Thursday, December 11, 2014

Methuselah Tree

I had been pursuing another idea based around my life as a musician, but this image of the Methuselah tree kept coming back to me. The Methuselah tree, at about 5,000 years old, is the oldest continuous living non-clonal organism in the world. (For info on clonal organisms, check here... It is a Great Basin bristlecone pine (Pinus longaeva) that grows in the eastern slopes of the Sierra Nevada mountains. I love the toughness of the shape, its gnarled quality, and its textures. It makes me feel young! The four birds are about our family, my wife and twin daughters who have graduated from college and are (sort of) leaving the nest. Ian Healy of Vanguard Tattoo in Nyack, NY did this tattoo. 

Thanks to the Museum People's Tattoo page for the encouragement!

Eric Siegel
New York Hall of Science

Want to share your own story and tattoo?
Email Beth: bredmondjones (at) sdnhm (dot) org  or Paul: info (at) orselli (dot) net.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Athenian Owl

Jennifer Caleshu was kind enough to share this story of her tattoo:

Based on the Athenian Owl from coins of ancient Greece - symbol of Athena, goddess of wisdom.

Owls also remind me of listening, and symbolize my new career (teacher, coach). The oak leaves are for my home, and the acorns are my kids. On the top of the owl's wing are what the artist called "Thai dragon scales" - which is amazing since I first committed to getting an owl when I was in Thailand this summer for the Berkeley Executive Coaching Institute - right when I left for Thailand we had hired my replacement at the Bay Area Discovery Museum - so it was a real time of transition...

Tattoo artist Buffy Lauer at Sacred Rose Tattoo in Berkeley:

Want to share your own story and tattoo?
Email Beth: beth (at) redmond-jones (dot) com or Paul: info (at) orselli (dot) net.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Occult Musings

One thing I love about being an exhibit designer is that you learn about so many fascinating things and meet such interesting people. I have very wide interests: this tattoo represents a few of my more spiritual or occult musings. It is also meant to look weird and cool. The hand with the eye is sometimes seen in a more abstract form as the Hand of Fatima: it offers the wearer protection form the evil eye (this I find useful). Ouroboros, the snake swallowing its own tail, is an infinity sign and reminder, to me of, Karmic cycles. The other symbols are: Sacred Earth, Anhk, Moon, Yin-yang, Triskele, Venus, Mercury, and Virgo. I find these symbols, along with the Hinduism reference implied by the blue hand, to each have a personal significance and reflect my pan-agnostic and ever-intrigued world view. The tattoo artist is Juli Moon,, in Lynn, MA.

Paula Millet
Exhibit Designer/Consultant

Want to share your own story and tattoo?
Email Beth: bethredmondjones (at) gmail (dot) com or Paul: info (at) orselli (dot) net.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Ginkgo Leaves

Christina Ferwerda shares this about her tattoos:

Early on in my career as an exhibit developer (in fact, during my first paid internship) I was asked to work on a professional development project for the National Parks Department. As they manage a number of sites that have both natural and scientific significance, the firm I was interning for directed me to go out to the local city park and root around.

Coming from an art and history background, I initially gravitated to the monuments, bronzed statues of dead white men high up on pedestals. But then, because of (or perhaps in spite of, I’m never quite sure which) that same art and history background, I ended up gravitating towards a simple leaf fluttering in the breeze overhead. The bi-lobed shape was visually pleasing, like a Japanese fan or a Belle Époque lady in a bustled dress. The leaves have dichotomous venation, meaning that the veins bifurcate from the stem but never criss-cross.

This simple discovery lead to a fascinating series of discoveries – Ginkgo trees were thought to be extinct until the 1690s, when they were found in a Buddhist temple garden in China. The Ginkgo trees in Hiroshima were amongst the first things to bloom after the atomic bomb destroyed the city. Ginkgoes are also incredibly hardy (often referred to as “living fossils”), which is why they are planted so widely in urban environments. This continuous unfolding was one of the most satisfying learning experiences in my Museum career, and when I work I often think of how to create or inspire that kind of unfolding in others.

