Friday, December 17, 2010

Gift Certificates, discount prices, Happy Holidays!

In this economy, it's good to try to support your local small businesses, especially during the holiday season! Come check out our sales on our great selection of quality brand name knives.

We also have some new sterling silver jewelry in stock or you can pre-order something extra special from Stuller Fine Jewelry.

If it's a tattoo you want to gift to someone, pick up a gift certificate. Gift Certificates are also a great choice if you aren't sure exactly what item to choose for that friend or family member on your list. You can purchase them here in the studio, or if you don't feel like leaving home, you can order them on our website through PayPal. How much easier can it get?? :) The link is below:

So come and visit us, and Max! We'd love to see you!

Happy Holidays!!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Winter - the best time to get a tattoo!

The winter months are the best time to get a tattoo because you don't have to worry about problems with healing due to the sun, sweat or swimming. Some people love the season so much that they get work inspired by the season. Here are a couple examples of tattoos we've done here at Foxfire Studio:

Another good reason to get your ink done in the cooler months is because it doesn't tend to be as busy at the studio and it may be easier to get an appointment time. Also, by the time the warm months come around and you want to show some skin and your new artwork, it will be fully healed and looking it's best!

Give us a call here at 603-750-4113 to schedule your winter tattoos! Or feel free to walk in anytime during our open hours - M, T, Th, F, Sat. 12pm - 6pm, Sundays 12pm - 5pm.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The importance of drawing skills...

Check out this progression from sketch to each stage of tattooing...

Many nice tattoo pieces require several sittings to finish properly. This raven is still not quite done yet. Stay tuned for pictures of the finished piece. :)

It is also important to have good drawing skills in order to create a nice looking tattoo. There are many books on drawing to help improve your skills. One that we have here in the studio is "How to Draw Comics The Marvel Way" by Stan Lee and John Buscema.

This book is a good starting point for drawing human forms and perspective. Plus, it is interesting and comical (pun intended!). As Stan says in the Preface: "The pages that follow were created to give you an informed insight into the way the most popular comicbook superhero strips are designed and illustrated. They'll bring you as many artistic tips, tricks, secrets, and suggestions as possible. They'll show you what we strive for in doing our drawings, and how we go about achieving our unique objectives in art and design. We've tried to condense our own long years of training, toil, and experience into this one valiant little volume."

If you want to produce nice tattoos, you should make sure you have good drawing skills. Check out this book or the many others that are out there and get drawing! Practice makes perfect, after all! :)

Videos of Bryan tattooing

Monday, August 9, 2010

Studio Happenings...

Hello blog-readers!

Hey, we want to know... do you enjoy reading our blog? Have you clicked "Follow" over to the left? That's the best way to keep up with each new blog we post. We'd love for you to come back often to see what we have to say. We'd also love comments, feedback, blog topic ideas... Are there any particular things you'd like us to blog about? Please let us know! Anything that relates to what we do here at Foxfire Studio can be included - Tattoos, Jewelry, Art, Painting, Engraving, Knives... the possibilities are endless!

We just added some more photos to Pat's tattoo gallery on the website. Please check it out: Take a look at Bryan's website as well, which has updates on tattoos that he has been working on: For example, check out this raven he just finished up on a client (I've included the whole progression from sketch to completion) -

Also, we want to make sure you know that the Studio will be closed on Sunday, August 22nd.

Thanks, and please, send us your feedback! We'd love to hear it!

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Use of Numbers in Tattoos

(from "Alphabets and Scripts Tattoo Design Directory - The Essential Reference for Body Art" by Vince Hemingson)

"Numbers are the universal language offered by the deity to humans as confirmation of the truth." - Saint Augstine of Hippo (CE 354-430)

Each numeral has specific meanings that can be attributed to it. People use numbers in their tattoos quite frequently in order to convey some of these meanings. While the symbols are unencumbered by historical meaning beyond their numerical value, various traditions have since cloaked the numerals with esoteric significance. From Pythagoras to pure hokum, our numbers have been alchemized into concepts to either fear or revere. Divers meanings have been ascribed to our basic numbers by various traditions, from numerology to the tarot, to sheer superstition.

