Saturday, March 31, 2012


I went to Bandana's Skin Art located in Anacortes, WA, and took in some ink, yesterday. I was pretty nervous, only because I wasn't sure how my idea for this grey-washed lotus flower was going to turn out. I had the idea in my head, had a basic picture of the flower, along with a blurred picture of the sanskrit script, and hoped my words would serve the purpose justice. 

My boy came with me, since he had been to this specific shop twice in the last year and was excited to support his ole Ma while getting a tattoo. He sat quietly and took pictures throughout the process.

The beginning of the process started with a 15 minute talk with Bandana Mike about the elements of the tattoo that were important....the image, the shading, the coloring or lack thereof, and the script. Then he started drawing on a type of parchment-looking paper. He adjusted it a few times, then gave me a look at the final work. I approved and he transferred it to transfer paper and then rubbed an outline of the image on my skin. I laid face-down on leather chair/table and he got to work.

The initial pain wasn't too bad. After awhile the outlining became a little painful...for some reason on the left and right sides of the flower. But I breathed and centered and calmed and didn't wince. Then he started the shading, which is multi-needled gun the he "brushes" across the skin. It looked awful, but felt better than the single needled gun. After some black, then some bronze, and finally, some white, the finished product was there...

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Permanent Body Ornamentation

Permanent Body Ornamentation

I have wanted to decorate my skin with art for a long time. I did once, back in college, at the wee age of 21. I chose a drawing that I found scribbled in a used poetry book and placed it on the back of my ankle. I liked it then and even with it's 17 year old blurred appearance, I like it now. Today, though, the only skin art I've hung is that one little ink blot from that time long ago. That fact is due to two causes. One, is that my husband's career as a naval officer leads to events where I am adorned in formal dresses that show my shoulders, upper back, and arms. These locations, then, have been "out" as far as stamping goes. Second, the one that trumps the husband doesn't like tattoos.

I chose not to get one mostly for the second cause. I couldn't reason with myself as to why I would want to permanently place a mark on my body that I knew my husband found distasteful. So, I didn't...for 16 years.

Recently, though, our son recently gained two tattoos, which has brought a lot of discussion about the controversy...even a little heated debate. Through all of the conversation, though, my husband began to soften on his outlook towards the decorative ritual and over the course of a year's worth of conversation on the topic, gave me the seal of approval to brand myself as I wished.

This brought upon me great reflection. What image would I even want on my body? I had not allowed myself to entertain the idea for so long that I didn't even have the answer to that question. The first thing I need to ask myself was, What is my purpose in permanently branding my skin with art? Besides the basic desire for ornamentation, which dates back to civilizations in ancient Africa and India thousands of years ago, I would like the art I choose to serve a purpose. I want it to bring my focus towards an abstract concept that is connected with something important to my own sense of values. What I decided upon was the concept of self-awareness and enlightenment. 

I have been actively pursuing my own awakening and emergence from ignorance for three years now. I  started reading buddhist literature, then began attending Buddhist fellowship gatherings, and even obtained a spiritual guide to help me on my path. Presently, I just read the Buddhist literature, but have recently began reading ancient yogic texts such as the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. I even began the certification process to become a yoga instructor. Regardless of the tool, Yoga or Buddhism, my path towards enlightened self-awareness is solidly stamped upon my lifestyle. It will remain with me for all of my days.

So, with the intention to find an image that brings my awareness to this important abstract concept, I move forward in the direction of obtaining a permanent piece of body ornamentation....

In comes the LOTUS....According to, a " lotus flower fully bloomed and open represents full enlightenment and self-awareness".  This lotus below shows the type of bloom my lotus will have. It will be full and open.

Placement is a pretty important part of this decision, as well. I will  lace the lotus on the base of the neck, where the shoulders meet at the top of the back. The reason for that placement? Here, at the back of the throat, the throat chakra, is a place where the true essence of one's truth resides. Through this chakra, one is able to share and communicate truthfulness.

Lastly, what kind of color does this tattoo need? Well, I am not a colorful person. I love black, grey, navy blue, and dark earth tones. At first a grey was tattoo seemed appropriate, but I am rethinking that. I think I will go mostly grey washed with tips of red color on the petals. The reason for red: on a lotus flower it represents compassion and love. 

In conclusion, I have chosen four important abstract concepts to go into my body, compassion, truth, and, ultimately, enlightenment. The object chosen: a lotus. The placement: the back of the neck. The color: grey wash with red.

Now it's time to call Bandana Mike's Skin Art...but not before I break the news to Husband. Wish me luck on the latter. It may be more painful than the tatto.