Thursday, February 5, 2009

My Ink - and why I've got 'em....

It started when I was barely 20. I had just gotten married, but was still figuring out who I was. A friend I worked with and I got a wild idea to go get a tattoo on our lunch hour one day. Now, I was very young and silly. I collected pigs. So, naturally I got a pig tattoo - a flying pig. Then life went on. I always enjoyed the silly pig, but as I grew up, it became less and less "me".

My little pig, 12 years after being done, kinda faded and sad... and soooo not me!

Fast-forward to about 3 years ago. I went with a group of friends to offer support while they got tattoos and the bug just bit again - hard! I started with a sweet little butterfly on the top of my foot. As I grew up, I realized how much I love the beauty in nature - both for the beauty itself and for the amazing realization that God created all the beauty around us! The butterfly symbolizes both for me - beauty; you just don't get much more beautiful that a delicate, colorful butterfly - and a constant reminder of the gift God gave me in the death and resurrection of Jesus. A butterfly starts its life very humbly - as a caterpillar, then builds the coccoon and essentially dies, and is rebuilt, resurrected into the beautiful butterfly! And then I had that symbolism with me all the time - loved it!

Butterfly #1, right foot

Well the tattoo bug never really went away, I started thinking about other ink options. But I had that stinkin' pig on my back - the pig that really didn't mean all that much to me. How could I work any more beautiful, natural images into a landscape that had a flying pig on it? So I started tossing around the idea of cover-ups. I had some consultations with my favorite artist, Jennifer at Fine Line. I found the perfect images; she tweaked 'em to combine them and add things to just perfectly cover up that little flying pig. I ended up with another beautiful, natural, symbolic butterfly, sitting on top of a gorgeous flower. Oh how I love that piece!

This is the morning after it was done - so very bright and vibrant; the colors have darkened some now, but I still Love this piece! The pigs wings are the left tip of the butterfly wing and the tip of the leaf on the right! You can't even believe it, can you?

And yep - they are totally addictive. My next one was just another year later and it was gonna be a doozy. I knew I wanted another pretty major piece. I did a lot more looking again. Found just what I wanted and made my appointment with Jennifer. While I love the look of tattoos and I think they're beautiful, I know not everyone does. So, being practical and knowing I may actually have to be out in the working public again one day, I knew I had to keep this big mama in a place that could be hidden when it eeded to be, but that I still knew was there and could enjoy - so there it went. On the spot typically called the "tramp stamp" spot. But, again - love it! Another big, beautiful, colorful, symbolic butterfly sitting atop a series of incredible flowers and swirls and colors. This was major. It is huge and I love that it is. It's got a lot going on and amazing colors and it made me feel like a Tough Chick when it was all said and done - even though it about killed me as it was being done.

OK - not the best pic, but it's on my agenda. This is just one a friend took on her camera phone, in a restaurant. It's a little dark and the colors are not showing as brilliant as they really are! And yes, those are her fingers pullin' down my britches a little bit...

Now that I was definitely a tattooed chick and several of my friends were as well, it was sort of a running joke to get everyone inked! Well, now comes the time last summer when our dear friend, Allison was preparing to move away to Colorado. We have a wonderful "small group" of friends here in KS and we wanted to cement that friendship. It was Allison's idea to get tattooed together! We tossed around the idea of ruby slippers - for the Wizard of Oz connection, but settled on sunflower tattoos for everyone! We all ended up with slightly different, but definitely friendship-bonding sunflowers. Mine is on the top of my other foot.
Sunflower on left foot - Original Art by Jennifer at Fine Line!

Both foot tattoos together! So stinkin' cute!

And last night I got to add the one piece I felt was missing. I've wanted a dragonfly tattoo since my great-grandmother's funeral 2 years ago. The pastor officiating over the service told a neat story:

A group of very content worms lived deep in a pond. They went about, leading their wormy lives very happily. Every so often they would notice that one of their friends would disappear. They never really knew what happened to them. Some of these wormy friends were discussing the disappearances one day when one of them announced that when it was her time to disappear, she would make her way back to her friends and tell them what had happened.

Some time went by and that particular worm began to change and make her way to the surface of the pond. Soon she broke through the surface of the water and She Could Fly! She had become a beautiful dragonfly! She flew about - looking at the clear surface of the pond, she could see her now-brilliant colors and amazing wings. She looked around her and could not believe the incredible beauty around her - the sky, the grasses, flowers, trees and so much more.

And then she remembered, her friends - she had to go back and tell her the wonders that appear when they disappear and break the surface of their home, the pond. She tried and tried, but she could not get back down to the depths of the pond. She wanted to reassure her friends, to tell them she's alright and that they'd be in this beautiful world with her one day, but as much as she wanted to, she couldn't. But she'd think of them every day, with love, until their time to join her.
Again, a pretty dark picture. I'll update with a better one soon. I tried to take this one myself by shooting blindly backwards into the mirror! But, there she is!

Love that analogy! Last night, I added my dragonfly. It's now part of my butterfly and flower and I love it!


Laura Fluke said...

I love the stories behind the tattoos, it makes it special when they mean something. Love being "branded" with ya! Great post and pictures....

Candy Graber said...

Dawn, They are all beautiful! I love them, I wish I could get another, but Chad would not hear of it, so I'll just have to live vicariously through you girls!