Illustrated Teacup

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Monday, 27 April 2015

TATTOOS: completely feminine ink

Tattoos are usually put into set categories: 
  • Tribal
  • Black and greyscale
  • Old school
  • Realism
  • Japanese

And sterotypically these are for guys more than girls. So the association is that tattoos must be masculine. 

But they don't have to be.

When I first decided to get my first sleeve, I was told not to.

"It's butch"

"You won't look as feminine"

"You'll lose your natural English - Rose beauty"

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Saturday, 25 April 2015

TATTOOS: Part two interview with Sion, editor Skin Deep Magazine

You should have seen part one of this interview with Sion last week, were we talked tattoos and tattoo culture. 

This week, because Sion has so many great things to say I've  got part two of my interview with him, all about his fascinating work life.

You are the Editor for Skin Deep magazine, so I have to ask you some questions on that, mostly because I am super nosey!

Tell us about an average day at the Skin Deep office?

As expected, there is no average day! The biggest surprise to most people is that I don’t work in the office - I would hate that and so would everybody else. I work at home with my dog (though he’s not very helpful). 

The day starts with a lot of coffee, an internet radio station called The Raven (that is honestly a coincidence - they’re based in Dakota) and standing around in the kitchen sorting out email on my phone. 

Some days there’s a lot of email traffic and some days (sometimes for a few days at a time) I’ll not look at all if I have to write something. As the day progresses, the music gets louder but generally it starts about 8.30am and ends about 2am and I stuff it with as much as I can. 

At a rough guess I would say tattoo gets at least ten hours of that - seven days a week. I try to respond to everybody because this stuff means a lot to people - it’s only fair and right to do so. There are requests from radio shows, papers, apprentices, artists, models, mag readers… and somehow, it all works out just fine, 13 issues a year! That’s my job and I love it. 

If you’re reading this, have sent me an email and I haven’t replied yet, when I last counted I was getting about 900 emails a week, so  err… sorry…. I will get there! 

What is your favourite thing about your job?

Aside from finding an artist that makes my heart sing, the travel. It’s etched into my psyche to love trains, planes, airport lounges and watching the world turn. 

There’s usually something tattoo related at the end as a bonus (and when customs people find out what you do for a living, they like to roll their sleeves up and show you their ink more often than not) - I have become very good at handling delays and Acts of God too because there’s always something to write about if you look closely enough. 

To be honest, I don’t even look at it as a job anymore, it’s become a very big part of me and to try to separate myself from it would be foolish and a complete waste of time. 

Biggest achievement whilst working at Skin Deep?

Good timing with the question! I never thought I would be the editor at the 200th issue, nor the 20th birthday issue - and as I write this… the 21st birthday issue is next. Those are milestones for an important magazine. 

Issue 200 was the best selling issue of all time and that was a big deal for me because you never know if what you’re saying is what anybody wants to hear. I take nothing for granted from one issue to the next and treat every one like it’s the first time somebody will pick it up (which it probably is). 

That’s good way to work isn’t it? People should work like that with everything in life because it’s over in the blink of an eye. All that considered, I guess my biggest achievement is that I’m still doing it and haven’t even scratched the surface of what I want to say yet.

Advice for aspiring tattooists?

Well… I’ve said this a million times already in my life and it applies here too. If you want to be a vet or a dentist, go to university. If you want to be an artist (or a writer as I normally apply it), get the hell on with it. You will not “find yourself” at big school - you’ll only find what you want to do and where you fit in by drawing every day and never being satisfied. It’s an awful way to live but that’s what it takes and if you’re lucky you’ll learn to love treating yourself this way. 

Learn how to strip down a machine and rebuild it with your eyes shut. 
Know your equipment - and know your craft. 
It all seems pretty common sense - anybody can learn to tattoo but not everybody can tattoo well… and even fewer tattoo great. 
There are fewer still who can keep it up. 
Choose which you want to be and do that for the rest of your life or “find what you love and let it kill you”. 

And lastly, some bits about you: 

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Wednesday, 22 April 2015

LIFESTYLE: The love and hate of dating a bearded man

They are quite the fashion trend right now.
And my husband has one.
Yes, a beard.

He hasn't always had a beard. In fact he's spent about 80% of our relationship clean shaven (photo below, on the left is 2008 and the right is 2015 - I really upped my eyebrow game recently!).
But last year he decided to grow a beard. I think he was inspired by the beards of stereotypical tattooed men, and the increase in cool beard products.

