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Archive for the ‘health and safety’ Category

four essential aftercare tips for fresh tattoos.

Posted by Anj Marth on 07/19/2014

398191_10151137265617712_1686171381_nTattoos, just like a fur or a pair of old favorite boots, require some care to stand the test of time.

Tattoos done before about 1990 have little hope of staying clear and unsullied by sun and weather and wear. The inks used before that time had many pigment ingredients which could react to sun exposure, and to the wearer’s own body fluids. These days, most tattoo inks used by professional artists are inert and hypo-allergenic, and at the very least should not react to the skin itself. They can still be faded and worn if not cared for properly. (Some people might still be allergic to certain inks, but it’s very rare.)

A tattoo is ink that is permanently set just under the translucent top layer of skin. This top layer is like an elastic window that you look through to see the ink. If the top layer is damaged or thickened or darkened, it becomes a dirty window. Age, sun exposure, and scars can all obscure a gorgeous tattoo and turn it into indecipherable mud. Also, the darker your skin, the more “tint” that window has.

  • First and most destructive on the list of tattoo-destroyers is the sun. Just as a photograph left in the sun will fade over time, the pigments in a tattoo will fade. The pigmentation of skin is a poor defense, and putting sunblock on your tattoo will keep it looking fresh over the years. If you tan, try using a high SPF lip balm, and apply it just to the tattooed area. If you use a stick lip balm you can use it like a crayon and color in just the tattoo, letting the skin right up to it tan. This makes the tattoo look even newer next to the tanned area. If you will be out in the sun use a high SPF sunblock, even if your tattoo was done last year. The pigments can be faded even after the tattoo is long healed. Don’t start with sunblock until the tattoo is at least two weeks old.
  • Second, wrinkles will obscure your tattoo, and may even distort it. Over the years, the cells in skin shift a bit and change relative position. As any dermatologist will tell you, avoiding sun exposure and staying hydrated keep wrinkles away. This will help your tattoo, also. Once the tattoo is applied it becomes part of your largest organ- your skin. What is good for your skin is good for your tattoo, too, so drink enough water. Moisturizing the tattooed area helps. Even years after the procedure, the area that was tattooed remembers the abrasion, and can get dehydrated more quickly than the rest of your skin. So be sure to continue moisturizing occasionally, even after the tattoo heals.
  • Third, accidents happen. Scars that destroy tattoos are almost never intentional. The good news is that most scars can be tattooed over. Unless the scar is raised more than 1/4 inch from the surface, or is heavily textured, there are many tattoo artists that are willing to repair or retouch scars. If you’re planning on repairing a tattoo that’s been scarred over, try to allow at least six months for the scar tissue to “settle”. Use some light vitamin E oil or Emu oil on it from time to time and massage against the grain of the scar. This can sometimes help reduce the texture of the scar, and makes the tissue softer and easier to tattoo over.
  • Last but not least, if your artist offers a free touch-up, take advantage of it within a few months. The best time to get tattooed is in the winter, when your new art won’t get exposed to the sun. But no matter when you get worked on, wait until after the summer sun has done its damage before you go back to get a touch-up. This way, the artist gets the satisfaction of a second look at your work, and you get to repair any damage the vacation did to your new ink.

 

When your artist gives you care instructions, follow them to the letter. Every artist uses different techniques to apply a tattoo, and usually they know which healing procedure will work best in conjunction with it. Artists use such a variety of needle, ink, and bandaging material- as well as the variatons in YOUR body’s healing ability- that it’s impossible to give out one universal set of aftercare directions.

532637_10150946499952712_7830756_nDon’t listen to your friends, other artists, or people you meet out and about. If you don’t trust the artist to know best, you should buy your tattoo from someone you DO trust. Pick an artist who you trust, and listen to them. They know how to help you heal your new work.

