Wednesday, February 24, 2010

vintage fabric inspired body art

Happy, happy.

This post is dedicated to Audrey, my very young at heart, 70 year old customer from Florida. When we met at the Norwich Farmers Market last Fall I noticed a small rose tatto on her wrist and asked her about it. I was doing research at the time (conducting a informal questionnaires about people’s tattoos and their experiences getting/having them) in preparation for getting my first one.

I’ve spoken with Audrey on the phone several times since then and she’s always very encouraging of my business and tattoo plans. And I love the non-specific orders for aprons she places such as “Just pick out the prettiest. I trust your judgment.”
This is her latest order: two of the prettiest Gardening Aprons.

She called me again this morning and I was finally able to report that the tattoo is finished and I have pictures to send her.

Why am I showing off my ink on this blog? The design of my tat is all about my passion for vintage fabrics. When you get a tattoo the design choices are endless. It’s going to be there forever. Now how to decide? I first thought I wanted a tattoo of a beet because I saw a couple of cool beet tattoos and I was really appreciating our fantastic beet crop last summer. But I soon realized that was just a whim.

I asked myself: what have I always loved visually, emotionally and spiritually and will probably continue to love? Answer: vintage fabrics, especially florals. So I gathered together my very favorite prints and considered what aspects of them I liked. I like the definitive, yet delicate outlines, and the distinctly vintage coral pink colors in this group. I brought them all to my consultation appointment with Jim DuVal of Yankee Tattoo in Burlington, VT to help impress upon him my aesthetic vision.

Actually Jim is a big reason why I finally got a tattoo. Though I’ve always enjoyed seeing them on other people, I hardly ever saw one that I liked enough to want one like it. But I became familiar with Jim’s work through facebook and so much of his work had qualities of line and color that I loved, I knew he was the man for the job. Here's Jim at work (one of the few non-hammed up pics from this session). Also of note: I am wearing a sweater crocheted by my grandmother, Marion Curtis, who I try to channel in my textile work. She made it for me when I was in middle school. I totally snubbed it at the time but have gotten a lot of wear out of it now that I am old enough to know better*.

Here’s the fabric I took the design from, side by side with the finished work. It needed to lose the trellis and gain some black outlines to give it a sweet-but-with-an-edge vibe (hey, it’s a tattoo on my muscle-y arm after all). And, ta-da!, the finished ink below. As my friend Michelle astutely observed, “Kind of bad ass but really beautiful at the same time. Hey, kind of like Mountain Ash Design!”

* tip-o-the-nib to Eva Sollberger!

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