Henna Tattooing

A henna being done.

Henna tattoos are an underrated alternative to permanent tattoos.
A henna is a plant used to dye almost anything, but in this case you’d obviously be using it to dye your skin. This is done by mixing the powder with tea or lemon juice.

Things to know

    1. This mixture stains the skin and last for about two weeks.
    2. The “mud” as the mixture is called, needs to stay on your skin for about an hour, but the longer you keep it on, the longer it lasts and the darker it is.
    3. The stain gets darker after you wash it off. Once it reaches its peak color, it fades until it is gone.
    4. There are two types of henna; black henna and true henna.
    5. Black henna is every dangerous and can burn your skin.
    6. The best part of hennas are they’re painless!

The picture on the right belongs to Gary Cobb, and was used according to a Creative Commons license.

The picture above is a henna I got last month.


Q & A with Kristen MacMillan; a student who believes people shouldn’t judge others because tattoos

Kristen MacMillan is a Rowan University student with four tattoos and six piercings. She believes people shouldn’t judge others for their tattoos and they sHip sparrowshouldn’t take tattoos as an invitation to be rude to someone with a tat.

Q: Do any of your tattoos hold special meaning?
A: My tattoos all hold meaning, even if the meaning behind the physical artwork isn’t about my life or experiences. Getting a tattoo is a meaningful thing, because it’s something I enjoy and look forward to. The sparrows on my hips don’t have any philosophical meaning, but I got them during a really fun day, and they remind me of the people I spent that day with. My dream catcher holds the most symbolism, with the number of the feathers and beads representing things in my life. I don’t think a tattoo must have some deep meaning; if someone decides that it’s something he or she wants, let ’em do it! Artwork’s meaning isn’t always face-value, and that’s what tattoos are, in the end: art.
Q: Do you have a favorite form of modification?
A: My favorite form of body modification is definitely tattoos. I think they’re such a personal and beautiful way of self expression. They can be reminders of good times, triumphs, and important life milestones. They’re also permanent, unlike piercings (which can be taken out), so you have to plan them out pretty well.

Q: Do you feel like there is a body modification community? If so, are you a part of it?
A: There is definitely a body modification community. Online, there are thousands of web communities and informative websites (like bme.com) dedicated to body modification. There are hundreds of conferences and “meet-ups” sponsored by the mod community (as it’s called). There’s a Association of Professional Piercers, an organization dedicated to safe piercing procedures and practices. I’m friends with some people who participate in suspension (a spiritual activity where hooks are placed in temporary “play piercings” and participants are suspended to the ceiling by the piercing). I personally do not consider myself an active part of the mod community, but I am a supporter of it and do a lot of research about it. I know a few people who are active within the community.

Q: Can you share some things “beginners” should look into when seeking out a shop or artist?
A: It’s important to do a lot of research on tattoo or piercing parlors and tattooists and piercers before getting tattooed or pierced. Even after looking at a tattooist’s portfolio, a tattoo could be poorly executed or done under unsanitary conditions, so it’s important to get references about both the shop and the artist, and to speak at length with your artist about your expectations. If you have a bad feeling about the process at any point, you should politely inform the tattooist or piercer that you’ve changed your mind. Don’t ever jeopardize your safety or health just because you feel uncomfortable telling someone “no.” Particularly with piechest piecercings, poorly done body modifications have the possibility of doing a lot of permanent damage. With piercings, you run the risk of serious infection that sometimes can even result in death. It’s important that you consider the long-term effects of your body modifications, too; even though you like body modification and don’t believe in the stigmas, many people (like family members, peers, or potential employers) don’t see things the same way. Make sure you understand what you’re getting into and if you have even the slightest doubt in your mind, don’t go through with it.
Q: Do you feel like there’s anything people should know about body modifications or people who have them?
A: There are scores of people who believe the stigmas about people who have tattoos or other body modifications. Even one of my Psychology professors here at Rowan University, whose opinions I usually support and respect, believes that people who participate in body modification suffer from severe mental disorders. Contrary to popular belief, people who are tattooed or pierced aren’t always crazed delinquents or felons, don’t always participate in porn or S&M communities, and don’t always suffer from mental disorders. I’m a normal, hardworking, and intelligent college student, living a normal life. My tattoos and piercings don’t define who I am; they complement who I am. The only difference between me and non-modded people is that I wear my artwork, stories, and experiences on my body.
12g conch, 9/16" tunnelsQ: Do you have any advice for tattoo etiquette in reference to admiring others’ pieces?
A: As a woman, I deal with people who have poor manners on a daily basis. Having visible tattoos opens a whole new can of worms as far as others’ etiquette goes. I’ve had people I just met pull down my shirt to get a better look at my chest tattoo, grab and twist my arm to look at the one I have there, and touch me in other aggressive and invasive ways, all without asking me first. People think that because a tattoo is visible that they have the right to ask you invasive questions about them. Just because some tattoos have symbolic meaning doesn’t mean all tattoos do, but people don’t realize that and often ask me to go into an in-depth description about the reasons behind them. It’s frustrating and uncomfortable, because some of the symbolism behind my tattoos is extremely personal and something I wouldn’t want to talk to strangers about.

I’ve had people ask me what I wore during the tattoo process of the one on my chest, which is large and goes far down my chest; this is a personal and invasive question, but people either don’t realize that or don’t care. Most people who talk to me about my tattoos are friendly and truly mean well, but they can be rude and disrespectful without realizing it. The best advice I can give to people who aren’t familiar with tattoo etiquette is ASK, ASK, ASK! Always ask a person’s permission before touching them, respect his or her answer to that question, and be polite about the questions you ask. Most importantly, don’t forget basic day-to-day manners. If you wouldn’t ask a question or do something to a person without body mods, it isn’t okay to do that to someone who does.