 

It’s OUR job to put the tattoo in just the right layer of your skin, just right. It’s YOUR job to do the other half- to heal your tattoo properly. Keep your tattoos clean while healing, and wash your hands before touching a fresh tattoo. Don’t wear tight things that will rub against or irritate your tattoo. Don’t swim or surf for the first few weeks. And most of all, let your tattoo get air.

A well-healed tattoo will make you happy for decades. Taking a few weeks to care for it properly is COMPLETELY worth it.

(written by me, originally published here)

Posted in art, clients, DIY, dos and donts, female tattoo artist, health and safety, oregon tattoo artists, posts with lists in them, questions, step by step, surviving your first tattoo, tat zap wizard, Tattoo, tattooing, you | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

What to do when your kid wants a tattoo!

Posted by Anj Marth on 07/18/2014

164103_487686512711_1326404_nThere are a lot of younger people today who are very interested in tattoos. In many cultures tattoos are used as a rite of passage from youth to adulthood, and in our Western culture it is no different. The lack of culturally-based rites of passage and tests of maturity leads many teenagers to seek alternate forms of self-challenge, and tattooing is currently high on that list.

Children are only tattooed usually by indigenous or tribal groups to whom it is a cultural staple. Occasionally there will be a photograph of a child wearing airbrushed tattoos (which are painted on) in a magazine, but actual children are extremely rarely tattooed. If they are, it can be considered child abuse.

Although most jurisdictions outlaw the tattooing of minors, many children and teenagers will tattoo themselves at home, using sewing or other needles and common household dyes and inks. This can be extremely dangerous; using an unsterilized needle or one that has been used on another person can transmit disease or cause serious infections. Home-made tattoos tend to be deeper in the skin surface than professional tattoos, and this can lead to infections that cause excessive scarring.

Most commonly found dyes and inks in home use are not inert and can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Young people should NOT use household items to tattoo themselves; this is a given. That they WILL do it, is incontestable. Educating young people and explaining to them that sharing needles (no matter what sort of home “sterilization” they invent) can transmit HIV, hepatitis, and bacterial infections, is a good beginning; also it may help to explain that running a needle through flame, boiling it, or soaking it in alcohol or antibacterial wipes will not kill all bacteria or viruses that may be present.

221622_10150169153602712_298593_nIn addition, a home environment contains many bacteria and other germs that could infect a fresh tattoo. Lack of proper knowledge about cross-contamination and bloodborne pathogens can put kids at serious risk when they get tattooed in a home environment.

Since minors can not obtain a legal tattoo, they will often try to use fake ID to do so,and try going to a real studio instead of someone’s house. Usually shops can tell when they’re presented a fake ID, but a very well made one can occasionally slip through. Especially a real ID that belongs to someone who looks similar to the kid…

Parents should know that professional studios are not pleased about this; parents should always attempt to contact the studio where their child claims to have received a tattoo. Studios often are required by law to keep consent forms for up to two years, and can usually provide a copy of the false identification that was used. This is not negligence by the studio, but fraud by the minor. In some states the studio can prosecute the minor and their parent. Parents should make sure that their teenagers have no access to their wallets and purses.

When a teenager is nearing eighteen and the age of consent, parents should do research with them into studios they may frequent or patronize. It may be reassuring for parents to know that the studio is clean and reputable. Minors are often not welcome in tattoo studios without a parent; this can be a good opportunity for parents to ensure that if their teenager decides to get tattooed they are at least in a situation that is not unsafe or unhealthy.

Every professional tattoo shop should have an autoclave which is regularly spore tested, disposable latex or nitrile gloves should be used, and all workers there have proper health and safety training. Go with your kid, ask questions. We’re happy to explain all this stuff to you. We want all of our clients to be safe.

Bringing your teenager with you to investigate their options may also discourage them from performing unsafe tattoos on themselves at home, and may even dissuade them from getting a rebellion-motivated tattoo at all. After all, if parents approve, many teens won’t participate.

And if they decide to get one anyway, you will know where they’re going, and that they won’t be risking their health for it.

