Wednesday, January 22, 2014


"In the center of my back is a teasel. It's a tenacious, prickly weed, similar to a thistle. In the summer it bursts into hundreds of purple blooms, then in the autumn it dries and its spines become hard and sharp.

Not only is the teasel a beautiful and tough plant, wearing it reminds me of my family and my hometown, Skaneateles NY. Introduced from England in 1833, the hardy, invasive teasel thrived in the limestone-rich fields of Skaneateles and soon became a cash crop for the village. The dried plant heads were harvested, processed, attached to barrels and spindles, and used to finish newly woven wool cloth in textile mills. The stiff spikes of the teasel worked like combs, raising the nap- teasing the fibers- and making the cloth softer and smoother. By the 1930s most of the teasels in napping machines were replaced by more rugged metal cards, but the teasel remains a town symbol.

My tattoo was inked by the incredibly talented artist Brucius at Black & Blue Tattoo in San Francisco."

(image from Skaneateles history blog:

Margaret Middleton
Exhibit Designer
Boston Children's Museum

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