I just shed a tear. I’m so unprepared.

Gettin' stabbed

This past Saturday I spent oh just so many hours getting stabbed. I had mentally prepared for three hours work but by the time all was said and done, I’d been under the needles for close to four and a half hours.
You mentally prepare for the pain of getting tattooed. That hour and a half for which I’d not prepared was some of the worst tattoo-pain I’ve ever experienced.

As always, though, it was completely and utterly worth it.

New peacock by @brooketattooer! (plz get all your cock jokes out now)
(tattoo by Brooke Newnham of Tattoo Machine)

He doesn’t have a name, my wee peacock friend, but I would like to point out a few things:
1. I only just found out there’s a Katy Perry song called Peacock
2. Yes I’ve heard the “but I thought you gave up the cock” joke already.
3. No, it wasn’t even funny the first time.
4. Okay maybe a TINY bit funny but ONLY the first time.
5. I really hate that song.

He’s important to me, and you know what? I’m not sure that this time I feel like sharing it. Isn’t it enough he’s so damn pretty?

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NZ Tattoo and Art Convention, New Plymouth

On a sunny Friday afternoon, four friends and I headed four and a half hours up the North Island to New Plymouth for the annual Tattoo and Art convention.

Friday: on the road to New Plymouth

We ate at a cute wee cafe, the Federal Store, it was perfect until I realised that each word ending in S on the sign also had a possessive apostrophe. Then it was almost better.

Cutest wee cafe - the Federal Store

I adore the diversity of the crowd at the convention; there were young people with tattoos, old people with tattoos, people without tattoos, families with young children, families with old children, rockabilly, punk, goth, bogan, middle class, gay, straight. We were all there.

Overlooking the festival

Saturday: Nicole Draeger hard at work

Dude getting stabbed

Prints for sale

Sunday: purchasing a print by Amanda Cain

Booths at the festival

After 9 hours over two days at the festival the five of us came home with five tattoos amongst us. Of course three of those tattoos were on me.

And a big fuck off dagger. By Dan Smith!

Dan Smith stabbed this dagger into my arm.

Getting the stencil on - Dan Smith tattooing me (Photo by Mark Harris)
photo by Mark Harris

Yes, he is the kiwi guy from LA Ink. Yes, I did book in early – I emailed in April for an appointment in November. Yes, it was worth it. Yes, that’s my forearm.

"A ship is safe in harbour, but ships were not meant for that" tattoo by William P Brown

A ship is safe in harbour, but ships are not made for that. Last minute flash tattoo by William P Brown from Shanghai Charlie’s in Sydney.

Wearing my heart on my sleeve. By Tilly Dee

Wearing my heart on my sleeve. Smitten by Tilly Dee from Mimsy’s Trailer Trash Tattoo in Brisbane.

Au Revoir Mt Taranaki

Poppies in October

All done. Now dead.
Poppies. Tattoo by Victor J Webster

Poppies in October

Even the sun-clouds this morning cannot manage such skirts.
Nor the woman in the ambulance
Whose red heart blooms through her coat so astoundingly –

A gift, a love gift
Utterly unasked for
By a sky

Palely and flamily
Igniting its carbon monoxides, by eyes
Dulled to a halt under bowlers.

Oh my God, what am I
That these late mouths should cry open
In a forest of frosts, in a dawn of cornflowers.

— Sylvia Plath (27 October 1962)

Today I got the poppies tattooed. I had vaguely remembered the poem but not that the month was October. And, you know, Plath wrote that on her last birthday alive. Her 30th birthday.

I hadn’t looked up the poem before I got the tattoo. I turn 30 next week.

xx xx

I am, of course, just overthinking this all. It’s just a strange strange coincidence. Also, I am not even in the slightest bit suicidal. So there’s that.

This tattoo, oh, it hurt so bad. SO bad. I hadn’t had my hip tattooed since October 2010 and yeah, there was a reason it took me three years to get the nerve to get another hip tattoo.

