THE damask tattoo.

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A few years back I had this weird dream – there was a damask tattoo running down my right shoulder and it was AWESOME. I woke up wanting to run out and get a tattoo – something I’d not previously considered. I thought about it for a long time (I was in my 20’s when I thought of it, 32 now that I actually got it)…

I took my favorite damask designs down to the shop and this is what the artist came up with – I LOVED it – it combined my favorite elements from the inspiration pieces I had given him, and so we set a date.

What is the meaning of it? Well… it’s damask. A pattern found in so many things, and one that has always been a signature “May” pattern too. From clothing to home decor to craft supplies – it’s my #1 favorite and I LOVE the idea of having it as a tattoo as well.

At NO point did I mistake my time there for a trip to the day spa… but I was also never even close to crying over the pain either. For me a key is not focusing on the pain, but paying attention to what’s going on in the shop, talking, etc. so you’re distracted. I was there for about 5 hours (about 4total hrs actual tattoo time). The most painful bit was the dots. I was sure he was drilling holes in me with those puppies. Some of the parts I didn’t even feel, and usually as soon as I had that thought I’d get a whammy of an “ow”. (of course).

Here’s the real truth about any tattoo if you’re thinking about it: it’s not “oh I don’t know if I could deal with pain of getting one” that you should worry about. it’s the days AFTER that hurt. You think getting one hurts? Think about if you’ve ever scraped yourself up real bad or gotten a super nasty sunburn. It’s like that for a few days, and there’s nothing you can do to “undo” at that point!

I figured it’d be no big deal – last time I got a tattoo I was working out the next morning and feeling good! Yeah. My ankle tattoo? cake walk next to this sucker!!

I’m trying REALLY hard not to whine, whimper, or fuss when I have to apply lotion to this or when Becca pokes it. I wanted this. and it’s even more kick ass than I thought it would be.

Design & Tattoo by Angel – owner of Tatt Magic in Fairfield, CA. (I HIGHLY recommend the shop!)

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28 responses »

  1. That’s really cool! Not something I would ever do, but really cool nonetheless! It looks great on you!! I’m sorry it’s so painful though – ouch!!! I hope it feels better really soon!! ((hugs))

  2. It is a beautiful tat, and I know very painful. The furthest I have ever gone, and ever will go, is a henna tat. Loved it and will do it again sometime, but I like that it is not permanent. People I know who have gotten one tat say that it is difficult to stop there and can become almost addicting.

    • I won’t say this second one is the last… But I’d have to come up with idea + love it or a year or more before I did another. Impulsive tattoo art seems like a BIG mistake to me.

      It’s not for everyone- but I’m very happy with what I have done and it’s nothing trendy or that I will cringe over (at least I don’t think so!)

      May

  3. You are brave and it is beautiful! I could never do it because I am terrified of needles and my mom would kill me even though I am in my middle 40’s but secretly I have always wanted a Jeff Gordon tattoo they would just have to put me to sleep to do it!

    • Now I just know you don’t need your momma’s approval for what you do with your grown up self!!!

      That said- I actually have big needle fears and issues too. The tattoo tool actually makes me think of tiny craft knife, so that’s how I think of it.

      If you ever get the tat- be sure to show me!!

      May

  4. The tattoo I can’t stop thinking about getting is a Tim Holtz flourish (you know the one) winding from my ankle around to the top of my foot…. with “make art” written on the curvy edges…. maybe one day I’ll find the required courage to go for it… Until then I’ll just admire *your* courage. Enjoy!

  5. You have my admiration! I have a small sunflower on my shoulder and wasn’t all that comfy getting that. I had it re-colored for Mother’s Day as it had fades over the years. I think that hurt worse than the first go round. Yours is beautiful! I’d love to get another, but don’t know what I want and know I want to love it once I get it.
    I hope your “healing” goes as pain free as possible. I may use you as inspiration for my next one….hhhmmm, what will it be?