I’d wanted to get the leaf as a tattoo, and went many times to different studios in Brooklyn to ask about getting it done. In the meantime, life went on. I’ve continued to grow my museum career, as well as starting a serious yoga practice, starting to study Buddhism, moving, and of course starting and ending a few relationships. The symbolic ginkgo in my mind was similar to its real-life counterpart – it was a survivor. And so just a few years ago, on a particularly rainy vacation in Seattle, I made an appointment at an unknown studio, and got the leaves inked onto my shoulder. It’s a constant reminder of both hidden wonders and the possible unfolding discoveries in nature, and of course the survival skills necessary in this business and in New York.

You can find out more about Christina's museum work and yoga practice by visiting her website.

Want to share your own story and tattoo?
Email Beth: beth (at) redmond-jones (dot) com or Paul: info (at) orselli (dot) net.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Jolly Roger and Family Crest

Both tattoos were done by Josh Garcia of Anchor's End. The first one (with the dragon and masks) is an original design from me, drawn by a friend and modified by Josh. It's supposed to be my own Jolly Roger. Beginning in high school, I became obsessed with pirates (about the same time I became obsessed with studying history) and like any good pirate, I wanted a Jolly Roger that represented me. The masks replace the traditional skull and show my love of acting. The crossed katana and long sword replace the traditional crossed sabers and show my interest in swords, as well as an interest in history of many cultures. The rose represents the importance of love to me. The dragon represents my love of dragons and mythology in general and crest as a whole represents my interest in pirates and symbolism.

The second tattoo comes from "The House of Names" and is what I believe to be my family crest. It shows the pride I have in my family name, as well as my interest in history as well. My paternal side did not keep any records so I took it upon myself to research that side. At first this research was to only find the crest (again, because of pride for my name). In doing so, I've been able to compile a broad family history and understand and share my heritage. Getting this tattoo done wasn't only an accomplishment because I'd wanted it the longest but because I had to work to find my family's background.

Ben Peters

Split Rock Lighthouse

Want to share your own story and tattoo?
Email Beth: beth (at) redmond-jones (dot) com or Paul: info (at) orselli (dot) net.

Thursday, August 21, 2014


This tattoo was designed/created by an artist in Albuquerque NM based on what I had sketched on an airplane while traveling to visit my youngest son who is in the Air Force and was being deployed to Iraq.  The design incorporates my 4 children (the 4 hearts) held together by the vine (family love).  The yellow care symbol stands for the "bring my son home safely" and also as a childhood cancer ribbon for my grandson who is in remission from Rhabdomyosarcoma (diagnosed at age 9 and into remission at age 11 - he is now 2 years cancer free!). The flag care symbol stands for how proud I am of my Air Force son and the love of our freedom that we enjoy because of the men and women who serve.

As a side note my son was with me to get the tattoo and his deployment only lasted 27 days due to pulling back of the troops.  

Gloria Stern
Museum Store Manager
Split Rock Lighthouse 

Want to share your own story and tattoo?
Email Beth: beth (at) redmond-jones (dot) com or Paul: info (at) orselli (dot) net.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Dancing Skeleton

My life is not of my own, but of the people I encounter, even if briefly. The actions I take today impact the lives of those who come after me. I like giving back to the world, even if it means that I won’t see the intended result in my lifetime. I’ve spent a lot of my time volunteering through the efforts of numerous organizations like; American Red Cross: Disaster Services, Human Rights Campaign, Environment Florida, Oceana, Florida Public Interest Research Group, Sierra Club, my community Church and MakerSpace activities at Local Libraries. I’m a humanitarian and love to  provide whatever I can to those who need it.