 

(originally published here)

Posted in clients, deep thoughts, dos and donts, health and safety, oregon tattoo artists, questions, surviving your first tattoo, tat zap wizard, Tattoo, tattooing, you | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

How you can help me. and other medical nonsense!

Posted by Anj Marth on 07/12/2014

If you follow my site or know me personally, you know I have been through some medical hell the past ten months or so.

TMI after the break.

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Posted in art, deep thoughts, drawing, geek, health and safety, interview with the artist, journal, original drawings, personal, true stories, you | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

relax don’t do it

Posted by Anj Marth on 07/07/2014

Originally published 10/26/2007

 

working female tattoo artist
As a tattoo artist for many years, I’ve seen many people who are interested in learning the trade. I’ve also seen many make the mistake of trying to take a shortcut to becoming a tattoo artist at home, or as a hobby.

If you are planning to tattoo “for fun” or as a hobby, you should know that in most states this is illegal. The biggest, and most serious reason, is for the health and safety of your (potential) clients. Tattooing in a bacteria-ridden space, with unsterilized equipment, or even worse, non-disposable equipment, is extremely risky.

The risks associated with home tattooing start with minor Staph infections and end with septicemia (which can be fatal) and transmission of serious, life-threatening viruses. Also, using your home as a tattoo studio puts you and your family at extreme risk of infections and diseases. Simply put, this is not safe, and is most likely against the law.

When you decide to learn tattooing it’s best to be careful. There are unscrupulous people who will try to take advantage of your interest, and knowing the usual steps taken to become a tattoo artist can help you avoid them.

Having an interest in tattooing and being able to draw, while necessary, are not the only things you’ll need. You’ll also require a lot of dedication, patience, and sociability. It is hard to become a tattoo artist. A typical apprenticeship is tiring, demanding, and difficult. The process of apprenticeship is designed to weed out those who are not capable of dealing with the stress of the job, and those who are not patient enough to cope with its demands.

hourglass and candle tattooIf you apprentice, you will be granted the respect of your peers, and have more access to knowledge, equipment, and skills than if you try to muddle through (dangerously) on your own.

Artists the try to learn on their own do, rarely, become respected in the field- but this takes decades of hard work, rather than a few years.

Most will never achieve acceptance if they have not apprenticed properly.

If you’re the typical starving artist, tattooing can look very lucrative compared to where you’re at right now, but it’s not really a craft you can learn on your own (despite what those unscrupulous people might say).

If you can’t be patient and persistent, you won’t be a good tattooist anyway.

Dealing with clients is much more difficult than learning to tattoo, and without the barriers and obstacles to learning there would be no way to ensure the temperament of potential tattooists.

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Posted in ethics, health and safety, learning, tattooing | 2 Comments »

burning my face off

Posted by Anj Marth on 12/23/2013

full (16)I love fire. I was afraid of it as a child, but as I grew older and began to challenge myself to other new and frightening experiences, I decided it was time to meet flame and make a connection with it.

A few years ago, in the middle of a bad relationship, I watched my lover breathe a huge fireball. In a very unsafe and exaggerated manner. But Oh! it was beautiful, billowing out of his mouth. I was hooked. I learned through friends who had been doing it more carefully-to look up into the sky and send the breath with the flame, to sputter just right so as not to splatter, to use the right fluids…to wet down my hair and tie it back, to clear the area first…all the standard precautions. I began to breathe fire often, at most occasions, dancing under fireballs at parties, on the beach, even alone, in the desert, on a solitary road trip. Just to see it dancing. Just to feel the glare on my face.

I love fire.

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Posted in brag, health and safety, interview with the artist, journal, oregon living, personal, pictures, questions, true stories | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

I am crazy wild this minute- excerpt from essay on the experience of mental illness, by Lara Jefferson, 1948

Posted by Anj Marth on 11/15/2013

This, and the previous excerpt I posted, are small selections from the book “The Inner World of Mental Illness”, published by Harper & Row in 1964. It’s one of my favorite books, written by a variety of people in very different circumstances and with very different afflictions; all the stories have the same undertone of fear, grieving, and pragmatism.

