Tagged: girls

Owning my body

Bethany Carman Rutter blogs about being fat and wearing clothes at archedeyebrow.com, here she examines what it is to be female and have tattoos

Photos by Heather Shuker 

Bethany Rutter arched eyebrow

It seems as if one of the main requirements of being a woman and inhabiting the body of a woman is that we preserve, protect and sanitise it at all costs. Virginity is the most highly prized feminine trait. Body hair is unthinkable. Proof of ageing must be combated decades in advance. Stretch marks are a secret shame. Women’s bodies should be unblemished, unmarked, smooth and pure. Signs that our bodies have deviated from this path, that we do not wrap our bodies in cotton wool, are an assault to the perception of what it means to be a woman, an assault to what we owe those that look at our bodies.

Tattoos, then, are surely the greatest attack on a collective belief in ‘pure’ womanhood. They’re a sign that a woman owns her body, that she’s refusing to accept ‘unmarked’ as a condition of femininity.

Bethany

One of the most common criticisms of women with tattoos is that they are ‘unladylike’, but I take exception to this. They’re a method of reclaiming what it means to be a ‘lady’, or better, a woman. They’re a choice, they’re a commitment, they’re an expression of the self, and I’m completely sure that women have claims to these. Choosing to have tattoos means I choose to own my body, to see it as a permanent vehicle for my sense of self and that I’m choosing what I say with it.

The most perplexing part of the equation is that no one changes when they get a tattoo. Their behaviour doesn’t change, the way they relate to the world doesn’t change, it’s just, in the words of Joni Mitchell, ‘ink on a pin underneath the skin’. So why we think we can tell a good woman from a bad one by whether or not she has a tattoo is evidence again of the obsession with keeping women ‘pure’ and palatable. Heaven forbid a woman has a tattoo across her lower back, since apparently this is the litmus test for whether or not she is a ‘tramp’. So here two things are combined: desire to control women’s bodies and whether or not they have sex. 

Bethany legs

Tattoos on women offend the collective sensibility because they are bold, unmissable and non-negotiable, and those are traits I’m quite happy to associate myself with. ❦ 

Tweet @myarchedeyebrowBR

This was first published in the launch issue of Things&Ink, order your copy at thingsandink.com.

The story of the buddy tattoo by Christina Owen

New guest blog post from Christina Owen featuring the cutest little Russian doll tattoos I have ever seen…here is the story of Christina and Jess’s matching tattoos.

Christina and Jess Christina and Jess

 

My friend Jess and I live a couple of hundred miles apart. She lives in Cardiff, I live in London. We work busy schedules and we don’t get to see each other much. We also both love tattoos and don’t take ourselves too seriously. So when I found time to go and see Jess for a couple of days in June, we decided the best course of action would be to get matching tattoos, for no other reason than because we are great friends, and because it will remind us that we’re always there, even though most of the time we’re, er…not.

It’s common for couples to get matching tattoos, but what about the ‘buddy tattoo’ (I may have just coined that phrase…)? When Lord of the Rings finished filming in 2002, the nine members of the Fellowship of the Ring got matching Elvish tattoos. Earlier this year, Adele and Joy Williams from The Civil Wars got a tiny matching friend tattoo after being on tour together.

Our friends mean the world to us. And we express that in different ways. Jess and I chose a little, girly Russian Doll tattoo, for no other reason than because we LIKED it (and that’s reason enough). Some of our friends shook their heads at us and called us silly, but to us (and to every girl out there who loves tattoos and is comfortable in her own – colourful – skin) it made perfect sense.

Tasha Pollendine

Jess headed to Physical Graffiti in Cardiff and spoke to Tasha Pollendine, whose cute and colourful style of tattoos we had looked up online and loved. Tasha drew us a pair of gorgeous pink matching dolls based on a picture Jess showed her. All that was left was for me to take the National Express to Cardiff and for us both to jump in the chair…

Photo inspiration The original inspiration

Photo: etsystatic.com

Russian doll drawing The stencils

 

While we had our tattoos done, we both chatted to Tasha who was easygoing, friendly, patient and very talented. I grilled her, interview-style on how, why and when she got into tattooing, and made her snort with laughter and have to stop tattooing me at one stage, when I asked her if she’s ever sneezed and accidentally drawn a huge ink line down someone’s arm (probably better not to put a tattoo artist off like that when they are making permanent marks on your skin, guys). The atmosphere in the shop was relaxed, and we spent a fun couple of hours talking to the other tattoo artists and customers. Jess and I chose to have our tattoos in different places on our bodies (a nod to our own individual personalities) – she chose the back of her left ankle and I chose the back of my right upper arm.

 

Jess-under-the-needle

Christina under the needle

I’m back in London now, and don’t know when I’ll see Jess next. But I now have mini-Jess on my arm to remind me that distance doesn’t really matter – good friends will always make time for one another.

 

Russian doll friendship tattoo

I think that Mini-Jess is definitely the cutest tattoo in my collection so far. Thanks Tasha – I’m sure I’ll be back to get tattooed by you again!

The matching ink

 

Tattoo artist – Kim-Anh Nguyen

Kim-Anh is a 22-year-old girl, who lives in a little town in Geneva (Switzerland) called Carouge. She loves tattooing, drawing, watercolour painting, books, collecting useless things and travelling.

