Category: Feature tattoos

Tess Metcalfe – Pigeon Jewels

Things&Ink met up with Tessa Metcalfe to talk tattoos, inspiration and pigeons… as published in issue 7 of Things&Ink magazine, The Identity Issue.

How did you get into jewellery making?
I was making a taxidermy pigeon hat for myself one day, and I had the feet left over. I dried them out and eventually started casting them. I loved all the possibilities they gave me and I just got carried away. I’ve now cast the feet, oh, hundreds of times and I’ve made a whole collection from them.

What inspires you?
Growing up in London, it was very grey. My Granny gave me two volumes of fairytales, Hans Christian Anderson and The Brothers Grimm, and I would read them again and again. They were wonderful, full of wildlife, with sometimes dark and heartbreaking stories. Being a little girl I wanted to be in a fairytale but all I had was this grey city and these pigeons. I must have started to think about the lives of these birds and what they were thinking. I like to play out my childhood London fairytale through my pieces, its like proving it was true all along.

What draws you to jewellery?
I love that jewellery is something purely for pleasure, an object for the sole purpose of making you happy. Something you don’t need, but that you want. Like a tattoo I guess.

Is your work inspired by tattoos?
I love that a tattoo can tell a story, much like jewellery. It’s something that you should treasure and lasts forever, it is like a piece or form of you.

What is your favourite piece you have created?
I think I’d have to say the clawed pigeon feet rings that also have rings on their claws. I make miniature jewellery for the claws and I gold plate their nails too. I love the idea that they have the same feral lust for jewels as us and I think they deserve it.


Can you tell us a bit about your tattoos?
My two largest pieces are birds, of course. I have a swan covered in jewels on my left arm and a pigeon on my right. I love the juxtaposition of the birds and the connotations connected with them. I also have the Hackney Council logo on my foot, everyone needs at least one drunk tattoo, and I’ve never regretted it. I’ve got wartime stocking seams up the back of my legs, with spiders at the top so the line is like a silk thread. And at the bottom I have upside down fleur de lis. I hand poked them myself, so they’re not symmetrical.

Who are your favourite tattooists?
My best tattoos are my birds both by Brian T Wilson of Scapegoat Tattoo in Portland. I love his detail and he draws from wildlife book illustrations, which makes them realistic – I love that. I’m thinking of getting a royal orb shackle below my swan to add the suggestion that she may, or may not, have stolen her jewels from the Queen when she broke free. Next I want a tattoo of my Frenchie, Meatball, with her snaggle tooth and floppy ear, any takers? Course I’ll have a whole flock of pigeons one day, I’d love one by Rudy Fritsch.


Do you have any jewellery inspired tattoos?
In a word, yes. My pigeon has her own set of rings that she wears, just like my collection, and a centre stone set into her bejewelled chest. Brian drew straight from a ring I inherited from my Grandma that I was wearing. I lost the ring when I moved house, so I’m really glad it’s immortalised.

Do you think there is a relationship between tattoos and fashion?
Fashion is, in its nature, changing. It’s influenced by trends and so many things. Tattoos are for life and I make jewellery for life too.

What future plans do you have for your company?
I don’t feel confined to jewellery. I’m self-taught and we’re in an age that if you want to learn something you can. I love to embrace that notion. When I fall in love with an idea I’ll see where it takes me.


Photos of Tessa by Samuel Butt
Photos of jewellery by Kristy Noble Styled by Sarah Anne Smith

Songbird Tattoo Studio

Songbird Tattoo Studio has recently moved to Exeter’s High Street, becoming the most central shop in the Southern City.

This beautiful emporium is a custom shop, which is open to the public but maintains the ambiance of a private studio. A highly unique space with much to spark the imagination, the studio has an air of relaxation and friendliness about it.

Studio owner and tattooist Nic Smith works mainly in Mehndi, geometric pattern decorative styles, and also enjoys colour work. She’s inspired by patterns, fabrics and varied religious iconography. All of these things not only inform her work but have impacted on the shop’s interior.

Syluss focuses his attention on custom illustrative work and also excels at portraits and black & grey.

Ryan Ousley works primarily in a bold new school style, favouring bright colours.

Email for booking and enquiries and follow Songbird Tattoo on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for studio updates and more tattoos.




