Tattoo Stories

June 5, 2013

Anathea’s Ink Inspirations

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My first piece was my dragons. I was going through a divorce, had been told I was unable to have kids, and this caused a lot of stress in that relationship. I was invited to Massachusetts to visit friends, and made an arrangement with Jennifer Moore (Sanctuary Tattoo), an amazing tattoo artist in Portland Maine, to work up the art long distance. We had a few phone sessions and she drew up this piece for me, using the double Carrick knot, a popular sailing knot and one that bears my family’s name. She created the image while really keeping in mind my want for a strong, balanced family (in whatever form that may show itself). So the pair of smiling dragons at the top and holding claws represents that union of two souls, and the baby dragon sleeping at the bottom of the piece adds balance and acknowledgement of the greater thing that can be built between people. I went to maine to have the piece done, it took about five and a half hours. When I returned, I found that the seeds had been planted for the most long term and fantastic relationship. I lament at times that I can’t actually see this ink, and find that I get to appreciate it most in photographs!

My second piece is a good sized “Om” symbol on the inside of my left forearm. After living on the east coast for almost a decade, I was preparing to move back to Arizona. My dear friend Shell Moore and I decided to get Oms together just as a representation of our kindred spirits and the way we often reached out to each other to find balance in our hectic worlds. Mine is flanked with Fire and Water, and it is my intention to balance it with Earth and Air on the remaining sides of the Om. Shell went on to build a full sleeve from her Om!

My third piece is a little simple buddha-like figure on the inside of my right wrist. I suffered through a miscarriage on christmas eve one year, and nothing really felt right after that for a while. I drew this little guy as a doodle in the months after the miscarriage. He is Jizo Bodhisattva, the protector of women, children and travelers, and he specifically helps children that have died navigate the transition between life and death. In the Zen tradition, it is common to hold a ceremony invoking Jizo to help heal women who have lost children. My ceremony honoring Jizo and that soul who passed through me was the act of getting this ink.

My (pair of) Sparrows were a gift to me from my girls’ babydaddy. I worked with a reputable shop here in the valley on this take on the traditional “Sailor Jerry” sparrows, one for each of my daughters.I was probably the most excited of all of my pieces to get them. Sadly (So sad!) they became terribly infected and mishapen before they healed. This was the piece that made me think that I would never want to get ink again.. An awful situation that is pretty rare these days. It took more than a year, but I found the PERFECT person to repair them (Stacy Jo Scott, Bittersweet Feral Ink). She repaired the linework and hid the scarring and damage with the lovely cornflower blue that is there, and I love them now more than ever!

My latest piece is the image of a vintage lock from an art nouveau door in old town Boston. I had just come out of a relationship and was rocked to my core with loss. One of the first and biggest lessons that I learned during that period was to find my peace, joy and love from within. I was a veteran of the long term relationship, and it was a big realization to make. You can intellectualize a thing forever, but you can’t KNOW it til you KNOW it, and this piece was a promise to myself — to stop looking outward for love, and find balance and satisfaction in my own truth.


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