  6. hi May,
    Beautiful tattoo! Very personal design to who you are just as it should be. I have a tattoo that winds around my ankle that has a celtic knot on the front and back and my childrens names inbetween with some flowers added. My daughter designed it for me and it is beautiful and very meaningful. I joke that if anything ever happens to me and nobody knows who I am, at least they’ll know that I must have loved 2 people very much. I agree that focusing on what’s going on around you helps with the pain. Compared to my 2 c-sections the tat was nothing. Enjoy your amazing tattoo !

  7. I could never do it myself..but I love the design! The fact that you thought about it for many years makes it even better.

  8. I just have to say…that is BIG. When you said damask, I thought “ok, that’s cool and unique.” But I was thinking little damask…not huge damask! Wow!

    I have some cousins that have tatoos, but it’s not something I’ve been into. I’m a techy chick. I would rather drop that money on a new toy.

  9. Wow, that is one humdinger of a tatto! I love the pattern though May – so very ‘you’. I hope that the pain and itches and uncomfortable-ness goes away quickly and you can just enjoy your new part of ‘you’!

  10. The little duck-man you’ve got hiding in the middle is pretty cool. It reminds me of Maori Art featuring gods. Awesome.

  11. Wowwzaaaa, now that’s a tat!!! Luv it!! I had been pondering getting one off n on for over 20 years(I’m ahem, 55 now…shhhh, dont tell anybody)….and last year on our Hawaiian vacay….I told my hubby I decided to get one for a couple of reasons. One was to honor my mom and dad who passed within 6 mos of each other….:( and the other was to celebrate the wonderful vacation we were having. So yeah….I got with the school of “go BIG or go home”….LOL
    I kinda had an idea of a really decorative, frilly, girly heart design w/an eternal flame(representing the love that will never die for my parents) and of course the art flame in me……when the tat was done(I got a tramp stamp…LOL), I was initially shocked….but the shock has worn off and now it brings a smile to my face when I see the flame and brings back warm memories of my mom & dad…..and our wonderful Hawaiian vacay.
    I love my design….altho I think it will be the only one I will get….hurt too much and I’m a weeny when it comes to pain….LOL
    Enjoyed ur class in Elk Grove…..hope to see you again and your new tat……

  12. Amazing work by your artist who did a really great job with everything (plus you for design work). It looks like white was added for shading am I correct? I would never have thought a black tat could look so good, but it really does! PS – I never see you with your hair up, and that looks good too! Enjoy it! I have the feeling this will not be your last:)

  13. Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I like how you’ve broken down all the details, I feel your pain. I’ve been wanting a tat for quite sometime. Not quite as big and beautiful as yours, but something simple and sweet. I’ve seen some sloppy tats in my neck of the woods. It all comes down to finding the right artist now to complete the job.

  14. I love love love it! It would have made a neat sleeve too. How many hours did it take? And don’t worry about it hurting more than some others. Solid blackwork tends to be more sore for a while than linework since they go over the same spot again and again to get that nice, even look.

    As far as pain is concerned, I’m always telling people, “you never see anyone walking around with half a tattoo because they couldn’t take the pain, do you?” 🙂

    I’m looking forward to getting another soon–a cute little winged rat. 🙂 Awwww!

    Congratulations!

    • Actually- that does happen!!! Maybe not 1/2, but there are people who really freak.

      It hurts- but I never considered being wiggly or quitting. Its all healed and lovely now. 🙂

      Worth the pain.

      May

  15. This is beautiful! Love it!

    I have a tattoo that runs down most of the length of my spine. The lower back hurt like crazy, but like you said, its afterwards that is worse. I had it done in the middle of summer, so not only did I feel scraped up for days, but I was constantly sweating, making it itch even more. I had no idea the skin on my back moved so much in everything I do.

  16. It is beautiful! I only have 1 small one on the back of my neck and the pain before and after was not bad. I am in love with Tim Holtz’s splatter-fly stamp. I debating whether I want to color it in or just have the design done as is on my left foot.

    It seems they can be quite addicting. Why only hang your art on your wall minus well carry it with you always and be able to view it whenever you want to!

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