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A Little Lesson I got in Body Ink & Design

Image courtesy of Piotr Siedlecki and
Image courtesy of Piotr Siedlecki and

Let’s travel back in time! It’s September 12th and the day of the Alzheimer’s Walk at Switchyard Park

I stroll around for a bit before deciding to stand to the right of the stage as the music plays & hear the occasional announcement get made. Several minutes later, I see Krystal from Owen State Bank, who I have not seen in a long while. (I keep up with her posts on Facebook and make comments here and there.) I go up to her, say hello, and she introduces me to others in her group. Then as we get chatting, I notice the color red and blue out of the corner of one of my eyes. A few seconds later, I walk away and see that the red and blue I saw is on the woman standing next to Krystal. Her name is Jessica, and she’s Krystal’s partner. Before I know it, I say to Krystal, “If I ever get a permanent tattoo, she has to be in the room with me.” She agrees immediately and tells me it will be a blast.

After the Walk is over and I am home I think what made me say what I did to Krystal? Although I appreciate tattoos, I could never get one because I can not pin down a design. Plus tattoos are not inexpensive.

There is the consultation which is upwards of $100. If someone decides to go ahead with the tattoo, that person pays the remaining cost of the design, but if the person chooses against getting the work done, the tattoo artist does not walk away empty-handed.

However, my feelings got wobbly when I went online to Google’s browser and put in embroidery tattoos to see if they exist, and it turns out they do. They are flat like other tattoos, but the layers of colored ink lines give them the appearance of being actual threads.

Back in the day, my Mom did needlework. Over the years, she made several pieces – an animal jungle, a dragon, and angles. I have the dragon and a sweatshirt with a tiger on it. I would look at several of these unique tattoos, and then I saw a dazzling bird by Paulina Oliver. I fell hard for it.

I did some more research to learn about tattoos in general. When I finish, I go to to buy four temporary tattoos. I had fun wearing them for two weeks. During that time I met someone with a tattoo that caught my eye and I spoke to this person to ask who did their tattoo. I got the name and contacted the artist then emailed a picture of the embroidered bird. I got a two sentence reply that said it will not last. I got no further explanation and I think when I replied back I should have asked for one however, I moved on to asking another artist.

This one actually does piercings but she has several tattoos. We have spoken twice on the subject. She told me they are an exciting and a new fad. However, many local tattoo artists in the area are unsure how stable embroidered tattoos are. They fear as the tattoo ages, the short and layered lines that make the design & give it detail will not last. Normal tattoos do change over the years because of aging skin which can cause the ink to spread get fuzzy and lose its crisp definition.

Yes this can happen with a bad tattoo job but it could also happen to a tattoo done like an intricate drawing say on a piece of paper. Skin and paper are two very different things she went on to tell me. To seal her to her point, she gave me an example of a Gremlin tattoo she got where its teeth went away. In her case, it was not a good tattoo job, but I got her point about embroidered tattoos.

Our skin is living and as it ages will lose its firmness becoming loose and wrinkling together causing the ink in the tattoo to do the same. As a result the ink lines get fuzzy and blur causing the details to get erased and in time those fuzzy lines come together into one blob of ink. Over time the blob may fade in color but some residue of it will remain. This is what she says local artists think happen with embroidered tattoos but on a much faster pace. However, this cannot be proven until these types of tattoos get documented and pictures taken to show their changes over a lengthy period of time. So to play it safe, most local artists choose to not do this type of tattoo. Instead they prefer checking a design for viability before determining if the design is a go or a pass.

So for the time being I will continue to follow Paulina Oliver on Instagram and enjoying her artistic work in ink for years to come.

A Noble Walk and a Lesson in Ink
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