Sep 9, 2011

The story behind my memorial tattoo (with pics)

I posted last week that I was going to get a memorial tattoo done for Katelynn.

I am so over the moon happy with it!
Here are some pics.
Sorry for the crappy pics, they were all taken with my cell. I have to fish out my camera.

This is when he first started doing the outline.

This is not blood! This is when he finished the outline and started on the red pieces.

 This is when he started to fill it all in.

All finished! 

 This was taken the next day. It's healing very nicely! 

So onto the meaning...
Hubster is Alaska Native. There are different natives in Alaska, but Hubster is called a Tlingit Indian. His family is all from the southeast region of Alaska, which includes Juneau, Petersburg, Kake, Sitka, and a bunch of other little islands. 
Tlingit artwork is by far my favorite artwork out of everything! 
In his culture, there are Ravens and there are Eagles. It then goes down into tribes, houses, family, clans, etc. The child always takes the side of the mother. Hubster's mother is an Eagle, so he became an Eagle. 

When it comes time to marry, an Eagle cannot marry another Eagle and a Raven cannot marry another Raven. An Eagle must marry a Raven. Since I am not Alaska Native, I have been adopted by Hubster's family as one of them, so I became a Raven. When Eagles and Ravens come together, they produce a heart and are called "Lovebirds". So on my tattoo, that's where I get the heart shape. The Eagle is on the left and the Raven is on the right. 

Because the child takes after the mother, our baby Katelynn would have been a Raven. So I got her name under the Raven side with a raven feather next to her name. 

I knew I wanted something native to memorialize Katelynn because of the heritage that is Hubster's family, but I of course wanted to get his family's permission. Hubster and I looked at designs awhile back because I was thinking of getting just a Raven with Katelynn's name, but Hubster wanted an Eagle on there as well since she was part of the both of us, so I said why not the "Lovebirds"? He was all for it. 
So after I found a picture of the "Lovebirds" that I liked, I went to town and added the name to it.
I showed the picture to everyone in Hubster's family and with the blessing of Hubster's grandmother as well as aunties, uncles, and in-laws, I set it into motion and went to find a shop to do my piece. 

I went to several shops. 
One shop in Anchorage told me, and I'm quoting his own words...."That's going to look like shit". I was so angry. He told me that it was going to have to be a back piece and he was going to charge me $750. I walked right out. I should have known something was up when he was sitting on his butt and playing on his phone with no clients in his shop at all.

I went to another shop and didn't like the way it looked, so I went to another shop and I instantly fell in love with them. 
I looked at the portfolios and talked to both artists. They were so interested in the piece I brought it and were so touched by the story. I knew I found my artist. I decided to go with the artist Carlos because he was so pumped to do some Tlingit artwork. He couldn't stop talking about it the entire time he was tattooing me. 

I am so grateful to have him as an artist and I'm finally at peace. I have my memorial to remember my angel baby. Afterwards, there were lots of hugs all around. I plan on going back to them for other work I want done. 

If you're in Alaska and want to know a good place to go for to get a tattoo, check out Primal Instincts Tattoo at their website or like their Facebook page

Thank you Carlos! 


Lisa said...

It looks great, and what an amazing story behind it! Glad you found a shop you were happy with, they did a fantastic job!

Lin said...

Not only did your tattoo come out great but the story behind it is absolutely beautiful. Love it.

Kasi said...

Hey I just wanted you to know that I just awarded you with 'The Versatile Blogger Award' over at my blog ( Congrats!

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