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Your ink: a map of memories

Every tattoo has a story. That’s why I love chatting to people who have something to say about their tattoo decisions. So far we’ve heard the tattoo tales of Lainey, Binx and Hayley.

Today I sit down with Rose Adolph – tattoo-lover and all round lovely individual. If there was ever a person I wanted to interview to represent the fact that tattoos can be meaningful… Rose was the one. Her intricate and symbolic tattoos are her life map, marking feelings and moments in her world so far. Her love for storytelling shines through as she tells Inkluded the tales behind each piece of ink.

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Hi! Tell us about you.

Hi! I’m Rose, I’m 26 and a freelance Costume Supervisor and Wardrobe Mistress for theatre.

When did all your tattoos start?

I had my first tattoo when I was 18. It’s a flower on my hip, it literally happened because I had a free period in Sixth Form and I was feeling rebellious. This was closely followed by a tribal turtle on my foot which I doodled myself when working as a receptionist. The shell is a rose and the bubbles and weeds represent friends and family. I have a bit of a thing for turtles, they like to appear at happy moments in my life: hatching on a beach on holiday when I was 14, in the ocean on holiday with friends when I was 19, at my feet in Thailand aged 22, everywhere in China where I am at the moment… they follow me around.

I had a humming bird added to my hip flower in 2012. My first piece with colour in it. At the time I was worrying a lot about family and the humming bird reminds me of when we were in a hurricane when I was small. The next day the hummingbirds had survived the winds and just needed some TLC. It’s about the only thing I remember from the event but it reminds me that we all can overcome anything if we choose to.

I later had waves added to my turtle on my foot at Frith Street Tattoo in Soho. Partially because I love the water (I used to be a swimming teacher and I’m an Aquarius) but also partially because I wanted to improve the quality and clarity of the overall ink. Next was my ladybird on my wrist. This I had done in Thailand with Bamboo. It’s a copy of the Ladybird logo (as in, the books). It has five spots on either side as five is my lucky number and reminds me of my godchildren and the younger members of my family, how much I enjoyed my time working with children at a nursery school, and my love for storytelling.

Last year I returned to Frith Street Tattoo to have the words Love is Love written on my wrist next to my ladybird. This coincided with the implementation of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act in England and Wales, and after 10 years of struggling with relationships and my sexuality, me realising that it really doesn’t matter who I fall in love with.

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What do you love most about tattoos?

My tattoos act as a life map for me, I don’t regret a single one, despite the fact that they vary in style and quality. The styles suit the tattoos and my personality at that time… thats what I love about them. Besides, I have a terrible memory so its nice to be reminded of all the experiences I’ve been through – they are my daily confidence boost!

Do you have any plans for any future work soon?

I want a book on my left thigh. I’d like fairytale objects floating out to meet my hummingbird which would be included as part of it. Objects like an apple, a chipped teacup, an umbrella, etc. I would like them in the old fashioned fairytale illustration style, in black and white, with a bright water colour background.

Got any tips for anyone wanting to get their first tattoo?

Make sure your tattoos are for you, about you. Nobody else.

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