Both Victor and Simon Morse complimented me on how well I sit while getting tattooed. Like the terminator, apparently, I just shut down and don’t move. It’s not the most useful talent to have, but I will take it.

But I think my favourite moment was when Victor asked how old I was and, after being told I was a week away from 30, had me repeat myself and then told me he thought I was 23. This baby face of mine is both a blessing and a curse.

Love is the bone and sinew of my curse.

A no-good very-bad tattoo experience.

Pity the artist was such a dick, I do like this tattoo

Before I begin, a few caveats.
Perhaps the artist & I just didn’t get along.
I haven’t heard anyone else complain about him. The studio is still excellent, this was a guest artist. I’m not sure I want to name either of them.

I’d seen the artist’s work on Instagram & as soon, literally as soon, as I saw that he was booked to do a guest spot in NZ I was sold.

I sent an email asking if he could tattoo me, if he had any time on the Friday or Saturday of his visit as I would be flying up to Auckland, not the easiest or cheapest thing.
I also asked if he was keen to do the kind of tattoo I was after, a symmetrical flower similar to ones I had seen in his portfolio but in bright “feminine” colours like pink and purple. I told him I was looking to get it done on the back of my neck.

He seemed to have no queries as he emailed me back and set up an appointment.

I arrived at the studio 10 minutes before our appointment time (I am punctual to a fault). The first thing he asked me was where I was getting the tattoo again. He seemed annoyed the back of my neck was so small.

He huffed about the place shrinking it down – telling me about how he would have to simplify what he’d shown me, and that if he made it too small it would look “shit.”

From the outset I told him that I would trust his instincts as he was the artist and if he had any other idea about placement, I was open to it.

After trying to put the stencil on a few times, barely saying anything or telling me what he was doing, pushing my head this way and that, we had the following conversation:

Him: I can’t make it fit. I’ve already shrunk it about 20%. If I do it any smaller it’s going to look shit. I’m not sure what you want to do …
Me: Oh.
Him: Yea. This won’t work on your neck. I’m not sure what you want to do.
Me: Uh. Well I don’t want to just leave it, I flew all this way …
Him: ………..
Me: Ummm. Would it work as a shoulder cap?
Him: uh yea, I suppose.

So we did it as a shoulder cap and halfway through the tattoo he disappeared.

Stings

He’d just finished the outline when he put down his tattoo machine, took of his gloves, and left the room. He didn’t say anything to me or to either of the two artists in the room and just left me there. He came back, eventually.

He asked me what colours I wanted I told him “like I said in my email, girly colours, pinks, purples, turquoise, yellow, unexpected colours.” His petulant response?
“Oh. So all the colours I don’t do.”
He stormed around the studio making a big show of borrowing colours from the other artists. I was such an imposition.

It was at this point I wanted to tell him to just forget it, that I would get someone else to finish it, but I’ve never done that before. I’m pretty sure that’s something that’s just not done. I was also pretty sure I would burst into tears if I tried to talk, and I didn’t want to give him the satisfaction.

If I had any kind of hint when I’d emailed him that he would be anything other than pleased to do this tattoo? I wouldn’t have flown to Auckland. I wouldn’t have done all of this. I could have avoided this whole stinking mess.
I could have a tattoo that I just like, not one where I’m reminded of a jerk.

When he was finished he didn’t even take a photo, he barely let me look at it, wrapped my arm, told me about after-care, and I got out of there as quick as humanly possible. On the street I called Craig and sobbed.
Shortly thereafter I unfollowed him on instagram.

Post-tattoo, post-crying jag

There’s no moral to this story, I haven’t really learnt any kind of lesson.
I guess some people are just jerks.

Fluctuat Nec Mergitur

Devon Anna freaking Smith

This past weekend I added to my walking art gallery.
I commissioned Devon Smith to design a tattoo for me based on one of her paintings.
It’s beautiful.