So over a year later and he still loves his beard. And I have to admit, I do too.

So I thought I would share some of the great things and not so great things about living with a bearded man.


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Monday, 20 April 2015

TATTOOS: Free flash, and why you shouldn't steal designs

This isn't  a new concept. 

You don't  have to look far on the internet to see a bad rip off of a good tattoo. 

And pretty much all tattooists now watermark their images for Instagram. 

It is a sad inevitability that anything on the internet will be stolen, copied or reproduced. It's  an unfair fact of humanity. However it doesn't make it right.

But there are good reasons not to just copy any art you see on the net, for your own personal use.
As I said, there are many bad rip off's. It is pretty difficult to accurately copy a design and more often than not, anyone willing to take someone else's design, just doesn't have the talent and skill to create their own design.

A custom design piece can take many hours of work from the tattooist, including several drafts, amends and redesigns. It is just plain rude to steal or copy that work for yourself without permission.

Add to this the fact that there is someone out there that came up with the  initial idea behind the tattoo, and probably has a reason for wanting that tattoo.


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Saturday, 18 April 2015

TATTOOS: Interview with Sion, editor Skin Deep Magazine

Welcome to the second of my tattoo interview series. This time I have the absolute honour of bringing you an interview with Skin Deep magazine editor Sion Smith...

This is part one, all about his tattoos... with part two next week, all about Sion and his life with one of the world's  biggest tattoo magazines.

Let the quizzing begin!


What was your first tattoo, and how old were you? 

So far in this job, I have managed to ever avoid talking about this. I was 19 (which makes it 1987) and it comes under the heading of “a good idea at the time”. I was publishing a fanzine back then which was about American glam rock bands nobody had ever heard of and some guy drew a picture of a character he wanted to do a comic strip for in the mag. He was actually a pretty good artist and my wife (at the time) suggested I get it tattooed because then we would both be tattooed. This was quite a big deal in 1987 and she already had a flaming skull on her shoulder. To put it into context for you, life was all very music driven and apart from tattooists, the only people you ever saw with a lot tattoos where Guns n Roses and Motley Crue - and back in ’87, even the Crue weren’t heavily tattooed by today’s standards. I was just putting a band together at the time as well… it was all very natural and felt very right. There was no ‘scene’ to speak of and it really did make you an outsider. 

Rebels without a clue. All of us! 

Actually. if I expand the story to my second tattoo - which was a 1990 ‘flash piece’ of a shaman with wolf head-skull head-dress - I learned fast. It was well done and still stands up to scrutiny today. 
Fast forward to sometime in 1998, I decided I needed to move on from this original statement of youth and got it covered up with some really big black stuff (search for Brotherhood of the Wolf online and you’ll see how big) - this was done “as a favour” to a friend who had just finished his apprenticeship and wanted to practice. In hindsight, not the greatest idea in the world but at the time, I was in a “what the hell” kind of mindset - nobody was ever likely to see it and never in a million years thought I would be the editor of Skin Deep one day. Anyway, to wrap this up, it’s taking forever to laser off but we’re getting there! It’s also a damn good experiment in what a laser is capable of and how much patience I have!

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Monday, 13 April 2015

TATTOOS: Ink is for all the girls!

Katy GoldI'm  a tattooed girl. There is no way round that. I have many tattoos, and I am female. 

However I do not look like many of the women you see on Pinterest or Instagram under the numerous #tattooedgirl #inkedgirl or #girlswithtattoos and the like, hashtags. Or the girls on the top shelf in WHSmith. 
There's nothing wrong with how they look, far from it, but the connotations associated with inked girls are a stretch from the truth. 

So I'm  here to set the record straight.

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Friday, 10 April 2015

FASHION: Black Milk Clothing Wishlist

I'm a huge lover of Black Milk Clothing. 


They create such beautiful unique clothing, and although a little on the pricey side, and a bit of a wait for postage (Australian based so they do have to come across the planet to me in the UK), these really are investment pieces.

They recently launched their Holidaze collection and it is a beauty of a collection, if like me, you love lots of black in your wardrobe!