I’ve read this book to shreds, literally.

Most of the chapters in it are excerpts from longer books written by the mentally ill, but some are merely short pieces, collected by doctors or nurses. I’ll post more of these if enough of you want more of them.

The book includes a variety of mental illnesses, so if you’d like an excerpt dealing with some other disorder, let me know in the comments and I’ll do my best.

This excerpt is from “I am crazy wild this minute”, written by Lara Jefferson in the 40s. It was written on scrap paper and wrapping paper in a state hospital.

When her writing was discovered by staff, she was given a typewriter and encouraged to continue. Hospitals at that time were much more chaotic, and psychosis was not treated with as much compassion or medical understanding as it is today.

Had I been born in the age and time when the world dealt in a straightforward manner with misfits as could not meet the requirements of living, I would not have been much of a problem to my contemporaries. They would have said that I was “Possessed of the Devil” and promptly stoned me to death- or else disposed of me in some other equally effective manner.

I know I cannot think straight- but the conclusions I arrive at are very convincing to me and I still think the whole system is a regular Hades itself. …

I cannot conduct myself as the rules set forth because something has broken loose within me and I am insane- and differ from these others to the extent that I still have sense enough to know it; which is a mark of spectacular intelligence- so they tell me.

Here I sit- mad as the hatter- with nothing to do but either become madder and madder- or else recover enough of my sanity to be allowed to go back to the life which drove me mad.

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Posted in authors, deep thoughts, health and safety, interview with the artist, personal, pictures, posts with links in them, true stories | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

something else I made today- and a quick up for PV using instead of smoking.

Posted by Anj Marth on 03/26/2013

I haven’t smoked in two days, and I’ve smoked a single pack of cigarettes in the past week. I finally got good gear for PV/ecig use, so I haven’t felt the urge to smoke.

I can also see this becoming an all-consuming side hobby for me. I made these little desk-props for my pvs today out of polyclay. I plan to paint them (one’s a dick, one’s tits, and one is an eye)…maybe I’ll make a few more too, that are a little more interesting or fleshed-out.

PV e-cig desk prop or holders

Posted in brag, DIY, geek, health and safety, personal, pictures, true stories | Tagged: , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

Instructions for preparing certain specimens safely.

Posted by Anj Marth on 08/01/2012

How to clean animal remains you find that still have a bit of meat on them:

 Wear disposable gloves.

  • Put them on a piece of window screen that is twice their size, and wrap them up in it. Fold over the edges to close it like a pocket, leaving a one inch opening on one end for flies and other insects to get in.
  • DO NOT BOIL OR SIMMER BONES. Cooked bones can and will ROT! Boiling breaks the fibers that hold bone together, making them brittle, and thinning them. Let nature do the work for you! (and keep the stink outside!)
  • Hang the corpse-pocket up outside. You want it up out of reach of cats and dogs, but low enough that you can reach it. I hang remains from a tree limb near my house. You can also wrap the corpse this was and then bury it a foot deep or less. Either way, insects will do the cleaning for you. This will not work in winter though.
  • wait a few weeks, less if it is hot/humid. check on your developments. at some point the bones will be fully exposed, and all meat will have been picked away by insects.
  • soak the bones in HOT water and blue Dawn dish detergent. Change out the water/detergent mix every day. It can cool off overnight, just use hot water to refill it each day. Use about two cups of Dawn per gallon of water. Do this until the bones are not yellowish with fat anymore.
  • Scrub the bones in cold water with more dish soap. Then soak again in HOT water, mixed 1:1 with regular old store-type peroxide. YOU DON’T NEED BLEACH; BLEACH WILL MAKE THE BONE CRUMBLY AND WEAK, AND SOFTEN IT. Peroxide and hot water will disinfect just as well, when used in conjunction with the soap soak. refill/continue soaking until the bone is as white as you’d like. I find that it usually takes three water changes to get the ivory-cream tone I prefer.
  • Dry the bones thoroughly, NOT IN THE SUN. Then spray with a coat of matte UV protectant. Sun exposure, like bleach, degrades and weakens bone.
  • The best way to hang a skull is to string it on thick, soft twine through the orbital bones, then hang that on a hook on a mountboard. I like to attach the jaw as well, and pose and articulate bones- I’ll go over that stuff in a later post.