Hans Lau
Exhibition Technician
Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science

Want to share your own story and tattoo?
Email Beth: beth (at) redmond-jones (dot) com or Paul: info (at) orselli (dot) net.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Totem Animals

Like more than a few other eighteen year-olds, I went out to get my first tattoo, a cartoonish dragonfly on my right hip that I had drawn myself. I still remember the little house in Eureka, CA where I went with my friends one afternoon, the old television set turned into a tarantula terrarium and the piercer who pulled out a scorpion and let it walk all over his hands, freaking us out. But as I grew older, I knew that I would someday modify that little blue creature of ink, but just didn't know when the inspiration would come.

Flash forward a decade or so, to the time when I'm living in the Presidio of San Francisco, and going through a rough patch in my personal life. One spring day I was meditating on our porch that overlooked Baker Beach, and a little lizard joined me in the sun. I decided that this western fence lizard had shown herself to be my new totem animal, and I went about searching for an artist who could ink one onto my upper left leg (providing balance to the two tattoos on the right side of my body). It took a surprisingly long time to get an appointment for a consult with Cecilia (she was next to Rainbow Grocery at the time), but the final appointment was made for January 20, 2009, and my totem lizard was finished in time to watch President Obama's inaugural celebration that evening.

After migrating away from the Bay Area to work for a few seasons in Yosemite's high country, I landed my current job in rural Eastern Oregon. On my first evening of walking around my new (small! quiet!) hometown, I was struck by the thought that it was time to change up that little dragonfly remnant of my past - that whatever life event I'd been waiting for had finally arrived. Earlier that summer, I had encountered a number of butterflies, and decided that the swallowtail would be the icon of my metamorphosis. I worked with Lindsay, a great local artist, to cover up the blue dragonfly (look closely!) with a realistic new insect. This piece was completed in January 2012, and life has been getting better and better ever since... I met my husband about six months afterwards, and gave him a body-balancing tattoo from Lindsay for his birthday this spring!

Gypsy Burks
Exhibit Specialist
National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center

Want to share your own story and tattoo?
Email Beth: beth (at) redmond-jones (dot) com or Paul: info (at) orselli (dot) net.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Sugar Skull

This tattoo has many meanings for me. I've always had a fascination with skulls, I have a collection of them at home. So naturally I've always wanted a skull tattoo. I choose a sugar skull because I'm obsessed with Dia De Los Muertos and I'm Hispanic so I grew up around it. The pickaxe represents my degree in archaeology, the makeup brush represents my artistic side as a professional makeup artist and the flash in the left eye represents my passion for photography.

Samantha Moreno
San Diego Natural History Museum

Want to share your own story and tattoo?
Email Beth: beth (at) redmond-jones (dot) com or Paul: info (at) orselli (dot) net.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Gates outside the Governor's Palace, Colonial Williamsburg

My tattoo was inspired by the first place that inspired me to go into museums - Colonial Williamsburg! When I was thinking up ideas for tattoo concepts, I didn't want something that was obviously historical - like George Washington's portrait emblazoned on my arm. This design was taken from the gates outside the Governor's Palace - a subtle way of representing my love for history, museums, scroll work and Colonial Williamsburg. This is, I'm sure, the first of many more history-inspired tattoos to come!

Alli Schell
Director, Milton Historical Society in Milton, DE

Want to share your own story and tattoo?
Email Beth: beth (at) redmond-jones (dot) com or Paul: info (at) orselli (dot) net.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Meera's Animal Kingdom Tattoos

These tattoos are dedicated to the people and creatures that are a part of my life. My fascination with animals and the natural world began as a youngster in Queens, NY where I visited many museums, zoos, and gardens over and over again.

After studying Natural History at SUNY-ESF, I wanted to cover myself with illustrations that represented the animal kingdom.  So far, I have included birds, insects, reptiles, and fish. Although I still have a long way to go, each animal reminds me of an extraordinary person, critter, or experience.

The zebra finches are my pet birds that I had as a child - Joe & Judy. As a kid growing up in Ozone Park, I didn’t have much exposure to the natural world. One day my aunt brought home these lovely birds and they became very special to our family. Joe even lived for over 9 years!