1 - The beginning and the end, the alpha and omega. Pure potential. Or, it can mean total failure. Yang energy. Positivity and free will. Number one is often used to denote oneself, as in, "I'm taking care of number one." One is the first, the best, and the only. It has no divisors, no factors, no components. It stands for independence and the individual, or God.

2 - Yin energy. Balance and union. Duality and opposition. Two gets complicated because it beckons us to choose. If one is the essence, then two is the existence. In Cantonese numerology, this number means "easy." In pokier, the lowly deuce is sometimes wild, sometimes king.

3 - Neutrality. Mystery and initiation. Two is linear, three is geometric. Three dimensions creat the solid contents of life. Aspects of life and spirituality seem to come in threes: the Holy Trinities in many religions; the past, present, and future; though, word, and deed; animal, vegetable, mineral; me, myself, and I; and, perhaps most importantly, God is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent.

4 - Creation, stability, simplicity, and practicality. Think achievement and humility. Four speaks of being calm and grounded. The center of the cyclone. Four is square and natural, solid and whole. The four seasons, four cardinal directions, four elements in nature. At the core of Buddhist teaching are the Four Noble Truths (life is suffering; it has a cause; an end t o suffering is possible; the way out is the Noble Eightfold Path). In Chinese numerology four is unlucky, being a homonym with the word for death.

5 - Five fingers, five toes, five senses - the number five is physical. Action and adventure. Restlessness, passion, and unpredictability. To the Chinese, it symbolizes myself, or the concept of never. The psychologist Carl Jung saw five as the union of the first mail and female numbers, hence the symbol of creative life and erotic love.

6 - The Chinese number six means "easy and smooth all the way." Things unfolding as they should. Natural reactions and responsibilities. Protective and dependable, the number six is a caring number, a number that encourages us to accept what is inevitable, giving rise to compassion and forgiveness. The theory of six degrees of separation says that no one lies outside the number six.

7 - Lucky seven. The seven deadly sins. Seven is said to represent the focused search for esoteric meaning, and is concerned with mysticism and healing. In therapeutic circles it implies thought, awareness, and imagination in the service of manifesting what we want. The word Sabbath comes from the Hebrew root word for seven, meaning "to be complete or full." The Cantonese word for seven is considered vulgar.

8 - Infinity. Sudden fortune, prosperity. Sacrifice and power. Opportunity. In Chinese culture, where the spoken eight sounds like "prosper," it's considered a lucky number. It represents the totality of the universe. The Summer Olympics in Beijing commenced at 8:08pm on August 8, 2008. Buddha taught his Noble Eightfold Path. And finally, "He that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you..."

9 - Symbolic of completeness because no other single digit has a higher value. Nine also symbolizes vision, intellectual power, attainment, and seeing the big picture. Nine months mark the human gestation period. Dante's Inferno speaks of nine circles of Hell and nine spheres of Heaven. The Chinese Netherworld is described as having nine rivers. In Norse mythology, secrets are revealed to Odin after hanging on the World Tree for nine nights.

Friday, July 16, 2010

How do you choose a Tattoo Artist/Studio? Part 2

(Excerpts and info from "Tattoo Sourcebook", by the editors at

This is a continuation of the June 18 blog on the things you should consider in choosing who tattoos you. Here's a recap of #'s 1-5:

1 - Word of Mouth
2 - Look Closely at Portfolios
3 - Some Artists only work in certain Styles
4 - Cleanliness is next to Godliness
5 - Your Health is a Primary Concern

Let's move on and talk about the next 5 tips.

- Be Comfortable in the Hands of your Tattoo Artists - This is your tattoo experience. Needles alone are uncomfortable, so being tattooed by an artist you are not comfortable with is only added stress. You are going to be spending a lot of time together. As with a hairstylist, doctor, or therapist, the tattoo artist is connecting with you in an intimate way. Your tattoo experience is a memory that will last forever, so invest in the time and energy to make it a good one. As Guy Aitchison explains, "The personal connection must be there. There is an 'invisible part of the tattoo' and that is the relationship between the tattooed and the tattooist. You don't want bad tattoo mojo."

- Understand what your Tattoo Artist guarantees - Some shops guarantee their work for life. Some shops will guarantee their work for a certain period of time, such as six months or one year. Some shops abide by a "one pass, first-class policy," meaning if there is a problem with the tattoo, they believe it is due to incorrect healing by the tattoo recipient, and they will therefore charge for a touch-up. Regardless, you should know the policy ahead of time.

