Aughra's Orrery: My New Tattoo

[Content Note: There is an image of a fresh tattoo with a little bit of visible blood on it below the fold.]

Welp, I wasn't going to post about this until it was all done, but then Spudsy went and posted Aughra as the host of today's Open Thread, and she is one of my favorite film characters of all time, so I couldn't resist!

Iain got me a tattoo for Christmas, but, over the holiday, my tattoo artist, Lui, was busily preparing to open his own new shop, so I had to wait awhile before I could finally get it. Last month, we finally got started.

I went in to see him about what I wanted, which was Aughra's orrery from The Dark Crystal. I watched that movie ON A LOOP when I was a kid (and I still watch it as an adult), and one of my favorite scenes has always been when Jen visits Aughra and sees her massive orrery, which represents "everything in the heavens. Moving as the heavens move. Suns, moons, stars—yes! The angle of eternity."

I was always fascinated with Aughra's orrery, because it's awesome. (As a kid I was fascinated with it because cooooooool, and as an adult I'm fascinated with it because cooooooool—and also because I'm so impressed with the design and production of it, especially for a kids' movie.) And I loved the idea of it as a tattoo, because it represents the Dark Crystal universe, the whole story of survival and community and reconciling the good and bad parts of self.

Anyway! So, even though Lui is a tremendously talented artist, I had no idea if Lui would even be able to create a piece inspired by Aughra's orrery, because I didn't have any great images of it. All I had for reference were basically some shitty screen caps of a YouTube video.

But, a few days after our consultation, he sent me this drawing:

ink drawing of the outline of an orrery inspired by the one in the film

I excitedly forwarded it to Deeky, who responded: "HOLY FUCKBALLZ!!!!!!!!!" Which was pretty much my reaction, too, lol.

I mean, that, right there, is why I go to Lui.

So, two weeks ago, I went in for the first of two sessions, and took a few pictures along the way. The placement of the orrery is on my left shoulder—and the way it's placed, when I move my arm, the movement of my shoulder creates movement of the orrery which is really neat.

image of the stencil applied to my shoulder
The stencil is applied.

image of the completed outline
The outline is completed.

image of the tattoo with completed grey shading
The grey shading is done.

All of that, with all the intricate, precise line work, took about four and a half hours, and my arm was pretty shredded by that point, so we decided the leave the color for another session. I've got another week or so before it's completely healed enough to best take ink again, and then I'll go back in for the color. Bronze and the turquoise of the patina on aged copper.

I'm so excited for it to be done I can hardly wait!

And I'm so grateful to Lui for designing this beautiful piece for me, and executing it so splendidly. He's also incredibly fun to work with, because I can totally trust him and give him lots of free reign, and because he's always excited about my concepts. I mean, tattooing is his job, and he's really good at it, and he would tattoo with care and competence any non-challenging idea I brought him, but I feel quite happy when I bring him ideas that make him excited about his job that day.

It doesn't hurt that we have very similar taste in music and talk social justice while he's working.


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