattooist who isn’t booked weeks in advance, and if you have to tell your parents bad things, make them think your news is going to be far worse that what it actually is!
I will continue my tattoo history next week.
I would love to hear your stories about how and why you chose the designs for your tattoos.
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