It has been a lot of months since I last updated this blog. I have been up to quite a bit at times, but very little of it has been directly related to my art, and none of it related to my sewing. The time since last September has been about trying to finish the Move That Will Not End (which started about a year and a half ago), and the ups and downs of my ongoing symptoms. My previous post was about henna tattooing, and my plans to work an event in November. Sadly, I realized from working a whopping three hours on that single afternoon that I was not actually well enough to work an event, so I missed that.
As far as my health goes, on my good days I’m actually capable of leaving behind the cane, have a steady hand, and the ability to focus. On my bad days I still have trouble with meeting my basic needs. Really, I feel like my progress stalled out over the past year, while the move has forced me to overexert myself again and again, and I keep kicking myself in the ass with downswings. However, now that I am in a stable home again, with a functional kitchen I can control, and a healthy environment, I am optimistic that my health will get moving in a more consistently positive direction. I’m eating better food at home and able to avoid fast food (which was an unfortunate staple while my living situation was unstable), and returning to a regular yoga routine at home. If I use an app I can stick to an extremely low impact restorative routine, do it when I am able rather than trying to make a class time, and do it for as long or short a time as I am able that day, which usually amounts to 10-30 minutes of stretching and very light balance poses. When I have done yoga regularly, it has helped with my overall wellbeing.
I yearn to be well enough to actually work, be it a job, or just regularly engaging in substantial activities. As I gain hope that my life will move in that direction, of course I find myself constantly contemplating what I should do with myself. I know I don’t want to return to making corsets on commission. The profit margin is too low, and my heart is with my art. I’ve contemplated starting a pattern line, or focusing on teaching, and I may still do those things, but again, my heart is with my art. I enjoy sewing and pattern drafting and teaching, but I LOVE art.
I’m also finding myself inspired for engaging more as a witch and a pagan. I finally have inspiration for a theme and style of tarot deck to create, and I’m enjoying delving into sigil art. I’ve made a few pieces, of which these are two that I posted online.
I created those two sigils because I wanted to acknowledge all the people who have helped me to get as far as I have in my healing process, and whose support continues to lift me up and allow me to continue on that road. I also wanted to encourage my health to continue moving in a positive direction, and for me to feel well more strongly and more often, so that I can have the energy and ability to engage in the things I want to do.
I have also had so, so many people contact me asking if they could use my art as the basis of a tattoo, usually the minimalist art. My answer is always yes. I do, and always have, considered it the highest compliment someone can give me art, to want it permanently inked on their body, to wear it forever, and literally make it a part of who they are.
Which brings me back to a life path that I looked into some fifteen years ago, becoming a tattoo artist. At the time I created a few sheets of flash art, and I spoke with a few tattoo artists about what it takes to become a tattooer. Only one person was genuinely helpful and willing to give advice, and he wasn’t willing to take me as an apprentice. I didn’t have any tattoos (because I didn’t have the disposable income for good tattoos, and I didn’t want bad ones) so no one took my seriously, and I didn’t have the cash to pay up front for someone to be willing to teach me anyway. Even now, I only have one tattoo, which I got in 2006, was unfinished at the time, and since the artist didn’t actually understand what I was asking for it was turning out terrible anyway. I want to remedy that fact, but since I’m still not able to work, that’s clearly not going to be changing much anytime soon, because I still lack the disposable income for high quality tattoo artwork.
So, why am I mentioning tattooing at all? Not only do the original barriers still exist, but because of my illness I am not capable of working, or really being anywhere on a schedule, so even if I did somehow find a formal apprenticeship at a shop, I wouldn’t be able to meet the most basic requirements of being an apprentice.
Yet, I am learning, however slowly. I ended up landing in a cottage on a friend’s property in a rural community outside Sacramento. Another friend of hers ended up landing at her place a few months ago as well. He is a tattoo artist who is no longer working in the industry, and he is willing to show me the basics, is lending me his tools, and will be getting me set up with a kit of my own.
He’s a fellow pagan witch, so we end up on esoteric topics. I created a sigil for him, to help ward off bad relationships, of which he has had more than his share, and as soon as the design was created, he said he wanted me to tattoo it on his hand. I asked if he was sure. He said yes. I asked if he was sure he wanted it on his hand, because there was no way it was going to turn out perfect. He said yes, he was sure. He wants it on his hand, and he doesn’t care if it’s rough.
So that night I drew the design on his hand in Sharpie, but at that point I was too tired for a tattoo lesson, so two nights later he brought over his kit, showed me how to set up and run the machine, how to be sanitary, and put his hand on the table. I grabbed a gourd and drew a few lines to make sure I had some sort of clue, and then got to it, which mostly consisted of me trying to draw straight and him saying “deeper” and “slower” over and over. Since the sharpie was two days old when we started, after the first couple wipes it almost disappeared, making it harder than I would have liked to create an even geometric look. It’s anything but perfect, but I loved how the tattoo machine felt in my hand, and I think I am in love with this medium.
What I find particularly amazing about this first tattoo is the fact that it’s a magical symbol, and an expression of my spellwork and witchcraft. I love doing all sorts of art, but I have a burning desire to make magic with tattoos. It just seems natural and right, so to have my very first tattoo be exactly that kind of tattoo is beyond wonderful to me, and I think a very good sign of things to come.
I’m not ashamed of the learning process, so I’m going to be posting as I explore this new medium. I’ve purchased some cheap practice skins (which are good for lines, but not shading), and today I picked up a multi-color set of fine line sharpies so I can practice free-handing. I don’t have access to a stencil machine, and I want to be able to freehand anyway, so it makes sense to start there. Hopefully by the time I am capable of actually holding down a job this medium will be a beloved friend.
Oh, and I’m still planning to make that tarot deck.
Here’s to possibilities!