Kim-Anh Nguyen tattooing
Kim-Anh Nguyen at work

She has created some beautiful, girly tattoos.

Kim-Anh Nguyen kewpie flash sheet
Here is some of her flash - lots of cute kewpie dolls

Kewpie dolls are based on illustrations by Rose O’Neill – they appeared in Ladies’ Home Journal.

Kim-Anh Nguyen kewpie
The kewpie flash on the flesh - come to life
Kim-Anh Nguyen flash
Kim-Anh Nguyen flash - spot the kewpie
Kim-Anh Nguyen flash sheet
More girly flash
Kim-Anh Nguyen tooth tattoo
Quirky little tooth tattoo
Kim-Anh Nguyen tattooed feet
Tattooed feet on blogger - www.oizo2rue.com

She will be guesting at the Jolie Rouge in London from 19-24 March. Might have to book an appointment…

All photos from Kim-Anh’s blog

Happy Birthday Th’ink

Happy Birthday blog.

I realised last night that my blog is now just over a year old and I let the occasion slip by without so much as a mention. So,  I would like to use this post to celebrate and thank all of you, my readers, for your support and comments over the past year. When I started this blog I didn’t think for a moment that I would meet so many inspiring people and receive so many encouraging comments. I have also been shortlisted to win an award from Cosmopolitan.

What a first year! Let’s hope the next is just as successful…

Claire and her vintage-inspired ink

Get your tat outFeature girl: Claire Cocks
Location: London
Occupation: Cataloguer at an autograph auction house and retailer

Claire CocksClaire Cocks

 

Victorian Silhouette Tattoo
Victorian Silhouette Tattoo

Where did you get your tattoos done?
I got my silhouette by Lucy at Into You and my Victorian lady “Gwendolen” by Miles at Frith Street.

What got you into tattoos and what was your first tattoo? I’ve always loved tattoos, but I was a bit dubious about whether I’d want something so permanent, until last year! I mentioned to a friend what I had in mind and he gave me a list of artists to check out and away I went. At first I wanted a simple cameo within an ornate frame, but the design evolved until I decided on a solid black silhouette portrait of my mum.

Are you planning any more tattoos? Yes definitely – although it took a few months after Gwendolen to think about having another one. I’d love to get a skull and crossbones that I saw on the floor of the Campo Santo in Pisa. The crossbones have a ribbon tying them together and I love the juxtaposition of the two. I’m also looking into getting a Victorian animal engraving, so I’m hunting around second-hand bookshops for an original drawing to work from at the moment.

Where did your inspiration come from? Victorian engravings and adverts, woodcuts, history of photography.

How would you describe your style? Vintage inspired, but without sticking to any particular period or style, although I’m always keen on Victoriana, 1920s cross-dressing (Louise Brooks in ‘Beggars of Life’) and the 80s 1940s revival.

Is there anyone you would like to get tattooed by?
I’d love to get tattooed by either Volko Merschky or Simone Pfaff from Buena Vista Tattoo Club – their designs are amazing. I saw them at work at the London Tattoo Convention and it has definitely spurred me on to do some saving!

Victorian Corset Tattoo - Gwendolen
Victorian Corset Tattoo - Gwendolen

Do you have a favourite tattoo? As I only have two I think it would be unfair to have favourites!

Do your tattoos have meanings? The portrait of my mum is commemorative – I wanted something really simple in a place that I could always see. Luckily she liked it. Gwendolen on the other hand is just pure aesthetic joy – a corset advertisement I found one day and fell in love with!

Clash Dolly tattoos

Get your tat outName: Ami Volkert, Clash Dolly, London

Clash dolly Ami
Clash Dolly Ami

What do you do?
I run a vintage stall called Clash Dolly on Brick Lane Market, I also do freelance styling.

Eyes on the prize
Eyes on the prize
Mermaid back tattoo
Mermaid

What got you into tattoos and what was your first tattoo?
I looked at heavily tattooed people and really liked what I saw. I always knew I wanted a big tattoo, but just wasn’t sure what I wanted and wasn’t brave enough. So to start with I got some little tattoos, which have now been covered over, thank god. My first big piece was the mermaid on my back.

What inspires you?
Street art and street style, I love clashing different cultures and styles, I think this inspiration comes from growing up in London. I love mixing Indian style clothes and accessories with ’90s street style.
In terms of tattoo inspiration I liked the war-time pictures in my Nan’s house and images of ladies, haha, I like women.

Dancer on legWho would you like to get tattooed by?
Saira Hunjan, I love her Indian style.

Love Doll tattoo
Love Doll

Have you got anything else planned?
I think I want a different style from my other tattoos, maybe some henna-style tattoos on my legs and feet. I love clashing different styles in clothing and this carries through to my tattoo style too. I really like dot work, e.g. Xed LeHead.

Do you have a favourite tattoo?
I love my mermaid, it’s by Silvia Zed. She does amazing portraits, she works at Lal Hardy‘s shop, New Wave Tattoo.

Do your tattoos have meanings?
They do to me, but it’s hard to explain them in words, I like to keep things to myself.  People don’t always get it and it’s nice little feeling for me, I’ll let other people take what they want from them.

Lady tattooTake a look at Ami’s website: www.clashdolly.com

Photos: Olivia Snape