- Apprenticeships and Training - Tattooing is a trade - a craft consisting of specific knowledge and skills. Like most trades, tattooing is generally learned through an apprenticeship; one tattooist (the master) teaching a student the craft. Some "tattoo schools" exist today, but there is definite resistance to these from within the industry. Generally, a reputable tattooist has gone through some type of apprenticeship. Talk to your tattoo artist about their training experience, including education on health precautions and practices.

- Make sure you and your Tattoo Artist share the same Vision - Avoid tattoo artists who are less focused on your vision and more on their own. If you compromise on this point, you may leave with a tattoo that the tattoo artist wanted to create, but not the one you want to wear forever.

- Communicate Special Needs and Considerations - If you want to cover a scar, if your complexion is darker, or if you have a condition that might affect how well the ink takes to the skin or how well you heal, you need to include these factors when deciding on who tattoos you. Make sure you are working with a tattooist who has experience in dealing with these conditions or circumstances. Ask for evidence that they know what they are taking about through photos, stories or both.

So when you are thinking about getting a tattoo, take these tips into consideration to make sure you have the best experience possible! Have fun!

Friday, July 2, 2010

These Colors Don't Run

Okay, I know I said that I would do Part 2 of the How To Choose A Tattoo Artist/Studio... But in light of the 4th of July holiday, that's going to wait until next time. Today, I'm dedicating this post to Patriotism and Tattoos. Pictured below are examples of some of the patriotic tattoos that Pat has done in the past.

Tattoos with a patriotic theme tend to include the American Flag, Statue of Liberty, the Bald Eagle, popular bridges and buildings in the USA, military tattoos, and common patriotic slogans. The number of people getting these types of tattoos spiked in the months following September 11th, 2001. They also seem more prevalent in times of war, but what better way to portray your patriotism for all to see than with a permanent work of art on your skin.

Below is Steve's work in progress of the Constitution over his bald eagle on his chest. The eagle was done by Pat about 15 years ago, and the new Constitution lettering was done by Bryan. Eventually there will also be an American Flag flying up over his shoulder.

"You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism." ~Erma Bombeck - Take a look at this article about a man who wears the American Flag proudly on his face.

So, however you may choose to, go out this weekend and display your Patriotism!

Happy Independence Day!

Friday, June 18, 2010

How do you choose a Tattoo Artist/Studio? Part 1

(Excerpts and info from "Tattoo Sourcebook", by the editors at

"Someone who draws beautifully but just can't really re-create it in the skin probably shouldn't be tattooing." - Rand Johnson, artist/tattooist and owner of Cherry Creek Flash

Being that tattoos are permanent works of art on your skin, it is a pretty big deal to make the decision to get one. Not only do you have to think long and hard about the design you want and the location to put it, but you also need to make an informed choice on where you'd like to go to get your art. The following are some things that you need to consider when making your choice:

- Word of Mouth - This is one of the best ways to find a tattoo artist. Listen to your friends and your gut. If people you know and trust have had a good experience with a particular shop or artist, so may you. However, it's important to remember that everyone is different, has differing tastes and are looking for different styles of tattoos. Go into several studios and look at portfolios, check out their websites, talk to the artists. You'll be able to get a vibe for each place and person. If your gut tells you that a particular place isn't right for you, move on to the next. There are plenty to choose from.

Look closely at Portfolios - Any reputable artist will have one. Scrutinize it. Look at the lines, the shading, the colors. Is anything jagged or uneven? Are the transitions from shading to solid pigment smooth or awkward? Get an idea of each artist's particular styles. What are you looking for with your tattoo? Make sure the portfolio shows fully healed tattoos and not only freshly finished tattoos. Even better, if you can, look at "living" examples of an artist's work. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a walking canvas demonstrating an artist's skills is worth more.

- Some artists only work in certain Styles - A professional tattoo artist should be well rounded and able to do anything well. However, some choose to focus their work to certain design types and styles such as realism, portraits, Old School, etc. This may be based on their personal preference. If you have a certain vision in mind, find someone that you feel is genuinely interested in doing your tattoo. This can often be determined simply by looking at portfolios.

