So...this happened yesterday afternoon! It was my Xmas gift from my son. I have been thinking about a third tattoo for some time now and yesterday I finally did it.
The design is a stylised ampersand. I love the symbol being the font/typography enthusiast that I am, but didn't want to have the same tattoo that a zillion other people are walking around with. I came across this particular design and fell in love. I did some digging and managed to track down the artist, Beth Sicheneder. I sent her an email to see if she would give me permission to use her design and she very generously gave me her blessing.
I want to pause a moment to say that it is NEVER okay to help yourself to another artist's work for anything. You must ALWAYS seek permission and if you can't get in touch with them or they say no, then you must respect that. It's the right thing to do. Personally, I believe in karma and I want to keep mine good!
Anyway, on Sunday, I went for a consult at Adrenaline, the shop where I've had all my ink done. I chose Ashley Castaner to be my tattoo artist because I'd seen some of the geometric work she's done in her portfolio and knew she was skilled at doing clean, crisp lines, which is what this piece called for. In my mind, I knew that I did not want this done in black ink with thick heavy lines. I just don't think being as fair as I am, it would look good. I wanted it to be subtler and more feminine. Ashley understood exactly what I meant and suggested we use a tiny needle and dark grey ink. We had a plan!
The actual inking took about 45 minutes. The first 10 minutes is always torture-my brain was basically hollering at me "Ouch! Make it stop!!" Once we got past those first 10 minutes, it realised it wasn't stopping and the needle just became mildly annoying. (Keep in mind I have no feeling in my arms and hands because of the damage to my spinal cord, but when I get a simple paper cut on my finger, my brain thinks my finger has been chopped off. Fun! I knew it was going to hurt, but I also knew I could withstand 45 minutes of inking.)
After it was done, Ashley put a clear dressing on it called "second skin". She said they use that now so people can see through it. The old bandages were gauze and people would keep peeling it up to show off their new tattoos, risking infection in the first 24 hours. (Silly people!) I took it off this morning, as per my after care instructions and it's on its way to healing nicely. (As you can see in the large photo on the right.) Right now it feels like a bad sunburn, but that sensation will fade as the day progresses. My guess is it's going to heal pretty quickly.
I love everything about this piece. I couldn't have imagined something that symbolises more perfectly life on the west coast-the trees, the mountains, the ocean, campfires, the wind, moon and stars. It also contains the four elements-earth, wind, fire and water. Beth calls this design "Campersand" and I am absolutely THRILLED to have it for all time. Every time I look at it, it makes me smile.
So thank you to my son for the lovely gift,
thank you to Beth for such a beautiful (and meaningful to me) design
and thank you to Ashley for making it happen exactly as I'd imagined.