Erin's Tattoos for Loss and Healing

    Back in Tattoosday's infancy, when it was a weekly feature over at BillyBlog, I neglected to ask someone about their tattoo, and it had continued to nag at me, months later.

    I had just come back from taking pictures of James's tattoos (here) and stopped in Rite-Aid for something. Ahead of me in line, a woman had an incredible black and grey piece that was complex and, I was sure, had great meaning.

    But I had yet to successfully get pictures from someone that I didn't know previously, although I did manage to break the barrier and compliment her on the work, which to me was a small
    victory in itself.

    So, last Saturday, I was walking down my block when two women passed me and there it was, there she was, and this time, after 9 months of talking ink with complete strangers, I had no problem asking what this was all about.

    Erin even vaguely remembered my compliment in Rite-Aid from the summer before. Her right biceps actually is comprised of three pieces, all of them inked by Todd at Hardwire Tattoo in Wilmington, North Carolina.

    Her first element is the phrase "Until we meet again".
    Erin's father passed away when she was very young, and the quote is a phrase that resonated with her in an obituary written for her father by one of his close friends.

    Words can be healing, across the years, and the phrase is a powerful reminder of her father's memory.

    The piece was enhanced by the tree and, an element that I didn't notice when I first saw the tattoo months ago, the dandelion, which is on the inner part of the arm.

    Erin loved the tree design and had it placed in a way that the "until we meet again" phrase runs in the foreground, creating the impression that they were part of the same design.

    The dandelion is a flower that is often associated with childhood. What kid hasn't made a wish and blown on a recently-plucked dandelion to watch the seeds scattered by the breeze? The dandelion on the inner arm wraps around and the seeds blowing away actually drift into the other element of the tattoo, making the two pieces become one.

    The part that, I believe, binds the whole tattoo together is the piece above the tree:

    This is a depiction of a heart that has been ripped in two. However, it has been mended, held together by thread that binds it. Note the needle still sticking out of it in the upper left corner of the heart.

    The image is inspired by the fact that Erin's mother was a seamstress by trade, and despite the tragedy of her husband's (Erin's father) death, she kept the family together. It's a nice tribute and a fitting homage to the woman who held the family together, in the face of great loss.

    Many thanks to Erin for sharing her amazing tattoos with us here on Tattoosday!

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Erin's Tattoos for Loss and Healing

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