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Monday, 6 April 2015

LIFESTYLE: Pretty in prints from around my home

Pretty in Prints Ikea
As you may or may not know, I've  just bought a house (if you didn't  know, where have you been hiding... I've  been banging on about it enough!)

Inspired by the 'pretty in prints' challenge* from Bonmarche and my move and the need to purchase many home related items I  thought I'd  share some prints from around my home. 

I'm  usually a plain and simple kind of girl, both in clothing and interiors.
Put I do have a selection of really key prints in certain rooms in my home that are real features in their own right, especially in comparison to the more simplistic designs. 

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Saturday, 4 April 2015

TATTOOS: Interview with Beccy from Inkluded

The tattoo community is a close one. We support one another and look out for each other. So I jumped at the chance to work with fellow tattooed lady Beccy, founder and editor of Inkluded, and we have arranged a little interview swap!

You can read my interview with her on her blog here

Inkluded is pretty new, but is growing fast and it speaks for itself. 

Now over to Beccy and her tattoos:


What was your first tattoo, and how old were you? 

I was 20, and I decided I just wanted to do it. It is a small black symbol of an egyptian ankh on my thigh. When I was little my mum gave me an ankh necklace from egypt and told me I had to wear it forever, as the symbol means reincarnation, so as long as I had it on me, I would become something in my next life. Since then the symbol has meant a lot to both me and my mum, and we both wear it with pride every day.


How many do you have now, and what are they? 

Now I have a lot of tattoos, too many to count! Maybe over 20. All my tattoos mean something different. Most of them have a deep meaning to me, or mark a certain part in my life, but a couple are just because I liked the design. I love roses - they symbolise a lot to me, I am a red Lancashire rose for starters and proud of my heritage, but also love roses for their of meaning of beauty, nature and the cycle of life. I'm obsessed with American Beauty too, the film, so I always knew roses would be a big part of my tattoos. I'm fascinated by nature and the seasons, as well as cyclical things (why I have a mandala tattoo)... I suppose they are some of the overriding themes of my tattoos.


Who is your favourite tattooists? 

Nearly all of my tattoos are from Shakespeare Ink in Stratford-upon-Avon. My artist was Adam Frame but is now Alex Rhodes https://instagram.com/skegnasty/. Other artists whose work I love and follow are: Chris Byrne, Antony Flemming, Paula Castle, Beau Redman, Matt Curzon, Amanda Toy, Rob Spider, Fiola Art, Cesar De Cesaro - I love traditional and neo traditional tattoos, as well as pattern-work and symmetry - I love intricate tattoos, and tattoos that use a lot of colour and bold lines.


Do you have any tattoos planned for the future? If so, what? 

I am currently working on my next sleeve, with Alex Rhodes at Shakespeare Ink. It's a pagan themed sleeve for my mum who turns 60 this year and is a pagan witch. It's going to include all the symbology I associate with her - Tarot cards, cloaks, ravens, ankhs, pentacles... as much as we can fit in! I have had two sessions and we're still not even done with the line work because I'm a complete wimp. I book Alex out for the whole day and four hours in I'm done. I need to man up! And all I do is moan about the pain - I'm a great client!


Do you have any 'no-go' zones? 

Not really. I am taking each tattoo and day as it comes. At the moment, I don't want to ever tattoo my face or hands, but that's not to say I wouldn't change my mind in the future. I'm quite open minded but I think about each decision very carefully. Apart from the odd spontaneous tattoo, normally I think a lot about them first! My back was the most painful so even though I think I would like some more work to that, I don't think I could hack it!


What is your favourite  thing about tattoos and tattoo culture? 

I love that we're able to attach meaning to everything in our lives. That is what every person in the world is doing, every second of every day - we collect things, we find a style, we hang pictures on our walls. We are constantly decorating our lives to give them meaning, importance and vibrancy. Why not do the same to your body? 

That being said I don't think every tattoo has to have a deep meaning attached to it - some people just like a certain design and that's great, it's still putting something on their body that's a reflection of who they are, as they have chosen it... and that makes it meaningful. 






Now for some blog talk: 

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Wednesday, 1 April 2015

LIFESTYLE: March in Review

March has been another pretty incredible month, and to be honest I am loving writing these posts as a reflection of my month and focusing on the great things I've accomplished or experienced. It's  so easy to get caught  up in the negatives but it is so important to focus on the little happy moments.

So here I go, my March in review:


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