Skin & Bone is a combination gallery and tattoo studio. The gallery will exhibit art and ethnographic handicrafts related to tattooing, while the studio will have Colin Dale tattooing alongside various guest artists throughout the year. Through his years of travelling and tattooing around the world Colin has had the pleasure to meet and work alongside a wide range of tattoo artists and experts working in ethnographic and other specialized styles. Amongst these friends, we have hand-tattooists from Borneo, Polynesia and Japan as well as some of the world's leading artists in Blackwork and Dotwork coming to visit. Check the homepage to see some of the work

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Artistic Process: Haida Traditional Hand Tattooing

Haida Tattooing
"Haida" is the common term given by tattooists to the Native American Tribes of Canada's North West Coast which also include the Tsimshian, Tlingit and Kwagiutl, amongst others. My designs while inspired by the art, hold to no particular tribe and are purely my own. 
I use a combination of solid Lines and dotshaded Forms... a more graphic approach, simpler with more negative space. Forms are often not connected, however when they are it is to a solid area. Because of this the shading effect has no light source reference... I shade from left or right, top or bottom often depending on where the Forms are connected or more often, where the lines are connected to the form. In this way I get a better flow in the design... Lines are anchored to a Form at a solid point which then disperses into lighter dots. sometimes to be gathered again and continue into another Line.
The Ebb and Flow Effect  as I call it:-)
My style is still in its infantsy... simple/naive. I have yet to master putting secondary subjects inside of a main design and also learning to combine subjects together. At some point I hope that I will also be able to freehand these designs directly on the body to better flow with the musculature of the individual... but that may be many years to come :-)
All of these designs are my own and done using traditional hand tools of a type used by the Haida

 Enjoy :-)

Continued the Haida Sleeve on "Spooky" out at the Moesgaard Viking Market this Summer... beautiful weather for a tattoo :-) I was thinking of an Elements Theme... We have the Sun for fire, Eagle for air and will be continuing with a Salmon for water and a Wolf for earth. However now I got an idea in my head to use a Frog instead on the Salmon... unfortunately in the Haida mythology the Frog is a sign of the earth and often used at the bottom of totempoles and houseposts to give support and strength. So it remains to be seen where this will end.

 After the animals are in place they will be tied together with Polynesian style geometric patterns between the figures :-)
Did a Haida Wolf on a client from the States... furled hackels and curled tail. Two sessions with a few days apart

Did a few hours filling on the Haida Owl chest piece... hopefully will have time to finish this up next month
The machine work on the right arm is not mine, but again is a good example to show just how clean and solid hand tattooing can be.

 A Haida Frog on a client from Sweden... heavy use of S-curves in this design. He was open to the idea of using red, but I opted for just open linework instead. This worked very well except in the tongue where I had to add some chevron lines to make it more solid instead of an open hole in the center of his wide mouth. Purists may think that it looks like a feather... but I think it works :-)

A Raggety Raven... we'll be setting an Eagle on the other shoulder in the New Year around a Polar Fox in the middle.
Stay tuned :-)

And finally, a Haida Devil Fish/Octopus tattoo.
I started this piece a couple years back at Lejre Archaological Research Center. Unfortunately we didn't get to finish it until yesterday, thus the colour difference- It will look fine when healed though.
The interesting thing about this piece is that it is done entirely with natural pigments... soot for the black and ground ochre for the red... tattooed entirely by hand using traditional tools and technique.
The Haida Indians are one of the only Indigenous folk reported to have tattooed using colour. There was however only one mention of this and it was post contact when they may have had access to Chinese vermillion. Still I thought it was an important experiment to partake in. The design is loosely based on a museum piece taken from a painted robe

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