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Rules for Anchorites

Letters from Proxima Thule

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Use Me Like the Pages of a Book
tara--base by delirieuse
catvalente
It is time for a new tattoo.

Many are not aware, because my hair is long and thick and semi-sentient, and will possibly destroy my enemies and ensnare inamorata on its own recognizance, that I have a half-back tattoo. It is a map of Palimpsest, illuminated. I have often thought of getting another, but held off until something of Sufficient Import happened that I wanted to mark. In the case of my map, I was turning 30, and the book meant so much to me.

It occurred to me the other week that possibly, just possibly, making the NYT Bestseller List is a Thing to Mark. Rather a big thing, really. A huge and unlooked-for event.

So now I have to find a thing to put on my skin.

I know I want it to be wrist-cuffs. This has everything to do with my obsession with anchorites and how often I conceive of myself as one--I can't quite have my church, but I can have my manacles. I want a key on one wrist and a lock on the other, to say that I define the walls of my anchorhold, I set myself free, I am the closed thing and the opener all together. And for the sweet, loving Fairyland key. I want a design that wraps my wrist in a thick cuff and flows onto the top of my hand.

And there's where it get stough. Because I want flowing, intricate linework, swirling and gorgeous, perhaps even with bird/wing motifs and fern/thorn/vines, yet abstract, like the shapes and designs of the Alhambra--but if it looks too much like mehndi I feel it steers into cultural appropriation territory and I would feel uncomfortable presenting that to the world every day. But inked hands look a lot like that anyway, and I do love that aesthetic. And it has to be perfect, because I use my hands every day, and must look at them constantly. (Another reason to mark my hands, the way I make my world and my living, my most expressive parts.)

So I do not know when I will do this, or if it is even possible to have all that at once. Any of my beloved artists out there want to take a stab at it? glamour_junkie , maybe? I know designing tattoos is not what any artist really likes to do, but perhaps I can be forgiven.

I am patient. Skin lasts forever.

LOL. Half way through reading this post I was like "OH HELL YES I NEED TO HELP MAKE THIS HAPPEN". I love your plan.

What about one of those locks with a really complicated-design brassplate surrounding it? The plate could wrap around your wrist
like a cuff. A heavily engraved cuff.

The key I'm not sure of. I have to think about it.
Lauretta@ConstellationBooks,
who was originally thinking about illuminated manuscripts when sh first saw your tweet.

Yes, manuscriptiness is good!

I also don't want a steampunk look though.

Sanctuary Tattoo in Portland does absolutely spectacular work. I know folks who've traveled awfully long distances to have ink done with them.

That's definitely who I'm planning to go to.

Go directly to Chris Dingwell at Sanctuary - he's one of the most amazing artists in Portland!

I travel there from Ohio for work by Chris. He's been my artist since he was in Columbus.

My mother is a watercolor painter, and she also wants to mark her right hand, her brush hand, with the tools of her work. She's going to design her tattoo herself, being a painter and all. What you said about I use my hands every day and the way I make my world and my living, my most expressive parts sounds very much like things she's said.

Vixy will cheerfully recommend her tattooist and her artist for her latest kitsune tattoo herself, I am sure. ^_^

I love Vixy's new tattoo! She's one of the few people colorwork looks beautiful on, I think.

I must admit that I don't understand this statement... I have seen many colored tattoos that suit their bearers marvelously and look amazing. I am curious why you feel this way.

(I do not for a moment deny that Vixy's new tattoo looks AMAZING on her.)

I like the idea of defining your own anchorhold

Have you thought about Aubrey Beardsley and other turn-of-the-century English artists as a source of swirly intricate-line inspiration from a European cultural tradition? And/or the Weiner Werkstatte? Because I can imagine wonderful keys in either of those styles that would feel very true to the spirit of your work.

I was also thinking of the Art Nouveau style. Especially if she leans more toward the Horta vortex swirls.

I don't want it to be too twee flowing flowers though...

John Coulthart has some great links here. I was thinking specifically of Josef Hoffmann; some of his bookplates are here, but I think my favorite is the one he designed for Freud.

Swirly, but never twee.

I can't really say anything useful but I wanted to let you know that I really love what you have to say about tattoos, yours in particular and in general. I am crazy for people who really love their ink and want to think and talk about it. ^_^

Ooft, I wish I were more practiced with that style and could help you out!

I was thinking that your flowy line art style would probably work really well with what she was describing.

All that I know about hand tattoos is that my friends who had them said they need twice as many touchups--seriously high impact zone, and stuff blurs much faster. For that reason alone, you might want to lean towards strong linework and designs that won't blur together easily on the hand itself, just to save yourself constant trips to the artist!

Anchorite tattoos sound really cool, though...

Edited at 2011-07-16 04:32 am (UTC)

Not to mention that inking over tendon and bone hurts like a stone bitch, but it is worth it.

Declan WINOLJ [but is on facebook] is doing some amazing things not too far away from you (http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002242179008)

I immediately thought of this stylized owl tattoo when you started describing what style you wanted:
http://fetlife.com/users/19764/pictures/1266547
The artist is in AZ, alas, but I had to show you it.

Will we get to see your map? It sounds amazing!

I concur. (I have secretly wanted to get a Palimpsest tattoo myself & would be curious to see another's.)

I'm glad I'm not the only one who wants a Palimpsest tattoo. I was thinking perhaps a recreation of Lucia's mark.

This sounds so fantastically you; I love it when people find the ideas that are ringingly right for the person that they are.