The bees remind me of my love for gardening, and helping kids overcome their fear of bees – a fear I thought I would never overcome!

The snake spine combines my attraction to both science drawings & skeletons.  Our museum has lots of animals children can meet and touch, most of them being reptiles. Holding a snake is another fear I have recently overcome, and it has become a part of my everyday museum routine.

When I got my first tattoo at 18, I asked my mother “What should I get?!”

She responded, very seriously, suggesting that I get a seahorse. At first, I thought this was a ridiculous idea. Five years later, my most recent tattoo, of a seahorse, is dedicated to my mother.

Meera Jagroop
Science Educator
Brooklyn Children’s Museum

Want to share your own story and tattoo?
Email Beth: beth (at) redmond-jones (dot) com or Paul: info (at) orselli (dot) net.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Nature Lover's Work in Progress

Steph Hample submitted this "work in progress" and here's the story...

When I was in high school I was obsessed with wolves!  In college I decided to get my first tattoo not knowing it would turn into something more!

I was visiting a friend at college and we decided randomly (yikes!) to go and get tattoos.  For me, it felt like a natural choice to get a running wolf, and although I love the concept it unfortunately didn't turn out as great as I had hoped.  Fast forward 11 years and three tattoos later, I decided to finally get my tattoo covered.  I still loved the concept of the wolf but it just needed some revamping.  I have always believed tattoos to be a form of art and my body is just a medium for the art.   I try not to tell the artist what to do but rather give them a guideline and let the artist create their work.  I told the artist that I would like to cover the wolf, add a new wolf, and incorporate a maple tree in fall foliage with a owl in the tree --- OK so I did have SOME stipulations, but I did let him do the creative part.  The image included is the result - so far.

What I love about this tattoo is, well everything, but mostly the wolf.  I know the wolf isn't done in this image but when I got the running wolf at 19 years old it was very appropriate for my life.  I was busy! Always moving, always looking for the next thing.  These days my life has settled and I enjoy standing still to enjoying the scenery.  The owl also has some significance as well.  To start, it was created from an image of an owl I work with, Oliver, at The Wild Center. I have loved owls for a long time and that love has worn off on my daughter, so it also represents her.  In addition to that I have a cousin that has Muscular Dystrophy who also has a love of owls.  For that reason it is also representative of him.  Needless to say, it's pretty significant to me.  Finally the tree.  It was probably the one part of the work that I was most particular about.  It had to be a sugar maple tree, and it had to be in fall.  I wanted color, and lots of it.  The artist was amazing, getting the "u" shape of the falling leaves of the sugar maple!

You may be wondering 'how the heck is he going to cover the wolf?!' It is still very obvious and I had no idea how he was going to do it so I left that to him. The tattoo artist is going to turn it into a hole in the tree...somehow, I'm very interested to see how it all turns out!  So far there is about 6 hours of work done and I would expect it to be at least that remaining.  There is a lot of detail to come and I will send an image when it is complete!

Stephanie Hample, The Wild Center

Want to share your own story and tattoo?
Email Beth: beth (at) redmond-jones (dot) com or Paul: info (at) orselli (dot) net.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Celestial orbs

This is happens when your art history degree blends with a natural history museum. Kandinsky circles become celestial orbs and renaissance etchings of the night sky suddenly become far more relevant to your day to day experience.

For many years, I had the rocket isolated on my right arm, the cranes on my left and characters on each of my wrists. It was symmetrical but the images were completely random- like I had placed stickers on my arms. I needed an update; I needed to create a composition.

One day while on the subway, I saw someone with beautiful colored orbs on their shoulders and I knew that I wanted something similar. I had also been been looking at the mural of the constellations that is painted on the ceiling at Grand Central Station. I work under the Hayden Planetarium and staring at the stars has become a part of my daily existence. In the end, I took a print out of a painting I loved (Kandinsky's "Several Circles/Einige Kreise) and several renaissance etchings of the stars to Ink/Ink in Venice, CA. Stephanie created a new universe on my arms, the colorful graphic circles becoming spheres in my constellations.

