Tuesday, December 2, 2014

My first tattoo

Passionflower side/back tattoo by Ash Timlin

About half a year ago, during a full day meeting at work about corporate culture, we were asked a lot of personal questions about ourselves. In order to understand what was maybe holding us back from success, we needed to find out what held us back in our personal lives as well. (nb: Perhaps strange in a traditional workplace but not so much for a fashion/tech start-up.) This session was emotionally difficult but at the same time it was cathartic and there were a lot of revelations.

At the start of the day, we began with a question that was tough to answer, "What do you want to achieve in your life but haven't yet?" What was on my list?
- pay off my student debt
- get a dog
- get a tattoo

As inane as that list sounds-- those were my honest expectations of my life (I'm baring my soul here ok?) And then the question that followed was, "And what's your excuse?... Money or time are not allowed to be your answers." So I had no excuses. With my 30th birthday just months away, it seemed like the perfect timeline to just do it. Shit, I was finally going to be decisive about at least one of the above goals.

When I was younger, I was always intrigued with tattoos and piercings. As soon as I was legally allowed to get piercings without parental consent, I went out to get my first "bod mod" with a belly button ring. Piercings were always somewhat temporary compared to tattoos though-- they could always be taken out. If you stretched them, they could shrink back. That's why tattoos were always much more of a commitment and I had never had the nerve to take the leap.

My friend M, recommended Ash Timlin at Imperial Tattoo (and now at Passage Tattoo)-- her portfolio was filled with animals, skeletons and botanicals in beautiful clean black and grey, so I knew that I wanted her to design my tattoo.

I asked for Passion flowers and asked her to design whatever she felt was right; any number or combination of flowers, buds, leaves and climbing vines. Her sketch was so gorgeous, I had no changes at all & wanted to go with it exactly.
passionflower tattoo sketch and outline by tattoo artist Ash Timlin
the sketch & the tattooed outline

She told me that the size and placement of my first tattoo was definitely ambitious. And she was totally right because it was so incredibly painful being tattooed on my side. Strangely enough, it wasn't as bad on my ribs as it was on the small of my waist. That part really had me squirmy. It took a total of 3 hours on two separate sittings and I'm so happy that it healed so quickly for me.

Passion Flower Tattoo by Ash Timlin and Burgundy Wine Sakura Dress from Henkaa.com
wearing: henkaa sakura midi convertible dress in burgundy wine. after the first session healed

I love my finished tattoo so much and I really owe it to Ash's amazing art and the beautiful placement. I'll save the story of why I chose passion flowers for another post because this is getting quite long.

Do you have any ink? What's the story of your first tattoo? I'd love to hear about it!


  1. this is so beautiful, the placement is really nice and that dress you where wearing in the last picture is breathtaking. I've always wanted a flower tattoo, yours is gorgeous.

    1. Thank you so much Abby! Yeah, I'm so happy with going with flowers for just the simple beauty. You should go for it too!

  2. This looks truly beautiful. I've always wanted to get something like this. And hopefully I'll be able to do it in the future.
    But currently I have 4 smaller ones, a butterfly on my shoulder, a bass guitar on my hip, a verse from Ode to a Nightingale on my arm and a tiny compass on my wrist.



    1. Thank you so much Roxanne! I love that you've got so many smaller ones-- I think once you get one it kind of opens the floodgates of possibility :)

  3. Ooooohhhh girl, that looks amazeballs. I didn't know it was the culture session that inspired you to get it (really thought it was the before 30 thing)..but I'm glad it did because it looks WOWZA!

    1. Really it was just that final push of motivation that I needed! Now when are you going to get yours?! ;)

  4. Awwh I'm so jealous when I see your tattoo. It's just beautiful. I have one but it's small. I have 7 bats on my left shoulder. I expected in that hurts but not at all! I want it still full and I know that some are really going to hurt me. But I don't care I want them! :D


    1. Thank you Alexandra! Haha, yes it definitely hurts but you forget very quickly when you're thinking about getting another one :)

  5. Your tattoo is absolutely beautiful! I've always wanted to get a simple black/grey one with roses or peonies but have yet to actually do it. Perhaps one day I will :)
    ~ Ailish

  6. How much did this cost, roughly? It's absolutely beautiful

  7. That interview sounds intense! Cathartic, indeed! I am not a big tattoo person by any means, but that is a very beautiful, elegant tattoo, and it's amazing how perfectly placed it is. It looks great with your clothing. Nice choice!

  8. Absolutely beatiful tattoo and placment. It has always been my favourite place for a tattoo but when I finally got one I was persuaded to get a small one for my first which i dont actually like. So I'm making the leap this year to get it covered with beautiful black and grey flowers too.
    I adore your dress too! Where is it from?? :O


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