The Vermont Cynic

Hand poked or pro: students get ink

Lily Merriam, Staff Writer

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Paper and pen aren’t the only way to tell a story — some use needle and ink to create tattoos and share their narratives.

First-year Isabel Fetter got her tattoo at Stone the Crow Tattoo parlor in her home-state of Maryland.

Fetter got a mountain sunrise with the saying “way opens,” just over a year ago, she said. It cost $200 and took an hour to complete.

Fetter said she likes the placement of her tattoo. “I can cover it if I need to, but I can also show it off,” she said.

Its location also helps her dodge her family’s dislike of tattoos, she said.

“My parents thought tattoos were dirty,” Fetter said. “Their generation really hates tattoos. My grandparents hate them too. My grandpa still doesn’t know I have this.”

Fetter’s tattoo was inspired by her summer camp and designed by a friend from camp.

“I love the outdoors and mountains, hence coming to UVM,” she said. “I went to a Quaker camp that began my love for nature.”

Despite their disapproval, her grandparents were also a reason she chose the design.

“My grandparents are a big part of the Quaker community and ‘way opens’ is one of our sayings,” Fetter said. “Whenever you hit a block in the road, a way will open. There’s not just one set pathway in life.”

It’s not always about seeing it — it’s about the fact that it means something.”

— Cameron Smith

Sophomore Cam Smith got a tattoo in memory of a family member.

“My grandfather played a major role in my scouting life. I got this tattoo two years after he passed away,” Smith said.

The tattoo features a fleur-de-lis.

“I’ve been a Boy Scout for eight years,” he said. “The fleur-de-lis is the symbol for the highest rank: an Eagle scout. It symbolizes what I achieved.”

On the left is his grandfather’s birthday and on the right is the date of his passing.

Smith’s mother paid for the $400 tattoo. He got it with the same artist that did his father’s tattoos, Smith said.  

Smith said he chose to get the tattoo on his back because it was a good canvas.

“I can only see it in the mirror or if someone takes a photo,” he said. “But I don’t think that matters to me. It’s not always about seeing it — it’s about the fact that it means something.”

Smith said his tattoo was painful and “felt like a constant bee sting.”

Unlike Fetter and Smith, who got professional tattoos, sophomore Anna Moore tattooed a stick-and-poke of a lavender leaf on her wrist.

“Lavender is one of my favorite plants because it reminds me of my mom and of home,” Moore said.

Moore says she has eight tattoos— both stick-and-pokes and professionally done.

The primary motive behind her tattoo was not meaning, Moore  said. “It was mostly just an impulse,” Moore said.

Moore created the design and tattooed it the same day.

“I was sitting in my dorm room with nothing to do and I was like, ‘fuck it, I’m gonna give myself a stick-and-poke.’ And I just did it,” Moore said.

Moore’s stick-and-poke took an hour to complete and cost about 50 cents, whereas at a parlor it would have taken five minutes and cost $50.

“It’s actually kind of therapeutic. You’re just sitting there, focused on one thing,” Moore said.

Getting a stick-and-poke means imperfection, she said. “I am super proud of it. People are always shocked that it’s a stick-and-poke.”

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Hand poked or pro: students get ink