Hillary Spencer
Assistant Director, Global Business Development
American Museum of Natural History

Want to share your own story and tattoo?Email Beth: beth (at) redmond-jones (dot) com or Paul: info (at) orselli (dot) net.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Benjamin Franklin

Growing up in Philadelphia, I always hated Benjamin Franklin. We learned about him in school all the time, every historical plaque had something to do with him... Frequently I remember thinking, "Man, Benjamin Franklin, give someone else a chance to do something for once."

I moved back to Philadelphia during the tricentennary of Benjamin Franklin's birth and suddenly I was working on all of these Franklin exhibits. My brothers mocked me for working on projects about someone I complained about, and I was somewhat irate to be spending so much time adding to Benjamin Franklin's importance.

That's when I realized I didn't hate Benjamin Franklin. I was jealous of Benjamin Franklin. Alll of the projects he worked on were because he was a curious, interested, energetic person with lots of ideas. After that realization I knew that I really just wanted to be Benjamin Franklin.

To show my love for Philly and changing attitudes about a pretty rad dude, I got this tattoo. One of my favorite things about it is when visitors are trying to identify me to other museum staff and they say, "I talked to someone last week, she was small with curly hair, and had a tattoo on her arm of someone, Isaac Newton or maybe Ben Franklin?"

Dana Scholss

Want to share your own story and tattoo?
Email Beth: beth (at) redmond-jones (dot) com or Paul: info (at) orselli (dot) net.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Mississippi Animals

I love to teach people about nature, especially in our current climate of outdoor educational deficit. Kids and adults don't seen to get outside much anymore, since we're glued to our screens. So I've been doing nature-related classes for years, in the hope that one time, just one kid (or adult) will get inspired enough to be interested in the living world around us. One of the classes I teach is about identifying animal tracks, a class I myself had taken about 12 years ago. I had been wanting another small tattoo, similar to the three tracks I already had under my watchband, but I also realized that the detail was limited because of the size.

This led into looking at making them a little larger, which led to looking for other natural history images--in particular, an owl, which is a symbol on another business I own, Night Bird Design. While searching for clean, clear images of owls, I found an artist on-line at (of all things) a clip art web site, who had drawn not only an owl, but also a bunch of other animals in a style I loved, sort of flowing, but not tribal. I bought all the images he had of Mississippi animals and started trying to put them together in a design pattern that I liked. Some images worked better than others, so eventually I whittled it down to 13 (h
eron, bear, snake, wildcat, fox, coyote, armadillo, owl, deer, alligator, otter, raccoon, and skunk). Another consideration was the final size of the work, as I'm a fairly small person, and had to rule out any place that would be seen while wearing a bathing suit, as my parents STILL don't know I have tattoos (I'm 48).

Finally, I saved enough money, and it was my birthday, so I went to a tattoo parlor about an hour away. I had been there before to talk to one of the owners, and examine the pictures of their work (and assess the cleanliness and professionalism of the shop), and had been duly impressed.

The tattoo artist's name is Adam at the Classic Tattoo Studio in Vicksburg, Mississippi. He did an excellent job, and I'm so pleased, I MAY even show it to my mom...but not my dad, quite yet.

Robin Person
Branch Director
Historic Jefferson College

Want to share your own story and tattoo?
Email Beth: beth (at) redmond-jones (dot) com or Paul: info (at) orselli (dot) net.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Aim To Please

I've worked primarily in museums and libraries for over 17 years. I have a handful of tattoos, none of which were conceived with any reference to museums or library science. However, there's one tattoo that I got the summer I became a museum person, which speaks a lot to why I'm still a museum/library person.

