28 July 2009

Ah, the feeling of being poked by tiny needles...

...and I don't mean after being with my husband! Mwa ha ha...interpret that as you would  like, sorry, I couldn't resist another burn to Bill.

After feeling a little down in the dumps lately, I decided to lift my spirits with a long-neglected, somewhat rebellious side to my psyche...I got another tattoo. 

The story behind this tattoo goes back a few years, to the very first week I was living in Columbia. My boss was trying to convince me to focus my graduate work on Brassica, a genus of plants in the mustard family. I thought about it, but finally told him that I wouldn't work on a plant unless I would consider getting a tattoo of the flower of said plant. And frankly, Brassica wasn't going to cut it (including a myriad of other reasons regarding my research interests and goals for graduate education). When I stumbled upon a lovely little genus of plants  in the monocot family Commelinaceae, Tradescantia, I knew this was a genus I could stand getting inked. When choosing my tattoo, I was inspired by Tradescantia sillamontana, a wonderful Mexican endemic that is fairly common to cultivation that blooms often in my greenhouse (I took this picture there). 

Based on this pic, I sketched a small flower, very botanically correct, and indicated some areas to shade coloring. 

My wonderful friends Katy and April went with me to Hollywood Rebels here in Columbia. A young but efficient woman named Katy (not the same as above) re-sketched the flower into a more stylized, simpler flower, and although not what I initially expected, is just what I wanted. After all, that's why I go to professionals instead of doing it myself with soot, boot heels, and urine like in Russian prisons (random, yes, but I saw a documentary on it once). 

All in all, this has been a long story for such a little tat. Here's a pic.
It hurt quite a bit more than my first (which I shall blog about later). It's purple, like a traditional Tradescantia here in the Midwest. I was worried about fading, being on the inside of my left foot and all, but I will get touch-ups and additions (yellow for the anthers? more purple? SPATHACEOUS BRACTS characteristic of the genus?!?!) as needed. 

Here's a close-up, complete with hairy ankles (you're welcome), cat scratches (courtesy of Fatticat), and new-tat glossiness.
Another cool thing about this tattoo? The center of the flower indicates where I should start turning the heel when I'm knitting socks from the toe-up. I'm already envisioning my next two...knitting related, and a phylogeny. Yes, I'm a dork.


Leenie said...

Your tattoo is fantastic!!! What a fantastic way to lift your spirits and have a built in sock guide. Brilliant idea.

Great choice of flower (and color!!!!) too. For some reason I always picture this flower when your talk about your project. Plus it grows well in captivity. That´s always a good thing in my book.
Bravo. I can´t wait to see it in person.

Marco Octávio Pellegrini said...

For my future Comemlinaceae tattoo I'm choosing Siderasis. I just love the Dichorisandrinae!