Cute mini Sun Jellies bag when you buy the latest issue

We’ve joined forces with Sun Jellies, to offer you a super-cute treat when you order the latest issue of Things&Ink – The Anatomy Issue, issue 10. Visit Newsstand to order.

The lovely people over at Sun Jellies have given us the cutest mini jelly bags to give to our readers – as a reward for being totally awesome. And if you fancy owning one of these lovely little woven bags that are really giving us a warm feeling of nostalgia, then go order your copy of The Anatomy Issue of Things&Ink… there’s only a limited number available, so order now to avoid disappointment. Go to now…

Issue 10 – The Anatomy Issue cover star reveal… Cally-Jo

We are SO excited to announce that the cover star for issue 10 – The Anatomy Issue – is the insanely talented tattoo artist CALLY-JO… get your hands on a copy now…

We love collaborating with tattoo artists to create interesting and innovative photo shoots, and this one is simply divine… the cover looks like a modern-day Death and the Maiden… order the latest issue now to see the full photo feature and read an exclusive in-depth interview in which Cally-Jo reveals all about her move to New York, how she has grown artistically as a tattooist and what it was like creating this stunning cover…

The new issue can be purchased from Newsstand… plus the first 100 people to order will receive a free treat on us from our friends at Sun Jellies

Photography and Art Direction by Philip Rhys Matthews
Hair, Make-up and Styling by Adrianna Veal


Beauty is not only ink deep – a tattooed photographic portrait series

Have you seen the latest project focusing on tattoos? Photographer Niall Patterson has created a personal project to show the beauty in tattoos and those who wear them. He wants to move away from the stereotypes and negative social prejudices attached to tattoos and instead show the world how truly beautiful they can be. The project is called Beauty Is Not Only Ink Deep.

Each photograph in the collection displays a quote from the person in the picture, describing how they feel about their tattoos and what they mean to them.

Images from Beauty is not only ink deep.

Our pick of the artists to watch out for at Brighton Tattoo Convention 2015…

Artists chosen by T&I editor Alice Snape, T&I editorial assistant Rosalie Woodward and T&I managing editor Keely Reichardt

Here at Things&Ink magazine, conventions are our favourite… like being in a tattoo bubble… we can spend forever searching for artists, and looking at their back catalogue of work. So we’ve compiled this little round-up of some of our favourite artists who are attending the Brighton Tattoo Convention this year, with reasons why we like them. Hopefully we’ll see some of you at the convention, as we will have a stand there all weekend, and you can let us know if you agree with our picks – and crucially who you think we missed…

Kid Kros from Casa Occulta in Split, Croatia @Kidkros
“I love his animals, they range from unbelievably cute to downright frightening, but always intriguing and he perfectly captures their latent personalities. His detailing is mesmerising, especially his jewellery inspired pieces and he’s really finding his feet style wise.” Rosie

Rafaela @rafaela2die4 Tattooing at ‘To die for tattoo’ Leverkusen, Germany
“Rafaela continues to create beautiful women but with a sadness in their eyes that captures my soul. Her colour palette is divine, a wash with pinks and blues, whose depths reflect the tone of the piece.” Rosie

Alix Ge, France @alixge
“I love the way Alix Ge experiments with style and inspiration, including Japanese influences and a more traditional range of colours. Her women are soft with almost plump faces, as if they have been plucked from period dramas, forever suspended in time on someone’s skin. Definitely on my tattoo wish list!” Rosie

“Alix Ge is someone I am saving the top of my arm for (this is a big deal for me, as I used to not want my arms tattooed at all)!  I love the romantic expressions on her lady faces and the rosy coloured cheeks she gives them.  Her style is really interesting in the way she mixes traditional Japanese with beautiful soft women’s faces who look like they have stepped straight out of a Jane Austen novel!”  Keely

Greggletron @greggletron, Scapegoat Tattoo, Portland USA
“He’s just one of the many incredible talents that work out of Scapegoat in Portland (I would get tattooed by all of them). Greggltron uses such a beautiful palette of colours, reds, warm colours that have a wonderful vintage vibe – kind of  traditional with his own twist. The girls he creates are stunning and their eyes are hypnotic.” Alice