I got my guns from the talented Mike Stobbe at Avalon PB in the summer of 1998. I was home from college for the summer and working as an intern at the Museum of Contemporary Art in the mornings, while bar tending at my uncle's bar in the afternoons. I was straddling between a La Jolla fine art institution and Mission Beach happy hours; college-life and hometown; living with parents and trying to be an adult. I was trying be a lot of things and thought the "aim to please" was a true sentiment to the in-between sort of place where I could make everything work.

Sixteen years later "aim to please" now reminds me why I enjoy working for museums and libraries. We are a service industry. We connect people to knowledge, to history, and to culture. We tell stories and invite stories, encourage conversation, and promote traditional and visual literacy. It doesn't make sense to me if it isn't benefitting an end user, an audience.

Why guns? Besides the play on words, the western iconography identified me with the rockabilly crowd I was involved with at the time. Also, while I am definitely not a guns rights advocate, I still appreciate a gun as an object of mechanic beauty.

Kara West
Library Arts and Culture Exhibition Manager
San Diego Public Library

Want to share your own story and tattoo?
Email Beth: beth (at) redmond-jones (dot) com or Paul: info (at) orselli (dot) net.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Blue Feather

After finding a brilliant blue feather on a hike and reading how the color comes from external light and not from the diet of the bird, I decided that my first tattoo would be a blue feather. On the day I had been in Seattle one year, my daughter and I celebrated the pain and excitement of moving here with the pain, in her words — "of course its going to hurt!"— and excitement of a tattoo. Now the image reminds me of 'lightness', of hiking in the NW and of stepping outside my comfort zone once in awhile.

Kris Morrissey, PhD
Director, Museology Graduate Program
University of Washington

Want to share your own story and tattoo?
Email Beth: beth (at) redmond-jones (dot) com or Paul: info (at) orselli (dot) net.

Friday, March 7, 2014


Though I was a late-comer to museum visiting, as soon as I was truly exposed to world-class museums in college, namely the Carnegie system in Pittsburgh, my love of them took root inside me and has only grown exponentially since. One may think that working at a museum might change that feeling, but for me, it never did. Almost as soon as I got my first museum job, I wanted a museum tattoo. I waffled on designs, and never really committed until I was completing my graduate degree in museum studies. By this time, museums were such a part of my identity, it felt necessary to wear a symbol of that love on my skin.

I still didn’t have my design though, and it began to feel important that the tattoo to represent not just museums generally, but the Pittsburgh museums of which I am so fond. I considered a number of different ideas (a Warhol-ian shoe, for instance), but nothing felt perfect---until I thought about Diplodocus carnegii!  Dippy was the first dinosaur in Carnegie Museum of Natural History, is named for Andrew Carnegie, and casts of the Pittsburgh Dippy now sit in 10 locations throughout the world. Diplodocus has come to be an important icon at the museum, but also for Pittsburgh itself. It was decided.

On February 1, I went to Unique Ink in Greensburg, PA, with Dippy design in hand and my mom in tow (she also got a tattoo at the same time to make it more special. My Dippy is not scientifically accurate (which I know because museum work gives me easy access to world-renown paleontologists, a daily privilege I don’t take lightly), but its mine. And now I wear my heart on my sleeve….er, Diplodocus on my wrist….and proudly show the world that I’m a museum person through and through.

I should also note that my first tattoo, a butterfly on my hip which was acquired weeks after my 18th birthday in an act of teenage rebellion, years later would also come to have deeper museum meaning. For my Master’s thesis project, I observed visitors and recorded their conversations at a display of 30 drawers pulled from the butterfly collection. Now, I can’t see my butterfly tattoo without thinking fondly of that project or of my own museum experiences that I hold so dear.

Leigh M. Kish
Interim Director of Marketing
Carnegie Museum of Natural History

Want to share your own story and tattoo?
Email Beth: beth (at) redmond-jones (dot) com or Paul: info (at) orselli (dot) net.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Old Fashioned Microphone

There’s a sort of mental snapshot from a time in my life that I remember so fondly I often think of it in my most difficult moments. It's of an abused and familiar  microphone with a dirty yellow windscreen, on an unremarkable stand, at the front of a stage, at night, under blinding lights, outside, in front of a crowd of 700 people whose faces I can’t quite see out in the darkness.

