We left Nova Scotia in a flurry of good times, goodbyes, and good friends, all while experiencing a feeling of true evolution. With no real schedule for the next month or so, we were officially free to explore the massive landscapes of massive people affectionately or not so affectionately known as the USA. With no more than $2000 CAD to our names and well over 4000miles to cover we were feeling both ambitious and adventurous as we begin the second and last leg of our journey.
To cross the border we had to back track approximately 400km to New Brunswick to cross into Maine. It was raining, and I am always a little nervous when I approach an international crossroads, even though I was sure we had vacuumed and cleaned every inch of Eltsie and removed anything that could be deemed paraphernalia by even the most fascist of border guards. We were pleasantly surprised to have been granted the friendliest border guard in the best mood of any one in his position I had ever met. He asks us the regular questions where we are going, the nature of our visit etc, even cracks a couple jokes and then waves us through without even the thought of a search. Palm to face. Of course and no weed.
This storm blew in on us with out any warning. Suddenly the skies went black, the air was thick and hot, a huge orange lightning bolt tears through the sky with forces that Zeus himself would have a hard time mustering. Crack, the clouds tear open under the intensity of the gale force winds now smashing the RV in all directions, dumping copious amounts of water on us while doing a steady 80kms into Ottawa. It lasted not more than 10 minutes and ended in a rainbow and the sound of fire trucks, as smoke from distant buildings filled the sky. This is why I believe I didn’t notice our smoke.
It wasn’t until we pulled into Hither Hills campground in Ottawa that I realized something was terribly wrong. Trevor had parked and gotten out of the RV to register in the office when I noticed we were smoking more than usual. Unlike the usual smoke we experience this continued to grow, I kicked the kids and dog outside and went to pop the hood, immediately I saw glowing embers. I ran inside and grabbed the fire extinguisher, Trevor ran in and opened the engine cover and I sprayed that yellow dusty shit all over. The flames went out immediately and showed us a melted bunch of hoses and plug wires. This is when Trev told me the guy inside said he didn’t have a space for us, due to Canada Day and Price William and Kate what’s her name making an appearance. Now what?.
We sat there for a moment not sure weather to laugh or cry. I went inside to ask the man at the office if I could use his phone. He said “No, but it was nice of you to ask”. Unsure if he was just fucking with me I retorted with “really?” and informed him we just needed to find a local mechanic. He said there was one next door and I could just walk there.
I did and I met Moe who came right over to have a look. Moe was great and said that he had seen this before in an older engine when the plugs wiggle loose and a whole bunch of shit happens that eventually results in fire but he could fix it no problem the next day when he had the parts. The trailer park guy decided at this time that they in fact did have room and we could stay. Sure enough Moe was here the next day and we are good to go again new wires vacuum hoses and a heat shield, that was apparently missing. Canada Day is still a go!.
The drive to North Bay was a refreshing one. After days weeks even of prairies the Canadian Shield felt like home. We were headed to ReThink Studio where I was scheduled to guest spot for three days. When we pulled in I was a little worried; the studio is a hair salon as well as a tattoo and piercing parlour. I was apprehensive because I have worked in a shop that combined both and it was a terrible experience to say the least. I am glad to report this was a wonderful experience. I was greeted with warm excitement from the owner and head tattooer Marty Lacomb, as well as the staff.
My first day happened to fall on their annual heath inspection, when I arrived the inspection had already begun. There were two well trained and thorough health officials going over the studio and its procedures with a fine toothed comb; a refreshing change from the restaurant inspectors in B.C. who wouldn’t know an autoclave from a Diaper Genie. Marty is well trained in cleanliness, cross contamination and Blood Borne Pathogens and it shows in his calm demeanor and educated answers. The inspection takes well over an hour and Marty passed with flying colours.
There were no appointments booked for me while I was there, so rather than wait on walk-ins we all decided to tattoo each other, a great way to really get to know someone. Over the next three days I tattooed Marty, the other artist Brandon Shuman and the piercer Chris Vanluven in trade for my son getting his lip pierced and being tattooed by both Brandon and Marty.
This studio should be a mandatory stop for any collector passing through or around North Bay Ontario. Or you can catch my new friend Marty and I at the Alberta bound Tattoo Expo in 2012 where we plan to be sharing a booth.
As we roll into Winnipeg in search of Living Canvas tattoo you get a feel for the drivers sharing the road and a sense that you were lucky to narrowly escape with your lives; needless to say I was more than happy to get a warm welcome when we arrived at the shop. As you pull up to Living Canvas the outside is understated with a simple brown sign a small window front and after the bench-stealing incident by suspected U2 fans, two chairs. As you go inside this perception is quickly shattered. There are antiques, artwork, vintage CN rail memorabilia and even the front of an old Fargo as the reception desk in the huge open waiting area. The studio is immaculately clean and the staff is attentive, friendly, well trained, and gorgeous. Abby and her husband Jeff own Living Canvas and they house 6 artists all together 1piercer and 3 receptionists. All of the artists are equipped with separate rooms tastefully decorated personally by their occupants.