Danielle Rose, The Illustration Issue cover star and travelling tattoo artist @DanielleRoseTattoo
“Danielle Rose was our cover star for ‘The Illustration Issue’ and has become one of the most sought after artists of the last 18 months. I have a Larry David portrait by her from 2013, which is still one of my favourite tattoos.  She is particularly well known for her weeping lady faces who have all been characterised into different scenarios – the beekeeper, the punk rocker, even a Marie Antoinette lookalike!”  Keely

Big Sleeps, LA @bigsleeps  
“The godfather of lettering all the way from Los Angeles… Big Sleeps is your go-to man if you want some bold yet beautifully crafted words!” Keely

Matthew Gordon, Berlin, Germany, @Matthew_Gordon
“Matt is currently working on my butterfly lady backpiece, I love how he creates huge pieces that really work on the body. I was first drawn to his work when I saw the front piece that he did on my friend Celine.” Alice

Miss Juliet, Don’t Tell Mama
“I love her ornate and beautiful style, her work is instantly recognisable and the way she creates shapes from hundreds of small lines is amazing.” Rosie

Araceli 4ever, London UK @araceli_4ever
“I have loved watching Araceli grow into her own style as a tattoo artist. I knew her before she started her apprenticeship and she has really come into her own, and created a style that is just hers. She is super-lovely and a beautiful person too.” Alice

Andrea Furci, Seven Doors, London, UK @andreafurci
“Andrea did one of my first ever tattoos (a cameo on my wrist), I love his bold traditional style.”

Bugs, USA
“I love Bug’s style, it is so artistic and unusual and looks like a fusion of cubism, art deco and classical art. A true artist” Alice

David Corden, Edinburgh, UK
“David Corden is an incredible portrait tattoo artist, the likeness he manages to create is just out of this world.” Alice

Also look out for Things&Ink cover stars – past and present: Brian Wilson, Delphine Noiztoy, (stripped back) Wendy Pham (The Identity Issue), Grace Neutral (The Modification Issue) and Tiny Miss Becca (The Celebration Issue)…

Things&Ink the celebration issue 5 Time to party with two of the tattoo world’s leading ladies, Amy Savage and Tiny Miss Becca
Space Elf Grace Neutral on the cover of issue 6 – which launched at last year’s Brighton Tattoo Convention


Come and see us at our stand at the convention! And find out if our anatomy issue cover star is also tattooing at The Brighton Tattoo Convention 2015… we cannot wait, see you there?

Sergei Polunin, “Take Me to Church” by Hozier, Directed by David LaChapelle

Today we’re loving… Sergei Polunin, “Take Me to Church” by Hozier, Directed by David LaChapelle.

The tattoos are also working for us – sexy, stunning, beautiful.

Sergei Polunin, “Take Me to Church” by Hozier, Directed by David LaChapelle from David LaChapelle Studio on Vimeo.

Valentine Tattoos – feeling the love

We’re really feeling the love, as Valentine’s Day is fast approaching. And whether it’s shape, colour or subject matter, we all have a tattoo related to love in some way… Here’s our pick of love-inspired tattoos for Valentine’s Day… can we get an “Awwwww“?









Surreal tattoos based on stories

Jade Tomlinson and Kev James are the creators of Expanded Eye – an artistic movement that encompasses and explores all aspects of life and the universe, from tattoos to street art. They create unique surreal tattoos inspired by the lives and stories of their clients. They want their clients to focus on what they want the tattoo to represent and leave the visual aesthetics to Jade and Kev.

 Each and every unique tattoo we create is our visual interpretation of concepts and stories provided by the client, which hold significant meaning to the individual. We encompass as much personal detail as possible whileallowing each design to evolve organically into a contemporary piece of art, which we then transfer from paper to skin.


The pair are currently tattooing in  Hackney, London and have spaces available, if you want to get tattooed by them email your idea and body placement to

Read more about their story at expanded-eye.


Urban Outfitters trashy tattoos

You can buy trashy temporary tattoos from Urban Outfitters, but why are they called Trashy? Is it merely the name of the brand or is the online store passing its judgement on certain tattoo designs?

The designs that are deemed as trashy include tribal, dolphins, anchors and barbed wire. These have all taken part in tattoo trends, each one gaining popular in different time periods and decades gone by.

But is Urban Outfitters simply stating that all tattoos are trashy?

 What do you think?