A microphone waiting for someone to speak into it is pure potential. And the fact that is often tied to the presence of a microphone, that people would give you their complete attention, is something too valuable to describe.

I’ve been in a few bad bands (always as a singer because I've been too lazy to commit to any instrument yet) and absolutely love making an idiot of myself singing karaoke ("Total Eclipse of the Heart" is my go-to opener). I’m addicted to being in front of people. All the singing is all well and good, but what I care about even more is communicating, I’m obsessed with it. I love to listen to the way masters of the art take nebulous, complex ideas and gracefully capture them with words. A true genius can present ideas so perfectly that you’ll think you knew them all along but just hadn’t defined them yet.  I want (but don’t really expect) to be that genius. I could listen to my favorite speakers do their thing for hours on end.

Wanting to communicate as badly as I do, I often speak about what I care about most: my faith, the Gospel of Christ. It is the thing that I filter every little bit of my life through and I’m totally crazy about studying scripture carefully and sharing the things that excite me about it with others. I worked for three years as a teaching pastor in New Mexico and I often preach at my current church. I relish every opportunity.

My tattoo is of an old fashioned microphone, specifically a Shure 55SH, a model that's been in production for more than 70 years. I chose this specific microphone for two reasons. First, because it’s built as a vocal mic, and has a reputation for capturing voices uniquely well (I’ve had a few professional singers see my tattoo and tell me how much they love this particular model). Second, much more superficially, I think it looks cool. It’s just a big block of steel, the actual mic is really stout and heavy. I have it on my left forearm because the left side of the body is traditionally the creative side. Also, when I do speak with a handheld mic I almost always hold it in my left hand to leave my right free to gesture crazily and fumble at the water bottle.  

The microphone isn’t  my first tattoo, but it is my first plainly visible one. People ask me about it all the time, and I love that. It gives me a chance to talk about my faith and my life. I’ve got good friends today who I met because they asked me about my tattoo.

I have a personal rule that I have to have a single tattoo idea, unchanged,  for two years before I’m allowed to get it. I’ve been holding on to a way to fill my right forearm for about two-and-a-half. With any luck I’ll post again soon.

Brandon Hutchinson
Traveling Exhibitions Manager
San Diego Natural History Museum

Want to share your own story and tattoo?
Email Beth: beth (at) redmond-jones (dot) com or Paul: info (at) orselli (dot) net.

Friday, February 21, 2014

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg

My favorite book growing up was From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg. What story possesses more intrigue, more suspense, more mystery, or more magic than the coming-of-age tale of Claudia and Jamie Kincaid, siblings who escape the doldrums of their suburban childhood to live within the walls of New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art? They forage for coins from the fountain so they can eat meals at a neighboring automat; they sleep in the antique beds of French royalty; they uncover the truth about an original Michelangelo statue. Most of all, they learn deep truths about themselves.

Twenty-odd years later I rediscovered my love for this book. I found it on a bookshelf in my childhood home in 2007, just after taking a job at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. I read it and re-read it (and re-read it again).

I fell deeply in love with my museum work and knew I wanted to have a From the Mixed-Up Files tattoo. I sketched it out and had it done at Th-Ink Tank Tattoo in Denver. The final version on my skin is very close to the sketch I drew, though done by a master's hand. The intricacy and precision of the lines absolutely astounds me.

I love the story of my tattoo and the story of Claudia and Jamie. Thanks for the opportunity to share it with my museum friends and colleagues here.

Kate Tinworth

Want to share your own story and tattoo?
Email Beth: beth (at) redmond-jones (dot) com or Paul: info (at) orselli (dot) net.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Sun with Ying and Yang

During my first year in the Navy, my twin brother came to visit and said let's get a tattoo. We went down to the nearest tattoo parlor in Pacific Beach, CA. We both got the same outline of a sun—his was filled in black as a cover up, and mine is a ying and yang. The two small dots in the middle are where an old girlfriend bit me.