I had it stabbed into my skin by Char at Dr Morse Inc as she’s got skills with lovely delicate drawings and, well, I decided to get it done before I knew Devon was heading to Dunedin to become a tattoo artist herself.

One more session a few weeks from now and it’ll look something like this

Sketch from Devon

I’m pretty damn lucky.

Oh Winter

I really do enjoy winter. I am, at heart, a cold-weather girl.
However, for event crisp clear morning there are days of grey and gloom and grizzle. Those days I cannot abide.
I struggle with winter, is what I’m saying.

Snow on the Buddha

As such, I am pleased my calendar is filled up. In order to stave off the mean-reds of SAD I have booked myself to the hilt with things to make me smile.

It all starts this Saturday with a brunch. I find that most good things start with a brunch.
After that I have two different tattoos booked, five film festival films, a 29 hour trip to Auckland for friends and art and more brunch, Wellington on a Plate, a hangi night with family, an engagement party, and a weekend away in Greytown.

All of this in the next … five weeks.

And in between it all, should I get bored and cold and despondent, I have warm knitting to keep me warm and my hands engaged.

Winter’s not looking too terribly bleak right now.

Tuesday: freaking winter

Note: the snow photo is from the crazy winter of 2011

365 in 2013

365 in 2013

Sunday: family dinner at SMK
Sunday
Headed back to a grey Wellington and went out for dinner with my family – where we arrange the bottles on the table by height.

Monday: death's head butterfly stabs
Monday
A wee stylised Acherontia Styx friend for Grumpy Cat.

Tuesday: the feijoa that haunted my day
Tuesday
This feijoa sat on my desk all day – it wasn’t mine and I felt bad just eating it. I lasted 6 hours before I gave in and ate it.

Wednesday: lived like a Friday
Wednesday
The night before ANZAC day so of course we treated it like a Friday night.

Thursday: a no-good very-bad ANZAC day
Thursday
Which was then followed by a no-good very-bad ANZAC day. I hid from the world and then drank a glass of wine.

Friday: backup lights in the beehive
Friday
Walking down the beehive on a Friday evening – they were doing work on the Saturday and had installed emergency lighting so they could turn the main lights off. I mean, I presume.

Saturday: flowers at Laura's and a Jewish honey cake behind it
Saturday
Laura had Kim and Kate and I around to watch The Hour (yes, again) but just a few episodes this time. She made delicious Jewish honey cake.

&

I really really should get better at the self portrait part of this. It’s just, the light in our room is so terrible. It’s only ever too bright or too dark.

365 in 2013

365 in 2013

Sunday: first full run of the play
Sunday
We did the first proper full run of the show, it finally feels like it’s really coming together.

Monday: new toy!
Monday
My new toy arrived!

Tuesday: rehearsal - curtains going up
Tuesday
Getting curtains up at rehearsal. There’s a lot of cobbling together but it works.

Wednesday: pretty Hibernian building
Wednesday
I think this is my current favourite building in Wellington, the old Hibernian society.

Thursday: leaving rehearsal early - during the glorious sunset
Thursday
Sunset past the Days Bay wharf as seen from the bus on my way back into town post-rehearsal.

Friday: house hunting
Friday
Wait, strike Wednesday’s words, this villa on The Terrace is currently my favourite building in Wellington.

Nursey stabbing Craig
Saturday
Nursey gave Craig and I matching #kittygang tattoos.
(more on that tomorrow)

&

Curllls

Cold Dead Heart.

Bad Ass

On Sunday night I was wincing around the apartment with my newly-tattooed thigh. Every time I sucked breath in through my teeth Craig would look over at my and say “oh, poor baby”*

Me: gah, don’t say that!
Craig: what? why?
Me: don’t feel sorry for me! It’s my own damn fault.
Craig: … I don’t feel sorry for you. It’s called COMPASSION.
Me: … oh.
Craig: hmmmm.
Me: … no wonder I didn’t recognise it?

This probably says more about me than I would care to admit.

*yes, I know, hush, it’s the cutest