Q: Is there anything else you feel like I should know or you want to say?
A: I really appreciate you writing an article about this. Many people don’t think to ask people with body modification these questions, and they’re really important. If everyone I met knew about proper tattoo etiquette, it would save me a lot of frustration. I’m not a felon or a sexual deviant, and if people got to know who I am rather than judging me based off of the art on my body, they would meet a pretty cool chick with a lot of insight and life experience. People need to learn that just because someone looks different than everyone else doesn’t mean they should be feared or leered at. I’m just a normal girl with cool artwork on my body.

Photos courtesy of Kristen MacMillan

Tattoos in Honor of Holocaust Survivors

image used by a Creative Commons license A New York Times article was recently published about relatives of Holocaust survivors are getting the same tattoos forced upon their family members during the Holocaust. These tattoos are meant to honor their relatives, but not everyone agrees that it does honor them. I spoke to my close friend Josh Hersch and his brother Jeff Hersch about this subject.

Their grandparents were Holocaust survivors. Josh made a documentary honoring them by telling their story. When I asked Josh what he thought of the tattoos people were getting to honor their relatives, he said “if my grandmom had a number and I got one to remember her, she would probably flip out…because like I said, it’s against the Jewish religion to get tattoos.”

Josh also explained that his grandparents did not have numbers tattooed on them because that only took place in concentration camps like Auschwitz. Their grandparents were in the work camp called HASAG-Pelcery.

He didn’t understand why relatives would get these tattoos now. He didn’t see how it was honoring the survivors. “It’s like tagging all of [the survivors],” he told me, “they’re making them a number, not a person.” Because of that, he did not understand why relatives would get identical tattoos. He also explained that his grandmother would not like if he got a tattoo similar to the ones in the article.
Jeff's tattoo honoring his grandparents

Jeff has a tattoo (pictured to the left) in remembrance of the hardship his grandparents went through. He told me the reasoning behind it: ” it is important for me to know where I came from and what my grandparents endured just because they were Jewish.”

Jeff and Josh’s grandmother does not know Jeff has a tattoo in their honor.
Jeff was also more understanding of people who got the numbers of their relatives tattooed on them. He said, “I’d do it if they [his grandparents] had it [numbers]. It’s a very personal and meaningful idea.”

It’s very interesting to look at the different views in one family. What do you guys think? Leave a comment below!
The first image was used with permission through a Creative Commons license. This photo of Holocaust survivor, Sam Wilf belongs to Jared Polin.

The second image was courtesy of Jeff Hersch.

What’s New in Tattoos?

Some shops near Rowan:

FYIRockstar Ink is my favorite tattoo shop around Atlantic City.

Not so new news: Last February, CBS Local posted a list of the top tattoo parlors in Philly.

Celebrity shops: Hart and Huntington, run by Carey Hart, P!nk’s husband and motocross race, have shops located in Las Vegas, Orlando, Florida and in Niagara. They are currently doing a competition called Tattoo Tuesday where you can vote for your favorite tattoo by their artists. Vote for your favorite tattoo!

Interesting Tats of the Week

I decided I’m going to try to do a post like this every week. I’m going to scour Flickr for pictures of tats I like and post them here for you guys. Let me know what you think and feel free to disagree!
chicago skyline foot tattoo
I really enjoy this Chicago influenced tat. It’s creative and well done. I think the simplicity really adds to it and the placement is creative and gorgeous. It is a bit girly, but I guess that’s just the placement. I like that the bottom of the skyline kind of curves with her foot.

My "To Do" List: Yay for functional tattoos!
This one really interests me. I guess it’s functional, which is a plus, but I don’t see many other redeeming features. It’s very plain, but I guess that’s the point. I wonder what would possess someone to get a tattoo like this; I’d love to hear the story behind it, if you’re reading this, Stephanie Levy. I do like the font that “to do:” was written in.

Be the Change Tattoo
I know, another foot tattoo. But, I like this one as well.

First, I love the quote; I think sometimes tattoos can be reminders to yourself, like Demi Lovato’s Stay Strong tattoos.

Secondly, this font is beautiful. It’s a perfect script that’s easy to read and still pretty.

Next, I adore the branches coming from the sides. They make it look put together and are just pretty in general.

And finally, as I said before, I love the placing. I like that this one was placed on the inside of the foot. I think that works better for this specific tat, whereas the other one works better on the outside.

These photos were taken from Deanna Wardin, Rob and Stephanie Levy, and Becca Peterson respectively using Creative Commons licenses.
Comments? I’d love to hear from you!

First post!

Hey guys! I’m Ally Hodgson, and I’m gonna be writing this blog all about tattoos, piercings and generally any type of body modification. I am writing from an outsiders point of view, though, because the only mods I have are my nose and ears piercings. (For those of you even newer to this than I am, mod is short for modification. It means changing your body in anyway. ex. tattoos, piercings, suspension)

I’ve kind of grown up around tattoos since my aunt has about 15. My grandmother got her first tattoo when she was 56 and has gotten two more since then. Tattoos always interested me because of the look, but what’s more intriguing to me is the story behind tattoos. I’m really going to look into people’s experiences and stories and share them with you.

I do not know too much about body modifications except for what I’ve learned from documentaries like Modify.

I hope you guys don’t hesitate to comment, I’m very open to comments, suggestions, concerns, anything!