For twelve months I’ve been planning to get another tattoo, a Kintsugi style tattoo. Kintsugi is a Japanese art form which involves repairing broken pottery with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. Kintsugi treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.
I decided I’d like a Kintsugi heart tattoo to represent the transformation I’ve gone through. My broken heart repaired with metaphorical gold lacquer.
I’d been trying to get an appointment at my local tattoo studio for months but there were no appointments. That worked out well for me because, during my trip to Sicily this summer, I went in search of a tattoo studio. I found a studio near to my hotel called Puto Amor, classy, arty and spotlessly clean. I went in on Tuesday to see if I could have an appointment for Thursday, just before travelling back to the UK the next day.
As luck would have it, Augusto Di Felippo, a visiting artist from Rome agreed to design a tattoo for me.
I arrived at the studios in Giardini Naxos at 3 pm and left at 8 pm. I explained to Augusto, the tattooist that I’d been in a relationship for 46 years and that I felt Sicily had helped to heal my heart and that I wanted a kintsugi style heart to represent that healing. Augusto specialises in Japanese tattoos so he knew all about the cracked pottery vases.
His design took 2 hours to draw up and was bigger than I’d expected. I also thought I’d have the tattoo at the top of my leg, but Augusto suggested it would look better on my hip. I went with his ideas and I’m pleased with the results.
The tattooing process started with the transfer design applied to the skin. The ink work took 3 hours. When the first needle dragged across my skin, I felt the painl. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to cope with another 3 hours of this. Although some of the inked lines were painful, there were other times when the sensation of the needle scratching my skin was exquisite. I tried to relax but in truth, I was stiff and tense.
After the main work had been inked, Augusto went out for a break. He said I could get up but I just lay there in a mesmerized state. Augusto returned to fill in the heart cracks with yellow ink. This ink technique was yet another physical sensation.
When Augusto finished my tattoo, he took some photos, told me the design looked sexy and wrapped me up in a band of cling film to protect my skin. I had to keep the film on for 24 hours and after that, I would be able to wash the tattoo gently and apply tattoo cream.
When I stood up, I felt a bit wobbly and walked gingerly out into the waiting area for a taxi.
My tattoo cost €295, a great price considering all the design work and the intricate inking work. When I got back to my hotel my Italian friend Rosa looked after me and told me to eat, all I wanted was a stiff drink. I guess I was in shock after my tattoo experience.
My tattoo took 2 weeks to heal. It is a constant reminder of the intense love I experienced with Steve and it tells the story of how the Sicilian sunlight and the energy of its people, repaired my heart.
Give it a Try
One of my favourite money boxes shaped like an owl smashed. I put all the pieces back together. I made a right mess of it but that doesn’t matter. I still love this money box, to me, it’s even more beautiful now that it’s been repaired. And to think I was going to throw it away!
Have you ever tried to repair something and been disappointed that you could still see the cracks? Why not look at broken things in a new way, see the beauty in the imperfection and be OK with that and you will have a Kintsugi inspired piece of art.