Josh Culver
Senior Director of Operations
San Diego Natural History Museum

Want to share your own story and tattoo?
Email Beth: beth (at) redmond-jones (dot) com or Paul: info (at) orselli (dot) net.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Uffington White Horse

This is my tattoo of the Uffington White Horse. I've always loved horses, am an Anglophile, and it also (very) loosely of ties into my love of Fleetwood Mac (Some think that the horse is a representation of the Celtic goddess Epona, whose counterpart in Britain is Rhiannon. Whose name is used in Stevie Nicks' song, but Stevie's Rhiannon is a witch). 

Anyway. I had always wanted a tattoo, and was actually the last in my family to get ink done. I had moved from Virginia to take a job in Florida to move up from Collections Management Assistant at a well-known historic site to become the full-on registrar. It was my career goal, but after one year was afforded the opportunity to move back home. So, with a heavy heart I gave my boss at the Florida Holocaust Museum my notice. She, her husband, and another FHM colleague took me out to dinner on my last weekend in St. Pete. At dinner, I (half) jokingly said we should go get tattoos, and the three of them actually took me to get my first! It is a forever reminder of the wonderful time I had down there, and what an awesome boss/friend I had! I assured my current boss that she does not have to go get a tattoo with me :)

Kathryn M. Blackwell
Colvin Run Mill Historic Site

Want to share your own story and tattoo?
Email Beth: beth (at) redmond-jones (dot) com or Paul: info (at) orselli (dot) net.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Cosmic Ray Traces

Hi Paul,

Love the Museum Tattoo blog – I had to send you this one for it. Not the best ever pic being a selfie of my left shoulder, but this is my tattoo of cosmic ray traces in a bubble chamber.

I had it done because I like the image mainly, but it was actually inked at Life during an adult late night event on body modification.  Among other attractions we had tattoo demonstrations from one of the artier tattoo parlours in the region, and I was the subject of the demo in front of an audience of about 200 people.

Even better, the cost of the tattoo came out of the event budget!

Ian Simmons
Science Communication Director
Centre for Life
Newcastle upon Tyne

Want to share your own story and tattoo?
Email Beth: beth (at) redmond-jones (dot) com or Paul: info (at) orselli (dot) net.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Lion and Bat

I have been fascinated with bats since I was a small child and now have a near 20 year long career as a wildlife biologist working on bat-related research and other bat conservation projects in southern California. My Mother always wanted me to get a bat tattoo but I never got around to it while she was alive. On the day she passed away my siblings and I went and got Lion tattoos to symbolize her passing (she was a Leo). Later, on the anniversary of her passing I decided to finally get that bat tattoo she always wanted and I went big so she could see it from heaven.

Drew Stokes
Wildlife Biologist
Department of Birds and Mammals
San Diego Natural History Museum

Want to share your own story and tattoo?
Email Beth: beth (at) redmond-jones (dot) com or Paul: info (at) orselli (dot) net.

Baroque curlicues, tree, crows, and more

To many people tattoos are permanent souvenirs – of loved ones, memories, life-defining events, admired celebrities or artists, religious beliefs – but to me they are decoration. My tattoos have no meaning. Baroque curlicues work up one arm and spill into a tree form with crows flying outwards. Most recently I have added a destination for the crows with a sailor’s compass on my upper shoulder and an arrangement of antique cogs and English ivy flowing down my left arm.

For an art historian it is intriguing to offer yourself as a canvas. And I have a great artist in Amy Black of Trademark Tattoo in Richmond, VA. Richmond is one of the most tattooed cities in America and tattoo is as much a part of our visual culture here as the great works of art in the museum.

Robin Nicholson
Deputy Director for Art and Education
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts 

Want to share your own story and tattoo?
Email Beth: beth (at) redmond-jones (dot) com or Paul: info (at) orselli (dot) net.