Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Skin Stitch Tattoos

Last Saturday at Bush Gallery Tania showed me her latest tattoo -- a skin stitch tattoo on the inside of her forearm designed and sewn into her by Jeneen, who is participating in the Earth Line Tattoo Residency.

I wanted to take a picture of Tania's new tattoo, but for reasons that escape me I could not bring myself to ask her. Yesterday, while at our second residency meeting, I noticed Jeneen had two new stitch tattoos she had given herself on her left and right shins, and I wanted to take a picture of those, too, but again was unable to ask.

After the meeting I approached Jeneen to tell her how much I admired her stitch tattoos and she produced a sketchbook that had more of her designs, some of them floral (think William Morris), some of them in the abstract modernist tradition.

In telling me about her designs, Jeneen said that if I was indeed serious about getting a stitch tattoo (I had asked if she had any appointments left, and she said she was all booked up) I might present her with some designs that I am interested in and we could continue the conversation.

The designs that are currently on my mind (apart from Jeneen's) belong to a American Civil War period carpet bag I found online a few days ago, a long ago auctioned-off bag that has a "Native American" carpet pattern on one side and an unidentified carpet pattern (European? "Oriental"?) on the other.

Here is a link to the bag (Lot 118), with a description below it.

Here is the "Native American" (Southwest?) side:

Here is the unidentified side:

Why my interest in carpet bags? Well, it begins with my interest in carpetbaggers, which in turn is derived from an interest in the United States' Reconstruction Era (1865-1877) as it might relate to Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commision. Am I the first to notice that while Canadian politicians and businessmen were announcing the confederation of their provinces in the summer of 1867 (the beginning of the Dominion of Canada), the United States was just getting started on the equally contentious job of "repairing" itself after a bloody civil war (1860-1865)? Not likely. Is it fair to compare the American Civil War and the Reconstruction Era that followed with the Canadian federal government's historic treatment of First Nations and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission? That is a question I am currently pondering in advance of tomorrow's second roundtable (July 13), where the discussion will focus on how "The Body might be seen as an expression of Territory and Sovereignty."

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