Update 5th April 2017:
“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
I love this poem by Kate Tempest. Listing to this track on route to my tattoo appointment was very fitting. Please get listening if you don’t know this incredible artist already!
Hey guys! Further to my original blog below, I’ve now had my sun and moon tattoo finished and am so happy with the final result! Its design really captures these two objects that surround our world…
Our glowing sun
The sun is far from consistent. She is dying (like all living things) and is about half-way through her life-cycle.
Our relationship with the sun changes depending on the time of year and will change as time goes on (a very long time from now the sun will be so big and be the cause of the end of planet earth).
Her surface is a dangerous, bubbling landscape of heat, flames, gas and sun-spots. Hannya’s crazy, unsymmetrical sun-border couldn’t be more perfect.
Our partner in crime, the moon
The moon – always changing yet completely constant – is a reliable friend that has been by our side since the beginning of our creation. He will also be by our side when the planet ends.
The moon always shows us the same face (we never see the other side of it) and that face watches over us as we sleep. The calming colours and facial details in my tattoo show the moon in his most accurate light – still, silent, always present.
I adore the dot-work patterns that surround the piece too – perfectly representational of space and its vast darkness and continual movement.
New blog coming soon…
I really struggled with the sore pain that comes with a sternum tattoo and was very lucky to have such a patient artist. We used a range of Hush anaesthetic products in the final session which were absolutely amazing. Read this separate blog with my tattooist Hannya Jayne telling you all about numbing creams, how they work and why artists choose to use them for particular tattoos.
Here is my stunning new tattoo that I will cherish forever. It’s half-fresh and half-healed so needs a couple of weeks for the colours to settle down!
It was very awkward taking this shot and has made me realise that – as we get more heavily tattooed and have to tackle those funny areas – these booby-and-saggy-bits-photos are going to be inevitable. Sorry not sorry.
Original blog from January 2017:
This week I travelled to Amersham (just outside of London) to get a new tattoo from artist Hannya Jayne. We’ve been planning it for a few months now and I was more than giddy when the moment finally arrived.
I have to say, I don’t think I have been the perfect client with this tattoo. A few days before my appointment, I changed the placement to my stomach. The rough outline Hannya had made was so perfectly symmetrical. As soon as she sent the drawing through to me, I knew I just had to put it somewhere central.
The final design, made by Hannya, is breathtakingly beautiful. Intricate, detailed, complex. Structured and symmetrical yet crazy and unruly, just like nature herself. The design focus on two symbols – the sun and the moon.
This new sun and moon tattoo has an important significance to me. I am always celebrating the earth, and these two elements of our world represent everything I love about nature. The sun and moon are part of intricate cycles that allow us to live and breathe on this planet. The sun gives us everything we need to eat, grow and stay alive. The moon influences so much… from the earth’s water to women’s ovulation cycles and even our moods and emotions.
These two circular images represent life and more importantly for me… change. There is always dark after light, and light after dark. Throughout our lives we have to deal with change – sometimes anticipated but more often than not, unexpected and traumatic. The sun and the moon remind us that change is OK – personal change within ourselves and alterations in our external circumstances.
In Tarot too, these two contrasting cards represent darkness and fears, and positivity and joy. Together they act as a reminder of the balance of life – we must experience (and often embrace) the bad, in order to appreciate the good.
Having been drawn to these motifs for some years, I had wanted a tattoo of them for a while. Many of my tattoos encompass themes of spirituality, nature and the seasons, and I couldn’t wait for my new additions!
An important day
Because these tattoos expressed my invisible connection to these symbols, I wanted to have them tattooed on me by someone that I also felt a connection to. I’ve blogged before about the first time I met Hannya Jayne, and why she has had an influence on me as a writer (and person in general!).
This week we got through about 90% of the linework on the sun and moon tattoo. There are a few more lines to add, shading and also dotwork around the outside. I can’t wait to go back in March and spend more time with Hannya.
Pain, pain, pain!
The stomach is a painful place to get tattooed, but I wouldn’t say it was the most traumatic tattoo session I have ever had. I think the back of my legs (upper and lower) might have been worse, actually.
As time moves forward and I get more heavily tattooed, I am starting to realise that there often is no hard and fast rule with tattoo pain! It can be influenced by so many other factors – type of tattoo machine, style of tattoo and I think most of all, how you’re feeling mentally yourself.
An amazing tattooist
This whole process was made so comfortable because Hannya is such a kind person. As I was spending the day with my chest out, she’d arrived at work early to put the heating on high for me so I didn’t get cold throughout the day!
She made the tattoo bed super comfortable with cushions and blankets. We took lots of little breaks and I was fed sugary sweets throughout the day!
As mentioned, I was able to input into the design and make changes the days leading up to my appointment which meant I was 100% happy with the final artwork, totally at ease and prepared mentally when it came to finally taking my place under the needle.
Every single tattoo artist is different, and all clients are looking for something different too. I think those little touches and an artist with such a lovely personality, makes all the difference for me. I believe that getting tattooed is all about these relaxing and special experiences.
After my session, we were able to catch-up properly (I can’t often talk whilst getting tattooed as I like to focus on my breathing to manage the pain!).
We went for dinner and talked about everything under the sun (and moon) – life, love, family, friends, careers. High points, low points, new years, new ambitions. Fears, desires, hopes, anxieties. Recent happy times that were filled with glowing sun, and recent challenging times when we had found ourselves beneath the grey moon. We don’t speak that regularly, but when we do, I always find it poignant.
I really can’t wait to share my completed sun and moon tattoo with you in a few months. I thought I would feel incomplete with a half-finished design, but it doesn’t worry me at all.
Every day, I will still feel part of the flow of this world, ink or no ink. The never-ending cycles of the sun and moon will continue, no matter what. Beneath cloudy British skies, we may not always see our sun and moon, but they are always there.
The same can be said for some people in my life, like Hannya – we may not meet every day, but when we do, we are reminded of our place in the world.
Hannya also gave me a sample to try of El Gato Negro tattoo aftercare – have you guys used it before? It’s 100% organic, vegan and natural so as someone that hates products filled with loads of unnatural shiz, I can’t wait to test it out!
Words: Beccy Rimmer / Inkluded
Photos: Various, as credited