When I am introduced to everyone I am instantly as comfortable as they are, everyone is quick to tell me how they sincerely love working there. This mentality shows in their relationships with each other, the way they carry themselves and the pride they take in both their work and their studio. I am honoured to be a part of it.
I saw some great work come out of the shop in the three days I was there, and made some great new friends, can’t wait to come back!
I spoke to a farmer in Swift Current Saskatchewan briefly today. He initiated the conversation by saying ” that a laptop thingy you gots there? looks like a newspaper” I chuckled. He wore overalls and a mesh cap, his scraggly grey hair poked out from under his cap. His life of hard work shows on his hands and face, this both intrigues me and commands my respect and attention. He continued to inform me how he “doesn’t bother with them damfangled things , gots no need”. He tells me he owns a couple farms, I asked if they were big, he chuckled and said no his biggest is only 4 quarters…. I said “quarter acres?” he chuckled again and informed me that a quarter is 160 acres. He grows Canola and Durham I said so your farm is Monsanto free?. He said ” hell ya keepin those bastards out” We spoke of sustainability and He told me he had been farming his whole life. I thanked him and he asked why, I said “I’ve been eating my whole life”. We laughed and parted ways.
We rolled in to Vernon B.C. with no idea of what to expect, to be honest I wasn’t even sure where I needed to go. Luckily Genesis Designs Tattoo is right on the main road as you enter Vernon. I was a little nervous at the thought of just strolling in to work with award winning artist Rob Forest and the super talented staff at Genesis Designs. The welcome was warm and the studio is spectacular. The walls are adorned in framed photos of some of the amazing tattoos and artwork done by the artists. When you step inside you feel that everyone is both happy to be there and happy to help you, a refreshing change from some of the too cool for school attitudes of the past. The first day I didn’t have any bookings which was actually great as it gave me a chance to get to know everyone which made me wish I could stay longer.
Day two began full swing for me; Everyone was working hard all day, I think it’s fair to say the shop is always busy, and rightfully so. Half way through the day Rob asked me if we had dinner plans, and as we didn’t the whole shop decided to do dinner together. We finished our day with an awesome meal at East Side Marios, and then an already amazing experience was topped off by Rob picking up the cheque. I only hope I get a chance to show them the same level of awesome when they come visit us! I have full plans of coming back to get tattooed by all 3 Rob Forest, Fraser Pattison and Kristi Waife.
I have had an abundance of strange 90’s rock and roll dreams lately. It all started last week with a dream that seemed to last all night with Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam. Usually spending a whole night with Eddie Vedder would be a bonus. In this dream there was no funny business. He kept appearing in every social situation, that all seemed to run into one big party. I was with my husband and he was with his wife, drag, lol. I kept asking stupid questions about Pearl Jam and tour dates, I couldn’t treat him as I would any “normal” person and I could see he was getting annoyed. Then I asked what he preferred to be called Eddie, Edward, Ed?. He said he is usually called Scooter. Weird.
Then I dreamt of spending time with Shannon Hoon of Blind Melon (my fave rock star) but in this dream the situation felt natural. We were happy to spend time together again, as it had been so long….1995 to be exact. I even took a photo, but it was only from the neck down. Then suddenly I realized that he is dead….I’m sure he died in the 90’s…I tried to call my friend Lindy to confirm that I was now communicating with deceased. Suddenly I actually woke up, for real…and started to search for my phone that had the photo evidence of the encounter…only to slowly realize that I was dreaming, drag!.
Then Last night I dreamt that I walked upstairs on the Bowen Island ferry to see three of the members of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. When I saw them I let out a little scream, which made them all laugh. I’m not sure why they were headed to Bowen Island, but it didn’t matter i was stoked to have 15 minutes with them. While talking to Chuck D (who in my dream was the drummer of RHCP) I realized that he is actually the bass player from the Salads and the dream fell apart, and I woke up.
Ok everyone, this may just be my personal pet peeve but here it goes….
The word tattoo as I understand was an adaptation of the word Tatau first used in written word by Joseph Banks who was aboard James Cook’s ship Endeavor in 1769 after a trip to Polynesia. The word and the practice have a long rich history and culture that I am honoured to be able to carry on in my own way. I always keep this in the forefront while performing the beautification of the body and soul. Tattoo is a short word, it needs no abbreviation shortening or slang.
Please when you comment on tattoos say something like “nice tattoos” or “I like your tattoos”.
not “hey dude nice tatt’s” “cool tatty’s” or “sweet ink”
The compliment is nice either way but when I hear those terms I feel like you are trying to use a slang that I or someone emmersed in this rich culture would appreciate.
I don’t appreciate it, and subconsciously tune out to whatever one may say after. Tatt’s I can understand as it is a shortened version of the word; my name is Elizabeth I am referred to as both Liz and Betty, this makes sense. Tatty is two syllables like tattoo so why use it?. Ink is what I use in the application of a tattoo so when the term is used I feel it is a compliment to Fusion, Eternal, Alla Prima or whatever was used as opposed to the artist who did the work. Those inks are great but I don’t think that is the intention of the compliment. So anyway, please try to just say tattoo. Thanks for hearing my two cents.