TEAL DEER: 

DON’T FUCKING BOIL OR BLEACH BONES! IT DESTROYS THEM!

How to disinfect feathers (legal ones- domestic and game birds)

Wear disposable gloves.

  • Figure out if it is a land or water bird. Water birds have oil in their feathers, land birds do not.
  • Spray with alcohol(land bird) or tea tree oil (water bird) and let dry.
  • Soak a paper towel with full-strength hand sanitizer, and wipe feather gently, in the direction of growth. Soak the feather well.
  • Let stand overnight.
  • Using hot water, wipe the feather down again. Let dry. Use oil or a damp cloth to smooth the feather to shape it again.
  • VOILA.
  • To dye land-bird feathers, use translucent, lightfast inks (FW, or the like) and wipe ink onto feather surfaces in the pattern you want. let it stand until the ink has dried, then wipe gently with a damp rag.
  • I’ll go into dying waterbird feathers in a later post, there are more steps required (oil-based, remember!)

TEAL DEER? MOST FEATHERS ARE ILLEGAL, DON’T BE A DUMBASS.

Posted in art, caveman art, DIY, health and safety, how-to, morbid art, oregon living, pictures, posts with lists in them, questions, step by step, taxidermy | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

excerpt from “through the looking glass”, an article by Mary Cecil about her experience with psychosis and commitment

Posted by Anj Marth on 06/24/2012

Mary Cecil voluntarily committed herself to an institution in the early 1950s. This account was published in its entirety in Encounter, in 1956. Again, the article is excerpted from the book “The Inner World of Mental Illness”.

(for other excerpts, see here, or here)

After a fortnight in a sort of reception ward in the mental hospital, I complained to the doctor that nothing was being done. They didn’t appear to appreciate the urgency of the position. There was I, helpless in the hands of a fiend from Hell and anything might happen any minute. (Ms. Cecil believes that a hallucinated voice is the Devil, sent to harass her.) The Hospital ambled through its days, sweeping us off to Occupational Therapy or out to grass, as the mood took it. One might be suddenly singled out and, eager with hope, be subjected to a blood test or some flippancy like that.

“Ah, but we’re doing so much for you,” the doctor said earnestly…”In fact,” the doctor continued fatly, “we’re going to give you some injections. You’ll be moved to another ward.”

I’d learned already that it was a waste of time asking questions. Psychiatrists thrive on their air of mystery. Anyway, the fact of strange surroundings was enough. In this ward there had been some outbursts from explosive patients. …I noticed that the more obstreperous patients were dragged off, protesting violently, to some outer dungeon spoken of in whispers as the Villa. I added that to my fears and redoubled my attempts to appear totally harmless.

She discusses insulin treatment she received after being transferred to the next ward- a treatment used commonly at that time.

After tea I saw a lady doctor who said I was to have some injections. I saw myself ablaze with vitamins in next to no time. At bedtime the men disappeared into one dormitory and we women into another, so that was all right. Just as I was getting into bed I noticed a sheet marked the Villa. There was a curious taste in my mouth, had I been tricked into the place? Heart thudding, I gazed out the window and saw a small building by itself. “That’s the Villa,” breathed the woman in the next bed.

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Posted in deep thoughts, ethics, health and safety, learning, true stories | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

 
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