Ellie Anglin is always fainting - you can read about it in her zine Tender Buttons. So it’s no surprise that she fainted while getting a tattoo of a quilt block on her back. The tattoo is a square box with two birds symmetrically placed inside, each facing outward with a crown and a heart and vines behind them. It’s all in black outline, with two red circles behind each bird's beak.
The inspiration came from Anglin’s mother, an avid quilter, who designed the specific block her daughter would eventually get tattooed. It was 2009 at the now-closed Way Cool Tattoo in Kitchener. It took two hours and Anglin was on the shy side, unsure of how to communicate to her artist that she might faint.
“I’m always fainting for some reason or another,” Anglin says casually over coffee at the Princess Cafe. Fortunately, a brief rest was all she needed and the piece was finished relatively painlessly.
“My mom has always been an extremely influential force in my life, both as a human being and as an artist. I grew up around her actively quilting . . . and I got to benefit from the results of all of her work. We always had a new quilt every couple of years,” Anglin said of why she chose a quilt block for her tattoo.
“That’s something I’ve always been really lucky to be around and to watch her process and be inspired by the results of it,” she said, adding that her great-grandmother was a textile artist as well, though her craft was not quite appreciated as the art form it is during that time period.
Books for Tats
There are few aspects of our lives physical, emotional, spiritual in which thread and fabrics do not play a notable part. Beverly Gordon reminds us memorably and movingly of the powerful significance of fabric throughout human history.