- Cleanliness is next to Godliness - A clean and sterile environment is crucial to tattooing. Look around the tattoo studio. Is it neat and clean? How is the bathroom? The artist should also look clean and kept, regardless of personal style. The outward environmental appearances can usually be a reflection of dedication to cleanliness and sterilization practices in general at a studio. It should feel clean and hospitable. You should be made to feel welcome and comfortable to ask any and all questions you have and you should expect to have them addressed respectfully and intelligently.

- Your Health is a primary concern - Reputable tattoo studios should have a policy regarding "Universal Precautions". The Center for Disease Control has clear guidelines that say gloves should always be worn when working with blood, and hands must be washed routinely. On the spot, tattoo artists should be able to provide documentation of regular health department inspections, where available. The sterilizer used in the shop, the autoclave, should regularly undergo spore testing to make sure the equipment is working properly, and you have every right to ask to see this documentation. Moreover, your shop must have a "single needle use" policy in place and practiced. Make sure the tattoo artist sets up in front of you to ensure this happens. Be sure to look for a color change indicator which, in most cases, should be brown when properly sterilized.

These are just some of the things you should consider when you are choosing where to get your tattoo. Stay tuned for Part 2 in the next blog!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Where did skin art get it's start?

(Info taken from "Tattoo Sourcebook" by the editors at

Evidence has been found that suggests tattooing has been a part of almost every culture dating back to the Bronze Age, circa 3000 BC. A tattooed mummy was discovered by a Russian anthropologist in 1948, 120 miles north of the border between modern-day Russia and China. The mummy, a 50-year-old chief, had various tattoos of animals covering his body as well as circles of various sizes on his back. It was concluded that the mummified man had lived over 2,400 years ago. And later in 1991, the body of a tattooed man was discovered who had lived more than 5,000 years ago. Believed to have died in a snowstorm in the mountains between modern-day Austria and Italy, the man had several tattoos on the inside of his left knee and six straight lines 6 inches long above the kidneys.

The first tattoos could have very well been accidental. A sharpened spit used to roast meat may have left a char-coaled mark on the skin, a subsequent reminder of a successful kill. During ancient battles, daggers and spears were purposefully dusted with charcoal or color, and when they penetrated the flesh, they would have left more than a typical war scar. The proclaimed "Godfather of Modern Tattoos," Lyle Tuttle explains: "In the days when spears were sharpened by fire and friction, the tips got charred with a carbon residue. When a warrior was injured with one of these weapons and survived, there could be a permanent scar with black coloring. To them, it was like magic. It marked their wounds forever." These war wounds would have symbolized valor, bravery, and survival.

While many early tattoos were tied to war and rites of passage, some served as a reminder of loved ones who had passed away. In the Middle East, people would cut themselves and rub ash in the wound after a loved one died. This was seen as a sign of respect, and carried with it a lasting visual reminder of the deceased.

Did you Know?
Our first recorded use of the word tattoo can be traced to Captain James Cook's legendary journals detailing his exploration of the South Pacific in 1769. The word "tattoo" itself can be traced back to the Polynesian languages, specifically the Tahitian and Samoan tatau as well as the Marquesan tatu, meaning "puncture, mark made on skin."

Friday, May 21, 2010

Sorry it's been so long!

Hi everyone! It's been quite some time since we have blogged! Sorry for the hiatus. We plan on blogging regularly now (probably one every couple weeks) so please stay tuned and check back often for new blog posts. Possible future topics include: the history of tattooing, hints to finding the perfect tattoo design, how to choose who tattoos you, gems used in jewelry making, excerpts from Washington School of Art journals from 1914, and much more. We will try to include information on all the different things we do here at Foxfire Studio, such as tattoo, jewelry, fine art, knives, engraving, leather work, etc. If there is a particular question you have or a topic you'd like us to write about, please let us know and we'll try to accommodate.

For now, I will post a few photos of recent cover ups we have done. We understand that sometimes people have a tattoo that they no longer want or that they would like fixed up a bit. Take a look at these examples:

Nice, huh? If you have a tattoo that you might like spiced up a bit or would like to cover something that you no longer care too much for, stop by the studio and we'll see what we can do for you!

For now, Adieu!