Friday, October 1, 2010

The day of tattoo

Several years ago when my grandmother saw my tattoos for the first time she surprised me by asking why I hadn't come to her for a design. My grandmother was an artist with piles of illustrations that would make wonderful tattoos and while the idea had more than crossed my mind I never asked. She didn't like tattoos. She was a very vocal woman with very strong opinions and I was well aware of what she thought of tattoos, so I hid mine from her for several years, not wanting to disappoint her and become one of "those people" in her eyes. It was only the wretched heat of a Long Island Summer that made me bare my arms and expose my secret. I watched as she caught sight of my shoulder, as she took in the bold black ink that was now a permanent resident on her granddaughter's body. She simply said "Why wouldn't you have used one of my drawings?"

A week later a large envelope arrived in the mail. It contained a pile of her drawings and a single sentence: "For your consideration."

My grandmother passed away rather suddenly in July. My family had just moved my grandparents upstate and we had barely had time to get them settled before she was gone. It's been difficult.

A few weeks before her death we were watching The Shining (one of her favorite movies) and I mentioned that I was getting ready to get one of her drawings tattooed. She was thrilled with the prospect and anxious to see what I chose. As always, in times like this, I wish I had chosen sooner.

I chose the little bird from her fountain illustration (above) and added a little color to the belly. I couldn't be happier with my choice. :)



My friend, Daniele, also got a tattoo. She ran her first marathon last year and will run another one this weekend.

26.2
That's how many miles are in a marathon. I don't know how she does it. That girl's got moxy. She's had a difficult year and I couldn't be prouder of her. :)

A very special thank you goes out to James Spiers of Model Citizen Tattoo in Ithaca, NY. James was the very first tattoo artist I ever went to around 8 or 9 years ago. I now have three by him and a future of many more, I am sure. He is working on a large commemorative piece for Daniele so we will be seeing him again soon. I can't wait to see what he creates for her!

It was a great day with a wonderful friend. :)


10 comments:

mairedodd said...

thank you for sharing that - and i am so very very sorry about your grandmother... i am glad that she was so eager to have part of her become a part of you (and not in the obvious genetic-type of way)...

EB Bead and Metal Works said...

I am so sorry to hear about your grandmother. Though it is cool that she wanted you to use one of her drawings for your next tattoo and that she knew what you planned.

Norma's Clay said...

Great anecdote. It seems your grandmother was a great person. Now you have her with you all the time.

Tam said...

it's awesome, I love the small dash of color on the belly, what a wonderful way to honor your Grandmother. My Gram passed away in July also, I'm currently toying with sketches for a tattoo to honor her and her very important role she played in my life. :)

Alice said...

So sorry to hear of your grandmother's passing. I'm happy you wear a part of her on your arm, and I'll bet she is smiling because of it.

Libby Leuchtman said...

Wonderful story. Great tat.

Jen V. said...

What a lovely way to carry your grandmother along with you! It's just perfect. :) I can see that design in porcelain...

Jill at Liv'nGood Jewelry said...

What a great story, thanks for sharing.

Like your gradmom, my Mom was never a huge fan of my tattoos. But when she passed last fall it just seemed right to get a red rose (her favorites) for her. I finally got it done about a month ago and it really means a lot, just like I'm sure your birdie does.

Genea said...

I'm sorry to hear about your grandma :( The tattoo is a lovely commemoration of her work :)

swopemelmel said...

Your tattoo is awesome !!! And I love the pic with you reflected in the mirror. You are one SUPER COOL CHICK. mel mel